On a quiet July day in Paris this summer, the 2015 cohort from CGIS's Arts in Paris program was on its way into the world-famous Musee d'Orsay for an afternoon of learning about Impressionist art. On their way in, some of the students thought they recognized a familiar figure heading into the same institution, someone rather tall and wearing a Michigan hat. They got Coach Harbaugh's attention, engaged him in conversation, and ended up touring a few galleries with him and his wife, Sarah. The couple was in Paris for a vacation, some time together before Harbaugh's tenure as Michigan's head football coach got into full swing with summer preparations for the fall season.
Howard Lay and his students returned from their summer studies not only with a much greater understanding of French art, art history, politics, and culture but with a pretty interesting story to tell friends and family about an encounter with a Michigan football legend.
Students on the Arts in Paris program spend their summer exploring one of the most famous and culturally rich cities in the world. The program is a unique study opportunity offering exposure to Parisian life through homestays, French language instruction, and site visits.
Students take a French language course taught by a local instructor and an art history course taught in English by a UM History of Art professor. No previous work in art history is required to participate in the Arts in Paris program.
All LSA students on this program receive language credit. French majors and minors receive credit for the art history course as a French course.
Students spend the entire 6 weeks in Paris learning how to “read” the city through any number of interpretive lenses. Daily exploration of the city is an important part of their social and cultural education and a foundational feature of the program. Three days each week class meets on site—at cathedrals, chateaux, and museums throughout the city.
Dr. Howard Lay is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the History of Art department. His scholarly interests include modern French painting and graphics, nineteenth-century French painting, as well as critical approaches to popular, bohemian, and avant-garde cultural forms. Professor Lay consistently receives extremely positive feedback from students about the quality of his teaching, his dedication to their learning and growth, and his deep knowledge of and passion for his subject.