One of the many great things about Brandeis University is the wide variety of classes that the university offers to fulfill course requirements. One may be so busy loading up on science or math courses that they may forget about fulfilling their creative arts requirement. The world we live in tends to overlook the arts and humanities in favor of a STEM-heavy curriculum, but it is important to remember that artistic expression is a vital skill as well.
“I would take a creative arts class because I believe art is an outlet for emotion, ideas and concepts,” said Victoria Richardson ’20. “Art is expression, art is voice and learning about new art forms can help you become louder and give you a greater voice.”
Brandeis has many classes that can help one with expression. One of these is “Introduction to Drawing,” a beginner level studio class designed for students, whether they are art majors or chemistry majors that have never held a crayon. Students are taught to draw still-lifes, landscapes and the human figure and use a variety of different materials. The artwork of famous artists is also studied.
If drawing is not one’s forte and they want to explore a road less traveled, they can sign up for Professor Almeida’s special, one-time only “Book Arts and Edition” course. The class explores the “brief history of aesthetics of bookmaking.” Then students learn about the form and structure of books when they bind their own books in class.
For students that do not trust themselves with paper or a pencil, but rather a video camera, “Film Production” teaches them the basics of motion picture production. Every student will produce three short films in this class and get to explore the art of storytelling through film.
While some may prefer to be behind the camera, others may prefer to perform. Fortunately for them. Brandeis has its fair share of acting classes. “Theatre as Performance” will help students work on their ability to work with directors and use their imagination to bring roles to life. “Acting: Language in Action” hones in on the craft of acting and analyses different performance techniques. Acting is a physical art, so some acting classes count as physical education classes too. “Stage Combat” is all about learning the skills to create believable “fight” sequences without hurting one’s onstage opponent. Perhaps one of Brandeis’ most popular and exclusive classes is “Suzuki,” a course that studies the Japanese method of acting, which involves developing physical strength and stamina while engaging the imagination. The Brandeis Course Catalog says that undergraduates can take the course twice for credit, which implies that “Suzuki” is not as easy as one would hope. “Suzuki” is offered every semester.
Brandeis offers creative arts courses that one can study as well. “Music in Film: Hearing America,” which is taught by Prof. Musegades (AMST/MUS), studies music in films and its evolution from the 1890s to modern times.
“I think it’s really interesting to see a part of the movies that a lot of people take for granted because the main focus is the acting or the special effects,” said Klairissa Hollander ’20. “The music sort of plays into your subconscious and you don’t really realize exactly what it’s doing until you listen to it separately or try to watch the movie without the music.”
Another class that has received attention is “High and Late Renaissance Italy,” taught by Prof. Unglaub (FA/MEVL), Chair of the Department of Fine Arts. The course explores the artwork of major Italian artists from the sixteenth century. The course focuses not only on art, but also the history and circumstances of the era. Aside from the chance to study an interesting part of history, the class also includes a trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It opens students up to a rewarding study abroad experience, where students with fine arts courses under their belt are given first consideration.
“What better way is there to fulfill one’s Creative Arts requirement than learning about the works, lives and times of the four greatest artists who ever lived: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian—apart from studying Painting and Renaissance Art on site in the Brandeis Summer program in Siena?” said Unglaub.
Brandeis tries its hardest to provide its students with a well-rounded, world-class education and the creative arts requirement clearly illustrates this. Although the idea of choosing from an abundance of learning opportunities and earning access to a once in a lifetime study abroad program is enough to make one run to their computer and register for one of these classes, sometimes the creative arts requirement is important for more personal reasons.
“As far as creative arts classes in general, it’s just really important for me to have something in my life that allows me to not worry about being 100 percent right about everything all the time,” said Hollander, who is a biochemistry major. “Considering my perfectionist tendencies, knowing that I’m not looking for the correct answer, but the best answer, is a nice change. Also, for the same reason, creative classes are a great way to learn about how other people think because everyone is going to bring different ways of looking at something to the table.”