Essay art gallery ABOUT DESCRIBE island

Essay art gallery ABOUT DESCRIBE  island


Introduction to Humanities Personal Response Paper Guidelines

Also known as this is NOT a Research paper

(100 points total)


The purpose of this assignment is for you to have a face to face experience with an artistic work and then write about your response to it. This means that you must witness something live, i.e., in bodily form rather than in virtual form (a movie, book, internet site would not work). You must attend this experience this semester. Possible experiences you could pursue:

 Art museum or established art gallery exhibit, including the Collin Arts Gallery

  Dance concert at college level or professional 

  Theater performance at college level or professional


Use good judgment in choosing an art experience. Your little niece’s ballet recital is not going to give you an experience that relates to the content of this course.   A natural history museum, science museum, or historical exhibit is not appropriate. Do not write about work by a person who you know personally. Do not write about works on campus, which are not in the Arts Gallery. You must visit an art museum, art gallery, or theater or dance performance space!!!!


Your paper must be typed! You must turn in a paper copy to me and submit a copy to turnitin via Canvas.  I will not grade a paper unless I have a paper copy and a turnitin submission.   The recommended number of words is 850 words minimum.  Grammar and spelling count and are worth 20 points of the paper. Use double spacing in your paper!

***NOTE: The final page of your personal response paper must include a photograph of you inside the gallery or museum. Do not include a photograph of the work or works you wrote about. Attendees of a theater or dance performance must include a program.*** 


Act as if you are writing for an audience who hasn’t seen or experienced the artwork(s) or performance. Your reader (me) is only able to experience the work(s) through your words.  It is your responsibility to look at the work(s) as objectively as possible and articulate these findings to me. Your reader depends on YOU to make the appropriate word choices, to consider what the artist may or may not be doing. You should avoid reading anything about the work other than: the title, the artist’s name, and the material used. The whole purpose of this assignment is to help you to learn how to trust your own abilities to observe, using your own senses, and make conclusions.

You must tell your reader where you saw the work(s), who created it, and the title. If it is a performance, you must give the name of the theater or dance company, the place where you saw it, and the director/choreographer. 

Paper Format:

It is your personal responsibility to do four things, which are each worth 20 points: 

1. Describe in detail the art works, dance pieces, or theater performance under consideration from an objective standpoint. Make the dance piece, art work, or theater performance come alive for your reader! Be sure to give the name of the place where you saw the work, the person(s) who made the work, the title of the work. The title should be in italics. If you are writing about the visual arts, include the material; if you are writing about a performance piece, include the names of the persons responsible (choreographer or director, for example, or performers). If you are writing about a performance, plot summary should be kept to a minimum. The plot of a play or dance, for example, is less important than how the plot is conveyed by the choices the director/choreographer, designers, and performers make.  If you are writing about visual arts, you should focus on one, two or three art works.  

If you write about a theatrical performance, you should choose one or two aspect of a performance piece (lighting, costuming, or acting). If you are writing about a dance concert, choose one, two or three pieces

Use descriptive words and significant details to create a mental picture for your reader. The more specific, objective, and clearer you are, the better. Avoid clichés (“beauty is in the eye of the beholder”) and sweeping generalizations.

2. Analyze and interpret the aspects of the work(s) you choose to describe. Interpreting means that you attempt to understand what the work is communicating, using the elements from the work to back up your points. Basically, you are acting like detective who uses the clues to figure out what it means. Remember to be careful to not assume something that isn’t there. The evidence (aspects of the work) tells you what you think it is conveying. There is no perfect interpretation; however, you must be careful that the work described fits with your analysis. Think about the choices the artist/performer made and why he/she did it that way. What may have been the point? To educate? To inspire? To make you feel a certain way? To get you to see better?  To make you uncomfortable?

