What is art?

Jimmy Pyles

According to USI’s core curriculum, every student must have three hours of an “Arts” credit in order to graduate.

Out of the 14 options that USI has approved as art classes to get those three credits, only three of them are actually in the art department: Intro to Visual Arts (ART 201), 19th Century Art (ART 353) and 20th Century Art (ART 354). 

Why is USI defining what constitutes as an art class?

Art is defined as objects subject to aesthetic criteria – works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, photographs or drawings.

In my time at USI, I have taken Graphic Design (ARTD 231), Typography (ARTD 232), Intro to Photography (ART 273) and Intro to Digital Photography (ARTD 274), but none of those classes satisfies the core requirement for my art credit, even though they are classes in the “art design” department.

So I’m in Intro to Film (ENG 285) to fulfill the art credit for my core.

Now you can see why I am confused. How can an English class fill that requirement when none of my art design classes do?

Learning how to compose a frame for a photograph, along with working in a dark room to develop film and enlarge photographs, seems pretty damn artistic to me.

If these university-approved art classes are so important, why didn’t I need to take them before being allowed to enroll in my other art classes?

Sitting in a classroom, looking at 100 slides of old paintings for three hours isn’t going to help non-art majors learn anything about art. Give students who want to make art that chance instead of listing requirements.

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy my Intro to Film class. I have learned a lot of informative things about movies and film than I would not normally have access to.

But I don’t see what makes it qualify as an “Arts” credit over any of my other actual art design classes.

If you were a part of the committee that made this stupid requirement, please keep this in mind the next time the university tries to revise the core.

And feel free to email your justification to me. My email is on the top left of this page.