Making history with art history

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Art history: A discipline that expresses human experiences, emotions, culture, society and other aspects which span the entire history of humankind. Professors who teach art history courses can bring inspiration, a new perspective and knowledge to students.

Dr. Petra T. Chu, a professor of art history and museum professions, will be awarded the 2015 Distinguished Teacher of Art History Award. The award will be given to Chu by the College Art Association of America (CAAA) at the New York Hilton Midtown on Feb. 11.

“I am very honored and pleased to receive this award,” Chu said. “Only one of these awards is given each year in the entire U.S. and I am tickled to death to receive it.”

The award is presented to an individual who has shown a consistent passion and loyalty in teaching art history for a number of years.

Specifically, the distinguished award is given to an individual who continues to teach and inspire students in discussing and acquiring more knowledge in humanistic studies as well as other fields which are integral in a student’s learning experience. In addition, the recipient, such as Chu, must show some contribution to the advancement of knowledge in art history.

These factors not only display an individual who is more than adequate in the knowledge and methods of the advancement in this discipline, but they also present an exceptionally inspirational, artistic and intelligent professor.

Chu initially got interested in art history at a young age, especially when her grandfather brought her works of art every week when she was stricken with tuberculosis for several months. This interest grew when she visited Paris and saw a variety of artworks in different mediums.

“I try to transfer my own love and enthusiasm for art to my students and hope that it will be infectious,” Chu said. “My favorite way of teaching is through field trips because I believe it is important to see the real thing rather than reproductions.”

The CAAA is a national organization which consists of university professors of art history and fine arts along with a significant number of institutions which repeatedly have shown that they project knowledge and studies of such discipline while inspiring students as well.

Nisha Desai can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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