Faculty from Lehigh’s art, architecture and design department, as well as other departments, have teamed up to create a series called Art in Dialogue. The series is displayed in Zoellner Arts Center. (Isabella Cammisa/B&W Staff)

Art in Dialogue series connects academic fields

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Lehigh’s art, architecture and design faculty have teamed up with other departments on campus to explore ways to interact within the newly-launched Art in Dialogue series. 

The Art in Dialogue series took place on Feb. 18, and is still on display in Zoellner Arts Center. Students, faculty and community members attended the gallery to witness the artistic intersection between art and psychology. (Isabella Cammisa/B&W Staff)

The series kick-off took place on Feb. 18 in Zoellner Arts Center with the Art & Psychology program led by Lehigh University Art Galleries Director William Crow, and health, medicine and society department chair Jessecae Marsh

The program connected works of art to psychology, and highlighted the connection between the two fields.

Stacie Brennan, the curator of education, said the art and psychology discussion is one of 10 programs that will run through the end of April. Art in Dialogue aims to break the barriers between different fields of inquiry and focus on their connections. 

“The idea is to pair members of the art, architecture and design community with individuals from across campus for interactive conversations around how works of art influence other fields of inquiry and vice versa,” Brennan said. 

The series will feature various art, architecture and design professors’ work, which is included in the current faculty exhibition in the LUAG Main Gallery, Zoellner Arts Center. 

“It offers a unique opportunity for people to discuss academics and other issues from their own unique perspective,” said Jason Travers, a professor of practice in the art, architecture and design department.

Travers will be featured in his own Art in Dialogue program alongside Dean Koski, head coach of the men’s soccer team, and Ian Birky, director of counseling and psychological services. 

This diverse pairing creates inclusivity, in which artists like Travers are able to have an open, engaging conversation with novices, intermediates or people who are simply interested in art. 

“A lot of people have this preconception of art galleries being intimidating if you’re not ‘in the know’ on how to talk about art,” Travers said. 

He said his main goal for the program is to allow people to realize that they can have conversations about art without being well-versed in the field.

Featuring individuals like Birky and Koski in an informal dialogue about art, despite their varying art gallery experiences, can eliminate that preconceived notion. 

Travers said it is important to have these discussions and have members of different disciplines come together and discuss their work.

He hoped for those in attendance to take away that art isn’t just about the final product, but rather a means of visual journaling, which can be achieved by anyone. 

Among the students, faculty and community members in attendance, Tess McGinley, ‘23,  said she went because of her interest in how art and psychology play off of each other. 

McGinley said her own family’s dynamic also has interests which are too distinct, yet aligned. 

“I’m a health, medicine and society major, and my mom works at a museum, so the intersection of art and psychology really intrigued me,” McGinley said. “It really shows how art is present in every field.”

The Art in Dialogue series is set to further explore this notion throughout the semester. Brennan said there are plans to continue this series and similar ones throughout the next year. 

The exhibits are free and open to Lehigh students and faculty, and the general public. 

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