Students from Virginia Tech’s School of Visual Arts in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies are receiving hands-on research experience through a partnership with the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia.

The work is part of a capstone art history course that provides students with direct experience researching art objects in a museum collection as well as the opportunity to learn from a visiting art critic and scholar. 

Students enrolled in the Criticism and Methodology course each selected a specific work displayed in the Taubman Museum of Art's collection to fully examine, research, and critique. The museum facilitated this hands-on research by giving students direct access to their selected works and to the records on each piece.

The students will present their findings on the artwork on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Taubman Museum of Art. The student presentations will be followed by a keynote presentation by well-known art critic Deborah Solomon at 6 p.m., who will speak about her own analysis of the painting “Framed” by Norman Rockwell. 

Solomon is the author of several studies of 20th century American artists, most recently, “American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell.” Her other books include “Jackson Pollock: A Biography” and “Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell.” She has written art criticisms for various publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The New York Times Magazine. 

The presentations and keynote will be held at the Taubman Museum of Art, and are free and open to the public. However, space is limited, so an RSVP is requested to 540-342-5760.

This is the second time the School of Visual Arts has partnered with the museum to offer this opportunity. New this year, the course is registered with VT Engage and incorporates a service-learning component. 

“This experience will help these students make a real impact in their region as well as the wider scholarly community,” said James Jewitt, the instructor leading the course this semester. “We are using the Taubman Museum of Art as a sort of laboratory extension of the classroom where students experiment first-hand with art objects and ideas. By researching, writing, and presenting fresh insights about their chosen works, students’ projects aim to increase public knowledge about the museum’s permanent collection.”

The following students are among those participating in the class, and each will give a brief, 10-minute presentation on his or her selected work of art: