June 2010 cover SCAN"St. Catherine University St. Catherine University
February 2011
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The Art of Perception

From the ER to the CIA, art applies to all.

Amy Herman relishes the moment an FBI agent unfolds his arms, opens his mind and exclaims, "Ah, yes! This does relate!"

The New York–based art historian and attorney has made a living sharpening others' observation skills, and has built a reputation for the wide array of professionals she trains — from law-enforcement officials to healthcare workers. She teaches them a critical study of art that informs how they look at life and work.

Herman will share her approach, based on a three-hour course that she calls "The Art of Perception," at a public lecture March 10 at St. Kate's.

"Part of the success of this program is that we take people out of their everyday context," Herman said in an article published in January in Faith & Leadership, the online magazine of Duke Divinity School (faithandleadership.com). "We take them out of the precincts, take them out of the hospitals, and put them in a museum where they don't know where to look first," she said.

"When you ask people to use their professional skills in an unfamiliar setting, it's a whole different thought process," adds Herman, whose students have included members of the U.S. Secret Service, the New York City Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

While visiting New York last year, St. Kate's art history major Molly Davy '12 met Herman on a group tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "I was star-struck," Davy says. The encounter helped her see new possibilities for her career.

Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Amy Hamlin, who was on the same tour, teamed up with Associate Professor of Nursing Debra Filer to bring Herman to St. Kate's. "She's a pioneer," Hamlin says.

Herman is equally eager to visit Minnesota — and St. Kate's. "I've read about the school and its liberal arts philosophy, and it sounds like so many doors at St. Kate's are open," she says. "I hope my program will open them a little wider."

Her appearance will be co-sponsored by the Department of Nursing; the School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences; and the Sister Mona Riley Endowed Chair in the Humanities. — Christina Capecchi

From the Heart

purple vine illustration












"The Art of Perception"
Art Historian Amy Herman

When: Thursday, March 10, 7 p.m.

Where: Jeanne D'Arc Auditorium
             St. Catherine UniversityThe Year of the Liberal Arts
             St. Paul campus

Free and open to the public.