Huntington, W.Va. - Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
That quote could be dubbed the mantra of Mountwest Community & Technical College’s art class.
Thanks to a unique partnership, Mountwest students gather at the Huntington Museum of Art not just to be taught about art but to see and experience it. Samantha Belcher, a Mountwest instructor, has taught the class, which covers basic art history, art elements and principles of art, for three of the last four semesters it has been taught at the Museum.
“When art is taught in a regular classroom, students only get to see slides; there’s no way to actually experience the art,” said Belcher. “Students need a one-on-one experience with art to really see what it looks and feels like.”
Belcher, who has previously taught art in a typical classroom setting, goes on to explain that art is meant to be viewed fully in the round. “Students are now able to recognize the difference between oil paintings and acrylics, drawings and prints, and see kinetic sculpture,” Belcher said.
The class also participates in docent-led tours the fourth Tuesday of each month, allowing the students to get a better idea of how a museum works beyond an art appreciation class. Dr. Keith Cotroneo, president of Mountwest, emphasizes the uniqueness of this relationship and his appreciation of the Museum’s partnership.
“Few towns are fortunate enough to have such an incredible resource as we do with HMA, and for the museum to also be willing to open their doors to our students is an incredible opportunity,” Dr. Cotroneo said. “It is by their grace that we’re able to offer our students a rich educational experience.”