Sheldon Museum of Art Main Content

Looking at art encourages new perspectives

CYAF 895 Special Topics in Family and Cultural Diversity



Cody Hollist, associate professor in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies and the director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program, used Sheldon’s exhibition Family Style to help graduate students increase their awareness of cultural diversity in family therapy and counseling settings.

Students spent the first part of their museum session closely observing the varied depictions of family (relationships, constituents, contexts, etc.) in the works of art and noting visual clues that might help them gain insight into the family’s dynamic. The class reconvened to discuss and share their observations and then returned to individual works of art to simulate counseling with the particular families depicted. Students found the experience to positively complement more traditional classroom conversation and invite new perspectives.