Local Resources

  • Worcester Art Museum Partnership

    Worcester State University distinguished itself in the Worcester arts community in 2012 by being the first college in Worcester to establish a collaborative partnership with Worcester Art Museum. Through a number of innovative courses that draw on the museum’s resources, WSU students gain valuable knowledge and build solid career skills in disciplines as diverse as art, computer science, psychology and physics. They support the museum’s initiatives to engage audiences in new ways.

    Special access to the museum provides students with an alternative laboratory full of history, new possibilities for deeper learning and opportunities to test the boundaries of art and artistic exploration. Students find that there is more than art on display; computer programming, statistics, sign language, human behavior, interactive art, and patron participation also play a role in optimal museum operations.

    A relationship initiated by WSU President Barry M. Maloney and embraced by WAM Director Matthias Waschek, this endeavor encourages close cooperation between the museum’s education team and Worcester State faculty. The results have already exceeded their expectations.

  • Art Crimes
    When is graffiti art and when is it a crime? Students in Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Robert Brooks’ course Art Crime studied a variety of criminal offenses involving the production, distribution, and display of art. Examined from an interdisciplinary perspective, Art Crime explored forgery, theft, vandalism, rights infringement, and indecent and politically subversive art. WAM staff shared their expertise in special lectures. CJ 215 Art Crimes is offered on a regular basis.
    Physics in Art
    Associate Professors of Earth, Environment, and Physics Franciso Lamelas and Sudha Swaminathan created a course called Physics in Art. Designed for non-science majors, it makes modern physics accessible in a non-traditional context. Central to the course is a “Physics at WAM” tour to show students that science is useful in a variety of applications beyond the traditional science and engineering disciplines. PY 112 Physics in Art is offered regularly.
    Jeppson Idea Lab
    Students in a 2013 capstone computer science course built interactive applications for WAM that included articles, slideshows, and screensavers for its Jeppson Idea Lab, an installation on funerary sculptures from the 3rd century B.C.E. called Orantes. Under the direction of Professor of Computer Science Karl Wurst, the students worked with WAM’s web design coordinator on a weekly basis to solve a variety of real-world problems, such as software compatibility. They crafted a product that museum visitors used, and their names appeared on the apps they developed.
    Interdisciplinary Arts Seminar
    WAM loaned one of its studios for the use of advanced students in the Visual and Performing Arts Department preparing for their capstone. Under the direction of Professor of VPA Michael Hachey, the students confronted artworks in their physical forms and created art in this enriched environment. They learned from a variety of the WAM’s arts-related professionals and installed “Boondoggle,” their collaborative constructions with movement and sound.
    Wearable Art Fashion Show
    Students, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Visual and Performing Arts Stacey Parker, worked with WAM staff to produce a Wearable Art Fashion Show in the museum’s Renaissance Court. Their fanciful costumes were their final project in the class, and they showed off their creations at a special fashion show in the museum. Watch the video.
    [remastered] Gallery Projects
    Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts Catherine Wilcox-Titus designed a course to engage her students with the WAM’s reinstallation of its Old Master Galleries, entitled [remastered]. The exhibit is arranged to engage visitors with a non-traditional arrangement of the paintings and gallery seating reconfigured to encourage visitor interaction. Her students created alternative labels for the paintings describing their personal journeys of discovery in the gallery. They then took docent training to prepare to offer tours of [remastered].

    How did WAM visitors respond to the reinstallation of the Old Masters Gallery? Associate Professor of Psychology Amy Cota-McKinley and some of her students conducted evaluations to determine the pre- and post-design changes in the [remastered] gallery. In addition to the new laminated gallery guides and seating, the WAM hopes to encourage visitor interaction in this gallery with iPads.
    WAM Accessibility
    Senior occupational therapy majors evaluated 15 aspects of the WAM in the area of accessibility under the direction of Professor of Occupational Therapy Joanne Gallagher Worthley. Students studied the principles of universal design and accessibility, intervention strategies to optimize function, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines. Then they conducted their evaluation.

    Meanwhile, communication sciences and disorders majors evaluated WAM tour techniques related to docents’ speech and presentation style before training the docents in clear speech methods. The clear-speech training aimed to improve audience understanding of the artwork in WAM. Professor of Communication Science and Disorders Susanna Meyer, Dean of the School of Science, Technology, and Health Linda Larrivee, and Director of the Speech-Language-Hearing Center Ann Veneziano-Korzec supervised this docent project.
    Poets in the Galleries
    Assistant Professor of English Heather Treseler, an esteemed poet, joined other members of the Worcester County Poetry Society to read ekphrastic poetry inspired by the Orantes: Ancient Statues from South Italy exhibition in the WAM’s Jeppson Idea Lab during the fall 2013 semester.
    Tree of Life
    Students in an Organismal Biology class had a chance to learn to love not only biology and evolution, but also art. They observed the WAM collections to identify how artists have used different branches of the tree of life in their art. They found and documented artistic representations of the tree of life in any form—paintings, sculpture, drawings, architectural—and documented how artists have used each branch of the tree of life. Assistant Professor of Biology Sebastián Vélez devised this student experience.
    Business Consulting
    Under the direction of Assistant Professor of Business and Economics Elizabeth Siler, business students conducted a management study of various aspects of the WAM’s operations, from the museum shop to its art education programs to membership.