To enhance their study of 19th century American painting and Greco-Roman Mythological sculpture, students enrolled in the course Cultivating Creativity at American International College visited the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum to see artwork first hand.

"Viewing a painting on the web or in a book cannot compare with encountering the real thing," said Communications Professor John Nordell, who teaches the class and led the guided museum exploration.

Nordell said the students prepared for the visit by studying the guiding ideals of 19th century American painters and the portrayal of myth in Greco-Roman sculpture carved out from marble thousands of years ago. To make interdisciplinary connections relating to art, innovation and the 19th century, he said the students researched 19th inventors who hail from Springfield.

At the museum, students searched out examples of various elements of art. Also, to keenly observe the paintings and sculptures, students made interpretive drawings using techniques learned in class. "Drawing with a pencil is an excellent way of seeing," said Professor Nordell.

After studying in class the Western landscapes painted in the 19th century by Alfred Bierstadt, students buzzed with excitement when they discovered one of the artist's actual paintings.

Heading back to campus after the visit, student Kelsey Malloy said, "It was great to be surrounded by so much creativity."