Park West Gallery Director Talks to College Students About the Importance of Art
There have been many studies confirming the positive impact art can have on our physical and mental well-being. However, it’s vital to continue having conversations about the impact of art throughout the world with today’s youth.
With that in mind, Park West Gallery Director Morris Shapiro was recently invited to speak about the history of art to a prestigious group of Kathryn W. Davis Global Community Scholars at the State University of New York (SUNY)’s Westchester campus.
His topic—why art matters now more than ever.
The Davis scholarship program is reserved for “outstanding students from diverse backgrounds for education, international understanding, exchange, and service.”
“These students earned scholarships to come to New York and study from all over the world. They’re a select and amazing group,” says Shapiro. “My main message to them was, as ambassadors of your generation, it’s your responsibility now to understand the importance of art in human history, become stewards of the humanities, and preserve art, so it will move on to the generations that follow you.”
Shapiro’s presentation included a lecture on the history of art, from prehistoric to contemporary times, and a hands-on look at a 500-year-old engraving by master artist Albrecht Dürer.
SUNY’s Davis Scholars were an ideal audience for Shapiro’s presentation. The group was made up of students who are seeking to complete “innovative, grassroots projects that contribute to building peaceful initiatives and shaping a better world.”
The program and scholarship are named after Kathryn Wasserman Davis, the beloved activist and philanthropist, who started her “100 Projects for Peace” program in 2007, targeted at increasing global understanding and promoting peace.
Dr. Lori Maida, SUNY Professor of Sociology, arranged Shapiro’s visit. She says those in attendance gained a better understanding the important role art plays in “our individual lives, our communities, in our society, and in our increasingly connected world.”
“It was a pleasure having Mr. Shapiro present to the students of the Kathryn W. Davis Global Community Scholars Program,” says Maida. “We all enjoyed his insightful and engaging talk on the history of art and the responsibility that each of us has to honor and preserve the legacy of great art throughout the world.”
As his talk concluded, Shapiro urged the students to resist the superficiality associated with the social media age and develop the ability to “go deep” into the arts and culture.
“Great art requires concentration and time to absorb and appreciate,” he said. “And yet, those qualities are antithetical to their world today. That’s just another reason why it’s so important for them to become stewards of the appreciation of art.”
Interested in appreciating art in person? Visit the Park West Museum in Michigan, just outside of Detroit, where you can view masterworks by artists like Albrecht Dürer, Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt van Rijn, and more.
Park West Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery and museum are located at 29469 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, Michigan 48034.