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Continuing Education at PAFA

Pre-College Seminar

Pre-College: The Art of Magic and Myths: American Culture


with Kristina Murray

Calendar Next available session starts Mar 16, 2021 at 4 pm, runs for 5 weeks

Storytelling in all its forms has played a critical role in constructing our collective understanding of the United States of America. From grand history paintings to Broadway musicals, Americans have used various forms of art to share our struggles, celebrate our triumphs and articulate what unites us as citizens. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, both as an academy and museum, has always contributed to this American narrative.

This class will explore how America has relied on the art of myth making throughout its history. Whether creating a national identity or sustaining cultural and political norms, mythmaking has always been an important part of our legacy. Why do democratic nations rely on the art of visual storytelling, and how does this affect and influence national culture, morals and politics?

This class will include lecture, discussion, and student presentations on Zoom, as well as short reading and writing assignments on Canvas. Students will have the choice of doing a written or visual final project. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn how to analyze works in their social context
  • Students will gain a deeper knowledge of mythbuilding in American visual culture
  • Students will examine a variety of American art forms from throughout its history
  • Student will learn to read and analyze academic writing
  • Students will learn to articulate their ideas verbally and in writing

Kristina Murray earned her M.A in Art History from Temple after working for several years as a high school English teacher. She is PAFA's Teen Programs Coordinator with a passion for developing and leading social-justice oriented, skill-based leadership curriculum and programming. 

Students have the option of taking this class for 0.5 college credit or no credit. The only difference in experience is that "for-credit" students will receive a grade for their work. Students may combine this with The Art of Magic and Myths: Ancient Worlds for 1.0 college credit.

International students are welcome! However, the registration process is different to support international payment systems. Please reach out to to register as an international student.

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