Writing on the Wall: Text-based Works from the Collection, Curated by Niagara University Faculty highlighted the potential dialogues between visual arts and academics, between museum and classroom, between image and text. Indeed, by combining image and text, the artists selected for this exhibition offered a multi-dimensional experience in which we simultaneously see and read, allowing for a dynamic dialogue between our emotions and our intellect.
With well over 5000 artworks in its permanent collection, the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University is a veritable goldmine for university professors who wish to engage their students from and across multiple disciplines. Niagara University is dedicated to providing our students with an active and integrative learning experience. As educators in the Vincentian tradition, we believe in a holistic approach to learning, where we challenge students to think critically both in and outside the classroom and across disciplines. We focus not only on the facts and theories of our own disciplines, such as Biology and English, but on how they relate to other fields of study in an interactive and multi- or inter-disciplinary teaching model. A giant sculpture of an insect may provide an interesting springboard for an analytical discussion of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis; images of optical illusions may elucidate theories of human cognition and mental processes in a Psychology course; an exhibition of contemporary paintings of Niagara Falls may serve as an educational complement to a course in Environmental Science focusing on sustainable energy and environmental conservation.
In 2017, a group of Niagara University faculty members from a range of different disciplines met with the Curator of Exhibitions and Special Projects at the Castellani Art Museum to discuss and eventually organize a new exhibition that would specifically explore the intersection between art and academics.
Over the years, faculty from all four colleges have incorporated individual pieces from the Castellani Art Museum collection in their coursework; however, there has never been one curated exhibition specifically showcasing the museum as an academic and pedagogical resource. With a broad-based focus on words, images, and ideas, intersections between various disciplines and perspectives emerge in this unique collaboration.
As visitors explored the different sections of the exhibition and the various classroom assignments that are paired with artworks from the Castellani Art Museum collection, we invited them to think about how we see and read images and words together, and how this joining of the visual and the written allows for a more effective learning experience.
- C. Henrik Borgstrom, Ph.D., Professor of French
- Jamie Carr, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English
- Amelia Gallagher, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies
- Marian Granfield, M.A., Director of Art History with Museum Studies, Faculty Fellow, Department of Theatre Studies and Fine Arts
- Paula Kot, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English
- Alison Lytle, MS. Ed., Adjunct Faculty, Department of Theatre Studies and Fine Arts
- Edward Y.J. Millar, M.A., Curator of Folk Arts, Castellani Art Museum; Adjunct Faculty, Art History with Museum Studies, Department of Theatre Studies and Fine Arts
Click here to access a digital copy of the exhibit catalog.