A Borderless Museum - Why It Matters

All Grand Valley students can engage with the collection every day, and utilize art in their courses to learn visual literacy and analysis, and experience different cultures and points of view.

Art Piece

Art Collection Allows Health Students to Learn in New Creative Ways 

Students in all majors benefit from engaging with the art collection at GVSU. Jeanine Beasley, occupational therapy hybrid program director and professor of College of Health Professions, uses pieces from the collection to teach students about various health conditions. She uses an art piece located on the lower level of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall to demonstrate how nerves consist of bundles of nerve fibers enveloped by connective tissue. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease damage coating around the nerve fibers. 

Jeanine Beasley said, “We are so appreciative of the art here at GVSU. I have enjoyed integrating art into my classes whenever possible. Students pass by these pieces on their way to classes—my hope is that they will remember some of the concepts I have presented and relate them to the concrete art example in the building.”

Art Professor Teaching

Visual Thinking Workshop Connects Art, Health Professions for Students

Standing before a painting and discussing with classmates what they see is status quo for students majoring in visual arts. 

It was new territory for students majoring in nursing and health professions, when artist-medical educator Alexa Miller led a workshop in visual thinking by using the artwork in the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences (CHS) as a backdrop. 

The workshop introduces art as a means of enhancing visual diagnostic and communication skills. Jill Eggers, associate professor of visual and media arts, has developed a new undergraduate course at Grand Valley based on the Harvard course.  

After introducing the concept, Miller led students to the CHS hallway where they were asked to study "Floating Bed," a large oil painting by Stephen Duren, then discuss their reactions. Miller said the act of quietly reflecting on a piece of artwork has many similarities to being a caregiver or working in the health care field.

"We're learning how the art curriculum can serve the medical field," Eggers said. "It's teaching people to become more attentive and present, and to be more creative in their thinking."

Art Endowment App

Student-Developed Art Gallery Mobile App Could Reach Cultural Institutions Worldwide

The Art at GVSU app - which features tours, browse and search functions - was built by students in the Mobile Applications and Services Lab in Grand Valley’s School of Computing and Information Systems (CIS) under the direction of associate professor Jonathan Engelsma.

The app allows users to browse the art collections on any of Grand Valley's 5 campuses and centers, including Holland, Muskegon, and Traverse City. The browse feature provides building-by-building access, which can help indicate the precise location of artworks along with a photo of the piece and information. Thumbnail photos run across the top of the screen to provide an easy visual access to works. Icons provide easy share options, from social media, to email and copy actions. 

“In the School of CIS we work hard making sure our students are well prepared for their future careers as computer scientists,” said Engelsma. “Giving students the opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary team involving a larger collaborative project over an extended period of time provides many valuable teaching moments.”

The app draws data from the Art Gallery’s online database (Collective Access) of the university’s art collection, which was developed by Nathan Kemler, director of Galleries and Collections, in 2008.

“Grand Valley is leading the pack of universities and museums in Michigan using the open source Collective Access, and was one of the first worldwide to create a native mobile application that draws data from the Collective Access database,” said Kemler.