Crystal Bridges has developed two online courses for high school students. These courses satisfy .5 credit hours in fine arts and the requirement to have an online course for graduation in the state of Arkansas. Arkansas public school students can enroll through Virtual Arkansas, a supplementary provider for districts throughout the state. Other students can take the courses through their schools or districts, or other online providers by teachers trained to teach the courses. To learn about becoming certified to teach both courses, click here.
Art Appreciation: American Identity and the Art
How is the identity of America represented in the arts? Is it a more accurate and diverse reflection than you would find in a textbook? How has the identity of America changed throughout history? All of these questions and more will be explored in this course as high school students learn how to discuss and interpret paintings from the collections of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and other museums throughout the country. Located in Bentonville, Arkansas, Crystal Bridges features more than five centuries of American Art, from early European portrayals of Native Americans to works being made by American artists today. Each of these artworks is a primary source that when studied in the context of readings from historians and primary source documents, provides a unique perspective on American history and identity. In this class, students will learn how to discuss, interpret, and critique artworks while also learning about the critical role museum curators play in designing and promoting exhibitions. As students make connections between art, history, and identity, they will practice and apply the skills of curation to create two online exhibits: one about their individual identity and one about the American identity. Arkansas students can register here.
Art + Process: Creating a Body of Work
What does it take to make a body of work—a series of artworks that are coherent and work together? The short answer is: process. Students will explore the longer answer in this semester-long studio art course. Each week students will study two different contemporary artists who were part of the State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, an exhibit that illustrated the best of what is happening with diverse artists across the country. Students will look at these artists’ work and learn about the techniques, processes, and concepts to understand and be inspired by their thinking. In the first half of the course, students will complete experimental art projects influenced by these artists. These projects will help students find an idea to develop into a body of work in the last half of the course. Each week students will watch videos, sketch ideas, create art, present their work, and participate in a supportive class critique. This semester long process leads to the culminating event—hanging and exhibiting the body of work in the gallery of a 3D online replica of the museum. Prerequisites: one art class (Art I) or maker type of course such as robotics, media arts, or welding, woodshop, etc. as well as a willingness to experiment and try new techniques.