Tuesday, December 06, 2005

reconnecting at the Met

On Friday a good friend and I went back to our old stomping ground, the Met (or The Metropolitan Museum of Art). Back in high school, Barbra and I participated in the free high school classes there and it was at these classes that we first met and became friends. Today as then the classes are offered throughout the year and they each focus on the rich art collections of the museum. There are classes on medieval, classical, ancient Egyptian, and modern art for example as well as classes on the Met's current exhibits. On Friday one of our favorite instructors was teaching a class on the art of the Italian master, Fra Angelico, whose art is the center a beautiful exhibit there right now. Many months had passed since we last saw our former teacher, who is always so difficult to find since she's so busy. The class on Friday, therefore, provided us with the perfect opportunity to reconnect with our teacher. So I joined Barbra at the Met to see her as well as to participate in the class.

I don't remember anything about Fra Angelico from art history at Vassar. It's quite possible that he was overlooked in my art history courses. When Barbra told me about the exhibit on him at the Met, it was like I had heard about him for the very first time. So, Friday's class was really an introduction to his work and boy, was it fascinating. Our instructor has a great way of teaching art to students. She creates an environment in which the students are not intimidated to participate and express their thoughts about the art. Anyone regardless of their art background can feel at ease in her classes. And it is this positive and encouraging environment that both Barbra and I felt again on Friday. For us both it was a nostalgic visit to the place that has special meaning for us both. (I worked as an intern in the Met's Education Department for a few summers.) It's where we learned so much about art and in the process became friends.

Finally, I found considerable joy knowing that high school students continue to take advantage of the great opportunities present at Met. As I looked on in the class, it was apparent that their amazement and curiosity about the art was no different than it was when Barbra and I were students there.


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