Student and Parent Testimonials

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Nicholas Purgett

GHS class of ‘14

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am currently a PhD student in medieval and early modern art at the University of Pennsylvania. I graduated from UT Austin in 2018 with a degree in art history and graduated from GHS in 2014.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

For someone majoring in art history, the level of rigor demanded in Nisbet’s course will instantly prepare you for college level art history. Your mental database of images, looking skill, and analytic writing will be honed in this course and far exceed that of those new to the subject.

For someone majoring in anything else, art history might seem useless or ancillary at best. This is wrong. Art history not only trains you to be competent in complex ways of analyzing visual data, it demands that your articulation of the visual, that which seems verbally ineffable, be fluent and cogent. Basically, you learn how it can be possible to construct an argument with evidence that is abstract and non-textual, which is eminently useful. Additionally, the cultural competency art history instills in you can, and will, be applicable in other ways you can’t imagine.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Well, I’ve gotta say, the great thing about medieval art is that you don’t have to deal with that pesky concept of the artist. I honestly really like that. It makes people focus on trying to understand a culture generally instead of debating endlessly whether one painting/sculpture or another possesses “the hand of the master.” But I’ll spare you all from my praise of hilarious anonymous masters such as the Master of the Large Foreheads or the Master of the Playing Cards and give some actual names and works. The sumptuousness and luxuriousness of Nicholas of Verdun’s Shrine of the Three Kings is a favorite of mine. No matter what opinion people have on medieval art, they are always shocked by the relative size and splendor of the object. It instantly commands respect and conveys opulence. I’ll always be a sucker for early Netherlandish art as well. It’s easy to love van Eyck, Campin, Daret, van der Weyden, etc, but the sculpture produced by artists such as Claus Sluter and Claus de Werve is exceptionally rich and emotive as well.

All that is to get in the way of me saying that André Derain’s Turning Road at L’Estaque might be my favorite work of art, despite it being 600 years later than my field of study. It’s just a comfy painting that’s nice to look at. I can’t explain it honestly.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

I entered the course in my junior year at GHS having no concept of the discipline or course. I guess I knew the Mona Lisa and a few things about Picasso. I’m now getting my PhD in the subject. Nisbet will make you at the very least appreciate the subject even if you don’t end up loving it, which is honestly fine.

Most importantly, however, the course – and really the discipline itself – centers on looking at things, being curious, and drawing connections. I firmly believe that this is something everybody can –and should- be good at.

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Hannah Leber

GHS Class of ‘17

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am currently in my third year of school at Texas A&M University, where I am getting a degree in Environmental Design (AKA architecture). I just recently returned home after studying design at the Barcelona Architecture Center in Spain, which was an experience I can not even begin to put into words. While I was abroad I took a few trips to Rome and Amsterdam. While traveling I got to see buildings such as the Pantheon, the Colosseum and Sagrada Familia. In Amsterdam I went to two museums which held the biggest collections of Van Gogh paintings and the MOCO museum where I fell in love with artwork by David Arsham.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t taken Mr. Nisbet’s AP art history class in high school. It was in this class where I realized I had such a strong passion and understanding for design. This class also let me get a jumpstart on my college career since I was able to easily pass my AP test thanks to Mr. Nisbet’s exuberant lectures which has ingrained all the test material into my head. Not only did this class let me come into college with credit but it also set me up for my other architecture history classes I took in college. Mr. Nisbet’s learning and writing techniques have stuck with me and will stick with me forever. (Side note: if you take this class Mr. Nisbet will teach you the word “phenomenological” and if you use this word when writing about architecture professors will be absolutely amazed). 