3. Evaluate the work(s). Now, be subjective. Tell your reader how you felt about the work(s). If you like or dislike some aspect of it, do not simply state this, give reasons for why the performance or works of art affected you the way it did. In other words, think about how the artistic choices influenced your experience of the event. It is your job to convince the reader of your aesthetic judgment using evidence; mere statements of the experience being “bad” or “good” do not tell your reader why it is worth seeing or not. Remember, you are being responsible to your reader by considering that she does not have your same perspective, so you must consider that as well. This is an important aspect of the essay, so don’t forget to write about it!

4. Conclude by addressing the arts in general as agents of cultural change, as purveyors of ideas, or as communicators of values. In YOUR OWN WORDS, tell your reader how any artist’s choices and actions (the work itself being an active form of communication) influence the world around them. Discuss whether an artist should be aware of the consequences of his/her art work. Why or why not? Then consider the ways in which are we all responsible for what we say and do. At this point, you may refer to artists or thinkers from our course work and compare them to what you saw.


You should avoid reading or looking at anything about the work beyond the title, artist’s name, and the material(s) used. There is NO REASON to use research for this paper. It is supposed to be your personal response to the work(s) you witness.  For example, it is not an explanation on Ancient Egyptian sarcophagi or Japanese dying techniques. In other words, this last part is only important if you do ignore my advice on how to write this paper. 

If there are any program notes, wall texts in the museum/gallery space, exhibition texts, or other written material or verbal insights you gain from a museum worker that you refer to in writing your personal response, you must cite them. Exact words must have quotation marks around them. 

  1. According to the Parsons Gallery wall text      accompanying the exhibit, Jeff Wright’s photography was “inspired by his      interest in post-war Americana and nostalgia for the 1950s.”  
  2. “The work was painted in 1893 in Paris during      the era known as the Belle Époque.” (Dallas Museum of Art wall text) 
  3. The wall text accompanying Stone’s painting Saint George Slaying the Dragon      states that he made it after he left the England for the U.S, which is why      he was interested in English historical works.
  4. The galliard was “a renaissance dance done at      the royal courts.” (Bartel, 207).
  5. The program for Congreve’s play Dog’s Body includes the historical      note that it was first performed in Lincoln Hall, Philadelphia.

You must also include a Works Cited page as a separate page at the end of the paper.

Ex:  Works Cited

Parson’s Gallery wall text on the exhibit Jeff Wright: Destination West

Dallas Museum of Art wall text on Eugene Courbin.

Kimbell Art Museum wall text on Theo Stone.

Bartel, Elissa. History of European Dance. New York: Hodgkins Press, 1978.

The Irving Theater Center’s program for Dog’s Body by Carolyn Congreve.

Be sure to cite any source you use, whether it is the playbill or Wikipedia. You must cite in the paper itself right when it is used and in a separate Works cited page. 

Even definitions must be cited!  Do not pass off someone else’s ideas as your own (refer to syllabus and the plagiarism policy).  You may not use an assignment that you have turned into another class. If you do use outside sources, you must both cite them in the paper right after they are used and in a separate, Works Cited page. You must also put words that are not your in own in quotations, and if you paraphrase, you must still cite the source. If you neglect to do any of this, your paper is considered to have been plagiarized, and will receive zero points. If your paper is suspected of plagiarism, it will be sent to the Dean of Student’s office. Ignorance is not an excuse.

Personal Response Grade Rubric

Student Name: _________________________________________________________

Turned in to Turnitin via Canvas  (if not, no grade)_____________________

Turned in a paper copy to me in person  (if not, no grade) ______________________

Included photo of self or program (if not, no grade) _______________________

Description (20 points):____________________

Analysis (20 points): _________________________

Evaluation (20 points): ______________________

Statement on artists’ responsibilities (20 point): ______________

Grammar and Coherence (20 points): _____________

Points off for citation issue:__________________

Points off for lateness (either of paper copy, copy, or both) :_______________

 Total Points (out of 100): ___________________

Extra Comments:

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