By Courteney Kauffmann
In the old prison on Alcatraz Island off San Francisco, visitors can see Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s artwork about human rights and freedom of expression. The large-scale sculpture and mixed-media exhibition, called @Large, will give visitors access to parts of the former prison island that are usually closed to the general public.
This is one of the art destinations that members of Cuesta’s new Art History Club hope to visit if they can raise the funds for a field trip.
The club was formed this semester in hopes of creating a community of Cuesta students who are interested in art and its history, according to club president Sara Day.
Meetings will take place the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month at 4:30 p.m. in the area outside of the art department and faculty buildings.
“We think this club fills a gap that was not otherwise represented on campus,” said faculty advisor Megan Debin. The club specifically focuses on expanding the knowledge of art and the history behind it.
The club also seeks to promote professional development and provide community outreach, Debin said. They show an interest in volunteering and giving back to the community.
Club members have already brainstormed possible ideas for community outreach, like connecting with a local elementary school and presenting information collected on historical art research to children.
Members wish to explore more in depth California’s diverse artistic and cultural heritage, Debin said. “We want to bring this kind of cultural and artistic awareness to the larger Cuesta community. It’s about getting ideas outside of the classroom and into everyday life.”
As the advisor of the club, Debin plans on using her network to bring in virtual guest speakers to campus via Skype. They include museum professionals, professors and graphic designers who will discuss the work they do and how they have used their art and art history degrees.
The Art History Club is open to all faculty, staff and students at Cuesta College regardless of their education and career goals, Debin said. “So far, most of the members are art and art history students, but we are open to all.”
Although dates are not set, Debin said she hopes the club will be able to visit the following museums among others:
- The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, which is a designated California historical landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to Wikipedia, Victorian mansion is renowned for its size, architectural oddities, and its lack of any master building plan.
- The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, also in San Jose, bills itself as the largest collection of Egyptian art and artifacts in western North America.
- The Getty Museum in LA features Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. An estimated 1.3 million visitors annually explore the museum. The Museum’s second location, the Getty Villa, is in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood and displays art from ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.