Today the PALETTE Program took a trip to the Visual Arts Center where we divided into different classes to learn about either book making, pottery, letter press or portraits. I had the opportunity to attend the book making class. Unfortunately my PAL was unable to attend class today. However, since we were in a small class I was able to interact with some of the other PALs in the book making class which gave me the opportunity to meet new people and learn about them through the books we created. It was interesting to hear why people selected the clippings and colors they used for their book and how it pertained to their life and current feelings they had. I felt that by creating the art with them I was able to learn more about them on a deeper level that I wouldn’t have gotten to by just talking with them. We were able to laugh and help each other out with our books as a class. I enjoyed everyone sharing their creations. It is hard for me to believe that the program is almost over for the semester! I have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to meet new people of different generations and learn about the many different art techniques there are. It has been such an enlightening and enjoyable experience for me.
Emily Johnson, graduate student in Dental Hygiene.
Today, we had a cultural outing at the VMFA. We were split up into two groups, those who have been there before and those who have not been. My PAL, Shirley and I have both been to VMFA, so we went with the group that would get a more in-depth view of artistic style over the centuries. It was fascinating because the concept of art is organic, it continues to change over time; however, the concept of ageism is still present in art. Even the tour guide said that those who are older do not appreciate modern day or 20th century art because it isn’t “real.” It is interesting how ageist stereotypes even exist in art.
The tour guide gave excellent insight on how art has evolved ofrom the 1500’s up until today. Techniques such as bright colors, size of the main object, and darkness remained the same between all of the photos in order to draw your eyes to certain points in the painting. Artistic style changed over the centuries in regards to depth of paintings, the focus, and the type of painting. My PAL and I noticed many of these aspects, but we both agreed that we needed more time than a one hour tour to truly notice and appreciate art. Both of us agreed that there was something about “older art” that is astounding and there is nothing like it. In regards to modern art, we both don’t understand it as much as we do with “older art,” but we agree that it all depends on the person and what their perception of “art” is. We both loved being at the VMFA and hope that there can be more time to appreciate all the pieces, both old and new.
Allyson Batoy, graduate student in Pharmacy
Today, we went to the VMFA to learn more about different types of artwork ranging from back in the renaissance to modern times. Douglas, who was our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the artworks around the museum. My PAL and I got to learn about how artworks have evolved from being very abstract and vibrant to a light and dark contrast. People were very interested in religious symbols back then and they painted a picture of Mother Mary wearing mostly blue, which back in the day the blue hue used was the most expensive out of all the hues, symbolizing that she was very important and rich. As we move along to different eras, the type of paintings moved away from being religious to being about nature and having a darker contrast. The frames containing the portraits also changed to being very simple instead of elegant and detailed. The last spot of our tour show paintings that are not even on a canvas anymore but artists have moved to painting on walls with very simple color such as red, yellow, blue, and green.
Linh Tu, graduate student in Pharmacy
For this PALETTE event, the PALs and students were given the opportunity to take a field trip to the VMFA. The Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts is one of the top ten art museums in the country, and a well know Richmond tourist spot. Despite the dreary weather, many showed for this event, and the participants were split into two groups, first timers, and those that had visited the museum before. My PAL, Mickey and I, went with the group that had been to the VMFA before. Our tour guide Douglas, who was an artist himself, took us on a tour of the arts from the Renaissances to modern times. As we began our tour with a Renaissances piece of the Virgin Mary ascending into the heavens, one of the participants posed the question, “Do you think art has improved over the centuries and why?” Douglas did not have an answer, but was clearly intrigued by the question, and told us to keep it in mind as we continued on our tour.
We did a brief run through of some prominent religious pieces, still lifes, impressionism, and ended with some 21st century symbolism. It was very interesting to see the art evolve and change throughout the centuries, yet still show signs of the same techniques of the classic pieces. It made me think of the continuity theory of aging. According to this theory, as we age we adapt to change by preserving a continuity of past social and psychosocial patterns (Atchley, 1989). This continuity can be both internal, (such as memory and temperament), or external, (hobbies, social groups, etc). Like older individuals, adapting to the ever changing world the art still showed signs of past patterns.
In the end, the group concluded that the older styles were much more in-depth and beautiful than modern day art. Personally, I think new-age art is just as beautiful because it blends old techniques, with new ones, creating something intriguing and meaningful. Just like the intergenerational experience of this course.
Ashley Holliday, graduate student in Gerontology