The Bing Stanford in Washington (SIW) program’s new arts track, offered for the first time this quarter, has built on existing offerings while offering the potential for further expansions in scope in the future, according to involved faculty and administrators.
According to program director Adrienne Jamieson, the SIW program has always sought to integrate art into the cumulative student experience.
“There’s always been a good and long tradition of arts and culture in Washington,” Jamieson said. “Washington has an enormous array of art institutions. In addition to the internships and coursework, [the track] includes going to museums, field trips, historic fieldtrips and cultural sites.”
Historically, winter quarter was the only quarter during which students could focus on specified concentrations within the SIW program.
“We’re providing a very specific arts track to really provide an enhanced experience along with dedicating coursework,” Jamieson said, referencing current offerings such as one class about art and the First Amendment and another about the history of modern art.
In addition to coursework, the program also offers appropriate cultural events, such as a recently concluded two-day trip to New York focused on watching plays and exploring exhibits in the city.
At the moment, seven students in Washington are participants in the track.
Rob Franklin ’15, a political science major, expressed his appreciation for the opportunity.
“I’m engaging what was just a casual interest in the arts,” he said, adding that the track’s creation had played a role in his decision to apply to SIW. “It’s something I enjoy learning about, about something I’ve never known and only had an interest in non-academically.”
The establishment of the arts track is part of an overall Stanford effort to make arts more accessible to students, according to Richard Meyer, professor of arts and art history and faculty chair of the arts track at SIW.
“The idea is that [this comes as] Stanford on campus is making a huge stride to place arts at the center for students–not just art and art history majors–even for students that don’t take art history class,” Meyer said. “It’s really about an education of the mind and for every undergrad to understand that the arts are an essential part of education.”
Meyer also cited the increased focus on the arts on campus as a reason to emphasize the arts beyond campus as well.
“There’s growing interest in curating and in the art world in general as possible professions,” Meyer said. “It’s something that the students would like to be involved in. Why not provide this opportunity?”
Although the Department of Art and Art History has led the SIW arts track so far, Meyer expressed hope that other departments, such as theater and performing arts, English and history, will assume a more prominent role in organizing future SIW programming.
“Washington has such wonderful museums, the program was already up and running [and] Adrienne was so receptive, [so] we thought this was a natural move to make,” he said.
Meyer emphasized the ultimate objective of ensuring sustained and growing interest in the track.
“Eventually we’re hoping to get a larger body of Stanford students who want to have this extra intellectual experience,” Meyer said. “It’s a really extraordinary opportunity to think about art and society, and art and politics together.”
Contact Catherine Zaw at czaw13 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.