ASU honors students explore the arts in new course

Barrett honors students seated in auditorium

Students are immersing themselves in art and the community in a new class offered by Barrett, the Honors College at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

The class, called “Metro, Museums, Music, and Movement: Exploring the Arts in Phoenix,” involves students in the arts in different ways. In addition to enjoying a ballet performance, students also attend a ballet class. They learn about the opera through lecture and demonstration from a professional singer prior to attending a performance. Tours of the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum bring a new perspective on visual art and Native American culture. Classic theater and lyric opera come alive for students who attend performances at the Herberger Theatre and ASU. The cost for students to attend performances is paid by the honors college.

To enhance their experience with knowledge, students attend two-hour classes with representatives of arts groups who speak about the downtown scene and the ins-and-outs of its resident museums, dance companies, theaters, performers and artists.

The one-credit class was developed by Denise Minter, a Barrett staffer with a background in music education, and Diane Facinelli, honors faculty fellow at Barrett.

According to Minter, the class, which began in January, aims to extend students’ cultural perspectives, encourage them to develop a greater appreciation for the arts and become informed and enlightened arts patrons. Students from the Downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses are in the class.

“So far, I have found the class to be a great experience. While I have always had an appreciation for all forms of the arts, being able to experience each one in a different context than how I otherwise might has been amazing,” said Andrian McGhee, a health sciences student.

Kristy Westgard, a student majoring in journalism and supply chain management, appreciates that she can attend performances at no cost. “As students, it is very rare to be able to attend some of the events and places that this class affords us to because we are living off of a college-kid budget. This class lets us take in some of the best that downtown Phoenix has to offer, something I don’t believe would happen otherwise,” she said.

Devin Corrigan, biochemistry major, sees the class as a way to reach beyond his major, as well as venture into Phoenix.

“This is the first class I’ve ever taken downtown, and it’s really fun to experience ASU outside the Tempe campus. I’m becoming more familiar with downtown as a whole, and I feel better connected to students who reside there,” he said.

“I think this class enhances the Barrett experience by offering a unique opportunity to see various forms of art, including operas, ballets, plays and museums. This is something you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else on campus, certainly not from any classes offered outside of Barrett,” he added.

Juliette Friedland, a health major, said the course “is an opportunity unlike any other. It’s the chance to not only learn about culture, but to also be embraced by it. I believe this will be a class I will hold dear and remember maybe for the rest of my life.”