“Clear Picture,” a student-curated exhibit lead by a team of two Marquette University faculty members from two different colleges in collaboration with the Haggerty Museum, an arts museum on campus, is a breakthrough project transforming a museum’s collection and an exhibit into a multi-disciplinary textbook and a laboratory for four undergraduate courses.

Journalism and Spanish students assist in curating the exhibit while learning how to conduct research on art, design art displays, and interpret them in a variety of written and oral genres. The innovative part of this project is curatorial: students do not take pictures of their communities, but rather learn how individual works convey meanings and how these meanings change when works are exhibited in relationship to each other.

Students from these courses participate:

• SPAN 3005 Spanish Grammar Review and Writing for Heritage Speakers (Fall 2014)
• SPAN 3505 Introduction to Literary Analysis in Spanish for Heritage and Native Speakers (Spring 2015)
• JOUR 4932 Advanced Topics: Covering the Arts (Fall 2014)
• JOUR 4997 Capstone: Magazine With a Mission (Spring 2015)

Designed as a sequence of faculty-mentored activities, the project seeks to improve not only students’ research, reading, and writing skills in both English and Spanish, but their general understanding of the communities in which they and others live through analyzing works of art and museum displays, selecting artifacts from the museum deposits to complete the exhibit, developing exhibit tours, writing the catalogs, and giving tours of the exhibit that they prepared. Both Journalism and Spanish students will also write critical reviews of the art and create an online magazine covering the arts.

The project’s most far-reaching goal is to bring down the barriers between young people and museum institutions by revealing the ways in which art exhibits help people to understand the world, their place, and themselves. All students involved will benefit from working on a real-life portfolio-building project involving humanistic inquiry into arts, reflection through exhibit curatorship and critical writing, developing and guiding exhibition tours, and writing catalogs and magazine articles. Not only will the project promote multi-lingual oral and written proficiency—exhibiting works of art will also empower students to explore their own communities as the subject matter of art, and understand museum displays as vehicles of learning.

Faculty Team:

Eugenia Afinoguénova, Associate Professor of Spanish, Department of Foreign Languages, Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences (Team Manager).

Pamela Hill Nettleton, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media Studies, Diederich College of Communication

Julia Paulk, Associate Professor of Spanish, Department of Foreign Languages, Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences

With the assistance from Lynne Shumow, Curator of Education, Haggerty Museum of Art.