New Interdisciplinary Class Brightens the Eye

On the surface, Science and Art may seem like two diametrically opposed fields of study. Science stereotypically leans more toward experiences and lessons with set forms and equations that adhere to the scientific process, while Art stereotypically focuses on learning new forms and materials as vehicles for personal interpretation and expression. However, Parker’s faculty understand that nothing truly exists in a vacuum, and connections are everywhere! And through exploring these connections, students gain skills and confidence by developing new perspectives and points of view.

While many at Parker share this belief, Visual Arts teacher and Department Co-Chair Kay Silva and Upper School Science teacher Xiao Zhang decided to put this idea into practice, creating the new Upper School course The Science of Art. Silva and Zhang co-teach this interdisciplinary class, with students performing an art activity, then learning the science behind what makes it “work” through another activity. For example, the first unit was on “perception,” during which students dissected a cow’s eye, while the second unit was on “fluid dynamics,” when they experimented with multiple methods of manipulating a variety of paints.

When speaking on this course, Zhang said, “To me Science of Art is about creating art and then understanding the material basis for artistic creation and perception.” Silva further shared, “Art is embedded in most everything we do. It’s wonderful to help students find the synergistic ways that artists and scientists integrate each other’s disciplines to inspire their work.” 

We are very proud of our faculty and the many ways they work to create a fresh, enriching educational experience for our students.

Click here for photos.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.