BHS seeks to expand offerings with Art History and Film Studies

Grace Lormand, Staff Reporter

Burroughs’ list of potential electives may be growing, if two proposed courses receive approval.
The courses, Film Studies and college-preparatory Art History, go before the Sierra Sands Unified School District Board on April 21.

Art Teacher Tristan Kratz developed the courses and is “beyond excited” to explore these new academic studies at Burroughs.

“Everything about these classes has me bouncing off the walls! I can’t wait to teach these courses,” said Kratz. “I am so grateful that Mrs. Cope was willing to allow these new courses to be offered to allow our students to explore different areas of art and human creativity and to offer more options for our students.”

Approved earlier this month by the UC Doorways system, the Art History class will enable students to earn their fine arts credit and learn about art without being required to make art.

“Students will not only look at works of art that are historically significant to the development of art, but learn how and why humans’ ability to create objects reveals the history, heart and soul of humanity as well,” says Kratz. “We will trace art’s relation to religion, culture and power to uncover how art defines, contradicts and transcends its specific historical moment. Moreover, we will be analyzing works of art in their contexts considering issues of patronage, gender, politics, religion and ethnicity.”

The Film Studies course would provide elective credits toward graduation.

Kratz says the course objective is to enable students to appreciate film in a more active and intelligent manner, and “to really dive into diverse narratives, visual developments, presentations and performances in film, exploring different genres of film and how this medium has informed and continues to influence culture.

“Because this class is not a ‘history’ class, we can focus on films in a nonlinear fashion — not following an historical timeline — but rather look at specific films that represent a genre or narrative theme.”

Kratz says that some of the units will focus on the Golden Age of Hollywood, films such as Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings that follow the Hero’s Journey, Sports movies and the Underdog, Comedy, Monster Movies and Special Effects, Westerns, and Musicals.

“As one of my students expressed, it’s like a book club but we get to geek out about movies,” said Kratz.

These courses are a logical extension of Kratz’ experience teaching theater, art and English.

“The ideas of art, performance, narratives, and how they reflect culture and impact society is familiar territory for me,” said Kratz.