In addition to its regular study abroad programs, the School of Art holds a Maymester field study program in New York city every term. Initiated in 2014, The NYC Maymester is a chance for School of Art students gain exposure to the many facets of the city’s bustling art scene during an intensive 3-week program. This year the School sent its fourth group of undergraduate and graduate students up to the Big Apple, accompanied by School of Art faculty to lead classes in contemporary art history, design, and visual art.
Above image: Alum Laurel Humble lecturing in front of Paul Cézanne’s The Bather to School of Art students during the 2017 NYC Maymester at the Museum of Modern Art in New York
Every year the group prioritizes class time spent in New York’s major museums, often as part of the required course in contemporary art history, in order to see the many important collections on view. As part of that mission, the group visits the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), which houses a seminal collection of modern art from the 1880s through to the present day. Laurel Humble, Associate Educator in the Department of Education at MoMA and School of Art alumnus, facilitates these visits. Humble graduated from the School of Art with a BA in Art History in 2006. Encouraged by a Dodd professor, she applied for internships in New York and has worked her way from intern to Associate Educator at MoMA. Every year Humble gives the School of Art group a tour of the galleries before the Museum opens to the public. Recently she has been joined by two newer MoMA staff who are also School of Art alumni—Linnea West (MA in Art History, 2015) and Kaitlyn Stubbs (BFA in Painting, 2010). West coordinates MoMA’s global research program, called Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives (C-MAP), while Stubbs works in the Education department, where she is the Petrie Fellow for Teen and Community Programs. Together this group of alumni led the 2017 NYC Maymester students on a tour of the the galleries one early morning in May. The tour is a chance to walk students through the story of modern art from Pablo Picasso to Jackson Pollock, along the way leading discussion about seminal works of art. For many students, this visit to MoMA, like other visits that they have during the Maymester program, provides the opportunity to see a painting or sculpture that they have studied in real life, instead of a textbook, for the first time.
Image: Alum Kaitlyn Stubbs leading a discussion of Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon with School of Art students during the 2017 NYC Maymester at the Museum of Modern Art in New York
Visits like this one to MoMA offer aspects of learning that could only be possible on site. Not only are students experiencing artworks that they have studied in art history classes, but they can connect with alumni like Humble, West, and Stubbs to learn about their work experience and the museum world, gaining insight into potential future career paths.