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite building I have studied and experienced has to be the Pantheon. When I went to Rome I sat outside the Pantheon for hours just in awe by the history behind it. How massive the columns are and how they traveled all the way from Egypt around 123 AD. Man I was totally geeking. While I sat there I could almost hear Mr. Nisbet spewing out facts about what I was looking at.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

My advice for a current high school student that’s hesitant about taking this class would be if you have even the slightest inclination to take it then 100% go for it. When I was in high school I switched into this class at the very last minute and it has changed my life forever. I also know my story isn’t the only one like mine. I think back to the people I sat next to in class and where they’re at now. The kid that sat to my left is studying to be a writer at prestigious film school. And the girl who sat across from me is now in New York studying photography. Mr. Nisbet has not only impacted my life for the better but many many other students as well. And I’m sure he will make a lasting impression on yours.

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Phoenix Nelson

GHS class of ‘19

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am studying at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. My major is Applied Mathematics for Health and Life Sciences and my minor is Sustainability. 

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Studying art history in high school has strengthened my critical thinking and writing skills. My writing has become more in depth, in detail, and radiates confidence in analyses. More personally, studying art history has widened my knowledge and understanding of the various cultures around the world. In addition, I have become incredibly confident as a person, and when it comes to my writing, or any of my work in general, I have made it a point to be proud of every assignment I turn in. 

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

I really love Kandinsky’s Composition pieces because I love the incorporation of musical composition; music is a version of art that speaks differently to everyone, and I love that Kandinsky painted what he felt from music and named his pieces similarly to classical music composition. My favorite artist is Artemisia Gentileschi. She faced a lot of challenges trying to pursue being a woman in the arts, but she persisted, and the artwork she created reinforced her vision of strong women, like Judith Slaying Holofernes.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

Taking art history with Mr. Nisbet is more of an experience than a class. Mr. Nisbet is one of those teachers who consistently shows how much he cares for his students and the people they become. He makes you feel like you are the greatest student he has ever come across, and his energy makes you just want to be better and strive for more. Mr. Nisbet also makes the class accessible for anyone to succeed. Art history is such a great class because you learn so much more beyond the conventional idea of art. No matter your plans for your future, you will come out of his class glad to have taken it. 

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Kirby Simon

GHS Class of ‘14

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (’18) and M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering (’19). I now work for a company called Impossible Sensing developing scientific instruments and remote sensing technologies for space applications.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Art History, and more specifically the way that Nisbet teaches Art History, was the class that most prepared me for what college would be like. In Nisbet’s class, you have to take initiative and be diligent in your studies. You have to be able to process, learn, and discuss new or different ideas/concepts, and then be able to build from there to generate your own unique thoughts or hypotheses or conclusions. Developing these skills in Nisbet’s Art History class helped me think critically when I was exposed to new topics in college, allowing me to learn confidently and grow comfortably over my time in school.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

I have a special place in my heart for The Cardsharps by Caravaggio. It was the first piece of art I ever took a crack at analyzing/discussing as part of Nisbet’s summer assignment prior to starting the class in the Fall, so it’s one of the most memorable pieces to me. The humanizing yet mysterious and dramatic style of The Cardsharps (and most of Caravaggio’s other work) has always intrigued me. I would also say that Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains by Albert Bierstadt is at the top of my list. I’m a sucker for landscape paintings.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

If you’re having hesitations about taking the class due to the difficulty of the course or the belief that it won’t help you later in life, then you 100% need to take Nisbet’s course. As someone who studied engineering for 5 years in college and (unfortunately) hasn’t taken an art class since Nisbet’s course, I still feel that his class was one of the more rewarding classes I’ve had the pleasure to take. Nisbet’s passion for teaching extends beyond the classroom walls, and the wisdom you gain and skills you learn from him will be with you for life.

