Take This Class: ARTH 300: Introduction to Art History


Professor Craig Smith lectures to his summer Introduction to Art History class. Students in the class learn the basics of expressionism and its role in the art world. (Photo by Nicholas Corey)

ARTH 300: Introduction to Art History helps students to see art in the context of different cultures, past and present.

The class, taught by professor Craig Smith, also informs students about the different terminology used in art — terms such as subjective processing, objective imagery, illusionism and symmetrical balance.

“In class we break down numerous types of art such as paintings, drawings and structures from all sorts of time periods and styles,” said Smith.

It is also a course requirement to make a visit to a gallery or museum off campus.

ARTH 300 meets the general education requirements for transfer to a UC or CSU, under area 3A.

Nikou Shahbi, an American River College student in Smith’s summer course, took the course order to meet her general education requirements. Shahbi said she grasped a better understanding of artists like Salvador Dali.

When asked how Smith’s teaching influenced her study habits, Shahbi responded, “(He’s) cool, but I need to take good notes for the quiz every week.”

When students in the class take a quiz they are handed a piece of paper that has vocabulary terms on them. They are then required to look at two pieces of art on the screen in the classroom and choose which one best describes the vocabulary terms listed on the sheet of paper.

“I definitely know a lot more about art then I used to. I feel like this class is opening doors for me,” said Shamar Lewis, a sociology major and another student in Smith’s summer course. “We also don’t have to purchase the textbook because Mr. Smith gives great notes,” said Lewis.

Smith wants his students to be engaged and enjoy what they’re learning about the visual arts.

“This is definitely one of my favorite classes to teach. It’s not as labor intensive on the students or me and the material we study is very informative,” said Smith.

Both of Smith’s ARTH 300 classes are still open as of press time. Both are in Raef Hall 161. The first is from 9 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and the second is from 1 to 4:05 p.m. on Fridays.

Additional reporting by Jose Garcia