“Art making is not about just technical skills, it’s thinking about society and culture and…larger history of art making,” art history professor and minor advisor Allison Myers said.
Cal Poly’s art history minor falls within the art and design department, and offers students a curriculum based on surveying and analyzing art from a variety of time periods, artists and cultures, according to the minor’s website.
Myers said she feels the minor is significant to her life at Cal Poly because it gives her the opportunity to connect with students who also care about art history as a subject. She also said that this minor gives art and design students the opportunity to network across campus and meet students from different majors and backgrounds who want to add on the minor to their academic career workload.
Currently, the department prohibits art and design majors from adding an art history minor to their degree because of the overlap of classes; however, many students have demonstrated interest in pursuing the minor.
For art and design senior Mara Preciado, she was already interested in studying art history after taking classes in high school, but was disappointed to find out that she would not be able to take the minor at Cal Poly.
“A lot of art references art history” and having background knowledge on these references will help her in the future job market, Preciado said.
For art students who are interested in working in museums or galleries rather than alternative careers in art, an art history minor can be helpful in showing their expertise and dedicated interest. They can also use this minor for grad school or getting a job.
Art and design senior Katie Ng initially became interested in the minor after her first class with Myers because of how relevant the material was to artists and consumers today. Ng wants to have the minor on her resume and be recognized for her proficiency in art history when seeking future job opportunities. However, she was disappointed to hear that she was unable to add the minor to her courses.
Several students have approached Myers about adding the minor, without realizing that they cannot apply for it. Myers said that the department has been aware that students want to apply for an art history minor and other minors in the program as well, such as photography and studio art.
The department has considered the possibility of changing their art history minor policy for students during their discussions on Cal Poly’s switch to a semester system as a result of increased student interest. The art and design faculty is having meetings every other week and started discussing this change as of last year.
“It’s an ongoing long process,” Myers said.
Myers said she thinks overall this will be a good opportunity for students who have a specific interest in the art history field. However, she is concerned that this change can also lead to students limiting themselves to just studying within the art department and not discovering another passion or field.
Ng and Preciado are just two students of many who have expressed their willingness to take on a heavier course load if it means that they can be a part of the minor.
According to Myers, it is most likely that this change will happen during the semester transition since the department is already working out the unit changes while redoing curriculum requirements for the major.
“The faculty have been aware of student interest in minors for a long time,” Myers said. “And most would like to see some path for students to get minors.”