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Ruth Schlenker

GHS class of ‘19

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

Brown University

Sc.B. Candidate in Social Analysis & Research

A.B. Candidate in Modern Culture & Media

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Studying art and art history with Jeffrey Nisbet has helped me develop a knowledge base and an artistic process which have been invaluable to me in college. My college art teacher has praised my consistency, which I developed through two years of making artwork in Mr. Nisbet’s 0-hour art class every single weekday. Thanks to Mr. Nisbet’s art history and art history seminar classes, I am familiar with almost every artist that I come across in both my traditional art class and my web-based art class. Many of my readings as a Modern Culture & Media major come out of the same theoretical tradition that I was exposed to through reading John Berger’s Ways of Seeing in Mr. Nisbet’s art history seminar class. I feel that Mr. Nisbet’s classes gave me an enormous head start in the field I am interested in (and maybe even helped create that interest in the first place). I don’t know what I’d be doing right now if I hadn’t had Mr. Nisbet in my life.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Mr. Nisbet will not be surprised to know that my favorite artist is Thom Yorke. I love Thom Yorke because I have enjoyed following his artistic development and I have connected with his art emotionally more than that of any other artist. I think that his art is political but subtle, complex but not alienating. It has a good balance of qualities that I think are important in art. My other favorite artists are Bjork, Sufjan Stevens, Jenny Holzer, Nam June Paik, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kara Walker, and Marina Abramovic.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

If you have any inclination at all to learn more about art, do it with Mr. Nisbet. He is an amazing resource that we are lucky to have at Grapevine High School.

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Erica Klein

GHS class of ‘14

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I graduated in 2018 from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with a bachelors in fine arts. I majored in painting but took classes in furniture design, ceramics, sculpture, and jewelry. I took a semester abroad the Fall of my senior year and attended the Glasgow School of Art in the Sculpture and Environmental Art department. 

Now that I’ve graduated I work as an assistant to a former RISD alum, Julia Sullivan. She has a jewelry company RAHA jewelry based in Providence, RI, so it’s been a smooth adjustment for me. The job keeps my hands busy creating, which I love, and refined my skills soldering metal and bending wire. It also gives me enough free time to keep making my own work on the side. 

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

My interest in art started before high school, but the most important foundation came from my four years at Grapevine High School. I took AP/ PreAP art classes throughout high school which really improved my technical skills. The Art History classes I took expanded my creativity and knowledge of art throughout history. Learning what had been done artistically in the past, and seeing what and why things were either overlooked or appreciated, it made me consider where I could one day belong in that history. Nisbet was a crucial part in me applying to RISD, a school I hadn’t heard of until he introduced it to me. That changed my life for sure. I was dedicated enough to art to apply to several art focused colleges but without his guidance I wouldn’t have considered such a prestigious school. He helped me believe in myself. 

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

I just discovered Kathleen Ryan on Instagram (@katieryankatieryan). She does these really cool sculptures of rotting fruit encrusted in beads, which reminded me of a series I did for AP art in high school of rotting fruit/ vegetable colored pencil drawings. Her sculptures turn something ordinarily repulsive into something to be treasured. And with my job making jewelry now I can appreciate the intricate beading that must go into her work.  

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

Just go for it! Whether you have an interest in art already or simply think it looks like fun, this class is for you. Nisbet is so inclusive and gives individual attention to everyone. He won’t take slackers, but his class provides a social laid back environment full of discussion and group collaboration. I was a little nervous to take a class I knew would be so class discussion based (I get shy) but I got lucky and had a friend or two by my side. So if you’re not comfortable talking to a class, convince a friend to take the class with you. But most importantly this class will help you grow and get you out of your comfort zone. The volume of history related to art is intense, but Nisbet somehow finds a way to cram it into your brain in a way you won’t soon forget it!

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Meg Williams

GHS class of ‘15

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in Spring 2019 with a BSA in Biochemistry and a minor in Art History. Now I’ve just started a PhD program at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. I am in the Allen Lab where we study vector-borne disease, particularly Lyme disease. The Texas State Department of Health and other institutions send us tick samples that we use to study microbial compositions and bacterial evasion of the human immune system. I’m really excited to begin my own research project in the coming summer!

