Flagler College Art professor to give talk on how sense of touch impacts critical thinking skills

February 8, 2017

Flagler College Art Professor Laura Mongiovi will discuss how sensory experiences involving color and texture impact individuals’ critical thinking skills on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Her talk is part of the college’s Community Lecture Series and will take place in the historic Solarium in Ponce Hall.

According to Mongiovi, approaches to art and design extend beyond free-standing art forms; in one study, for example, when the living space for Alzheimer’s patients was transformed by moving around items in a room or the color of its contents, patients remembered more, and were able to function better. The organization of space, she said, can be used as a tool to impact people’s experiences.

“One of my main hopes for the community lecture is to highlight artists as critical thinkers who engage with ideas within their realm of personal art making and beyond,” Mongiovi said. “What we do is communicate with a visual language and the opportunities we have to do this are vast."

Last fall, the Flagler professor directed a collaborative project with Laura Miller and Sheryl Bray, teachers for the Visually Impaired at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. As part of the project, Flagler students from Mongiovi’s “Ceramic Sculpture” course visited the FSDB campus and worked with visually-impaired middle school students to make small, hand held textural clay objects. Those creations were later put on display at the college’s Crisp-Ellert Art Museum — where visitors brought their own perceptions and experiences to the objects, through the sensation of touch.

Mongiovi has devoted her classes in sculpture to challenging students to use their abilities to help members of the community through various projects. Mongiovi received her Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Florida State University and a Master of Fine Art degree from University of Colorado Boulder. She taught art at Metro College Denver and the University of Wisconsin before joining Flagler’s staff in 2005.

During the 2016-2017 season, Flagler celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Community Lecture Series, which was founded in 2007 to offer the local community an opportunity to explore topics covering arts, religion, politics, culture, history, economics and more with experts on the college faculty. The theme of the series this year is “Challenges at the Crossroads: Finding Solutions to Local Issues.”

The programs take place monthly. Tickets are $5 per person for a single lecture, or $15 for four lectures. Active military personnel may attend at no charge. Lectures begin at 10 a.m. in the Ponce Hall Solarium at Flagler College, 74 King St. Reservations are not required. The lecture will last approximately one hour and will be followed by a coffee and pastry reception.

Call (904) 826-8617 for more information, or visit www.flagler.edu/communitylectures.

Photo caption: Collaborative art project, directed by Professor Laura Mongiovi, between Flagler College and the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind