Monday, April 3, 2017

In the halls of academia -- the concept of culture

View from the highway
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(99.99% finished)

I am lucky to have lovely bosses now when I teach
English, but an exercise I used to do with my classes,
is not possible with night classes.

A few years ago I had a wonderful boss who
encouraged me to carry out one of the best
teaching exercises I ever did.  We were studying
an essay on Vimy Ridge, and the park in France given
to Canadians in thanks after World War I.  So I took my
students to the Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario on its
free night to look at Canadian art from that period.
(It's 100 years since the Canadians took Vimy Ridge.)

Most students had never been to a gallery before, and
the AGO is gorgeous.  They were entranced
from minute one. Each student had to write about
a different artist, and connect it to the article in the text.
I loved watching them argue and jostle to try and claim
the painting they loved the best before anyone else.

They had so much fun!  Afterwards they'd go out to one of
the restaurants in the area.  They organized drives for one
another, or took the TTC, and this was inevitably the high
point of their semester.

Sadly my boss retired and the next boss at that college
didn't get the connection between art and literature.
 So that wonderful series of outings ended.  But before
 it did I was at the art gallery one day, and a docent yelled
 out, "Barbara!" and let me and my friend move to the front
of a long lineup to see a special exhibition.  His trip to the
gallery with my class a few years before had turned him on
to the world of art, and he was now working there.  How
exciting! We were both delighted to see one another.

Have an enjoying-the-connections-in-culture day.


cohen labelle said...

Hi Barbara,
It's great what you do. You're a galvaniser. Your students were so lucky to have had you as their teacher.
I wish I'd had you as mine!
On top of that you do your own magnificent work. This landscape is majestic-- love it.

Barbara Muir said...

Hey Marcia,

Thank you so much. I feel the same way about you. No wonder your class loves you,
you'd be such a wonderful and fun teacher. And I love your work to the
maximum, maximum.


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!