Tran with other members of the Association of Chinese Artists in American Academia.
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Howard Tran, M.F.A, professor of art at Lycoming College, traveled to Beijing, China, to present at the 2015 Across the Divide - International Art Education Conference held in June at Beijing Normal University. Tran was one of 12 speakers from the United States that presented at the conference.
“My presentation focused on using the liberal arts philosophy as a way to broaden students’ perspectives in the visual arts,” said Tran. “China does not have liberal arts colleges, so this is a topic that is of particular interest to them.”
Tran spoke about the mission of a liberal art education – in his words, “to give students a broad knowledge of a wider world as well as an in-depth study of an area of interest.” At Lycoming College, students are required to take distribution courses in a variety of disciplines, including: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, foreign languages, math and the arts. The intended result of these distribution courses is that students gain the ability to think critically in several subjects, and are consequently well-rounded. Tran spoke specifically about art students within this type of education, and how he encourages them to take the information they learn from their distribution courses and apply it to the artwork they create.
Along with discussions on observation and experiences in studio teaching and art education, members of the Association of Chinese Artists in American Academia and China’s scholars and artists presented their ideas and viewpoints through presentations, lectures, publication and art education exhibition. The conference represents a continuing effort to bring the forum of Across the Divide to a wider range of public audience.
The 2015 Across the Divide - International Art Education Conference was sponsored by the College of Arts and Mass Media of Beijing Normal University and the Art Education Committee of Chinese Artist Association.