Seminar Studies Role of Senses in Artistic Sensibility

School of Arts & Humanities Collaborates with Museum on Unique Experience

March 24, 2009

Touch, sight, taste, hearing and smell are all the senses used from birth and committed to memory in kindergarten. But when do people learn how to use the senses?

Students of the UT Dallas undergraduate honors seminar course, “The Senses and Art,” are doing just that – learning by experience to harness the powers of the senses for increased understanding of art and literature.

Recently, students spent their three-hour class with Executive Chef Jason Ferraro in the DMA’s own Seventeen Seventeen Restaurant, learning about the art of cooking with the senses. Ferraro demonstrated some of the techniques he uses, and also gave the students a chance to cook with the senses themselves.

Chef Ferraro uses different textures, flavors, temperatures and scents to challenge his guests in a theatrical dining experience.

“I’m very pleased that the museum asked me to take part in such an important class for our local college students,” said Ferraro. “To combine visual art, literature, dance and now cooking to help them experience the senses in all the ways possible is a wonderful thing.”

Dennis Kratz, dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, partnered with Molly Kysar, head of Teaching Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), to organize this semester’s seminar. The course is inspired by the current exhibition at the DMA, Take your time: Olafur Eliasson.

“All in all, this experience has taught me how to find art in everyday things,” said Anna Markowitz, a junior in sociology and University Student Ambassador. “I enjoy the little things in life much more than I used to. For instance, I pause longer before taking my sip of coffee to enjoy the aroma and warmth it gives.” 

The University and the DMA have worked together for six consecutive years to offer an interdisciplinary honors seminar for undergraduate students. Students meet at the DMA every Thursday afternoon, from January to April, to learn from experts from a variety of perspectives, including DMA educators and curators and UT Dallas professors.

Previous seminars have focused on a multitude of aspects from the DMA’s collections and special exhibitions, including last year’s course on creativity, themed on the 2008 opening of the museum’s new Center for Creative Connections. The DMA also offers a graduate-level Summer Seminar annually in conjunction with UT Dallas, where teachers meet at the DMA for two weeks in June to explore the same topic as the spring honors course.


Media Contacts:  Karah Hosek, UT Dallas, 972-883-4329, karah.hosek@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Anna Markowitz works with her sense of smell in the Senses and Art course

Above: Anna Markowitz uses her sense of smell to explore a creation by Chef Jason Ferraro.

Below: The course has been held at the Dallas Museum of Art’s own Seventeen Seventeen Restaurant.

(Photos courtesy the Dallas Museum of Art)

Students sampling tastes

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