In Art History 290: Loving Your Local Art Scene, a special topics art history course, students explored grassroots art scenes in the Triangle.
The two-week intensive course was offered to a small group of students for the first time this Maymester at UNC.
However, assistant professor Kathryn Desplanque said she hopes to establish Art History 290: Loving Your Local Art Scene in the course catalog and offer it in subsequent semesters.
Much of the class was spent visiting over 20 different art sites, including artist studios, artist institutions, nonprofits and pop-up art spaces throughout the Triangle. At each space, students had the opportunity to talk to a person in charge about their role in the community.
Desplanque is an assistant professor of 18th- and 19th-century European art, but she is also a practicing artist who exhibits in the area herself. She said that her art history background relates to the questions she asks of the art world as an artist.
“I’m really interested in thinking about how the arts navigate in a capitalist economic system," Desplanque said. “Part of the reason I study the 18th and 19th century is because this is the moment where we see familiar modern global capitalism emerge.”
She said that when people think about art worlds, they tend to focus on museums.
“Most artists start their careers and may spend their entire careers in their local art scene, but local art scenes aren’t really as visible to us,” Desplanque said.
The class created a structural sense of how the local arts community functions and collaborates, according to Desplanque.