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Studying art history in high school not only helps you academically, but shapes you into a global citizen. What I mean by this is that art history helps students gain awareness and build a better understanding of global events and other cultures. While art history is extremely useful in strengthening critical thinking, communication and writing skills, to me the greatest benefit this subject has to offer is helping students understand issues of social justice through the lens of the artists. A lot of modern art has been created to inform others about, and even protest, a certain sociopolitical situation the artist comes from. This gives students insight into global issues from the point of view of those affected by it, something lacking in a lot of high school classes. So I think art history not only makes you a better student, but a more globally connected and informed individual in a rapidly changing world.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Cildo Meireles is my favorite artist. He’s a Brazilian artist who was primarily producing art in the 70s when the country was undergoing the most oppressive period of its twenty-one year military dictatorship. He made a series called Insertions into Ideological Circuits that was used as a form of guerrilla tactics of political resistance in order to evade censorship. He had a Banknote project where he would stamp ‘Quem Matou Herzog?’ or ‘Who Killed Herzog?’ on Brazilian currency and then recirculate the money in markets so that consumers would find these bills with these thought-provoking statements on them. Herzog was a reporter who died in police custody under suspicious circumstances, so this project was calling the government out in a way that circumvented censorship and reached a broader audience, which I thought was really cool. A lot of his more recent work discusses issues surrounding cultural divisiveness.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

Just do it! I’m serious, if you find time in your schedule, even if you’re not very into art at the moment, just take it. As long as you’re ready to put some effort in and approach some sensitive topics maturely, then take his course. He is honestly THE BEST teacher I had in high school and this course may very well change the direction of your life; I know it’s definitely the reason I minored in art history in college (which by the way was the best decision ever). If you’re hesitant because you don’t know that much about art, don’t worry, most of us didn’t either before taking the course, but we all came out of it as hyped about art as Mr. Nisbet is. And if you’re reluctant because you don’t like writing, just know that he’ll help you out and at the end you’ll see a noticeable improvement in your writing and if you’re like me, you may actually like it by the end (at least when it comes to writing about art). Literally, just take the course.

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Jeremy Miller

GHS class of ‘15

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

The University of Texas at Austin: Major: Architecture, Minor: History

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college. 

Studying art history prepared me for college by challenging me to look beyond what is placed before me. The class allowed me to look what is beyond and to think of the possibilities before coming to my own conclusion. This helped me analyze topics more effectively, whether they be art related or not, and even allowed for me to better understand people who don’t have the same mindset as myself.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Favorite Artwork: Bruder Klaus Field Chapel by Peter Zumthor

This is a building made by an architect (shocker for me to choose a building, I know). Why I would argue that this is an art piece is that the attention to detail is impeccable. The chapel sits on a pasture that requires you to walk about a mile inland from the road, forcing you to make a pilgrimage to the structure. Upon your return, the path to the door is a narrow, unkempt gravel path that serves only as an indicator that you can indeed walk on this part of the field. From the outside one might think that this is literally a narrow concrete monolith rectangle sitting on a barren field with a steel triangle as a door. And they would be right. But, there is purpose to this. As you open the door, you step into a completely different space. The walls are black and rugged, the ground grey and shiny. Light enters through an open air oculus at the top, allowing for one beam of light to hit the center of the room, leaving the rest of the space to idle in darkness. At the source of light is one cross where you can light candles in prayer. Meanwhile, the walls sparkle as glass marbles are placed in small holes within the concrete, giving the interior a mystic appeal. As you turn back around, the door remains ajar, allowing light to enter into the threshold in a way that obscures the exterior into shear white abyss, giving the appearance that serenity lies beyond.

How the building achieved this was through Zumthor creating a tent out of logs tied together. He then cast the structure in concrete in the shape of an irregular pentagonal prism and caste the floor in lead. Once the concrete dried, he lit the inside of the structure on fire, burning the logs, leaving charting onto the concrete and a fluted texture into the concrete now that the logs had dissipated to ash. What was left was a chapel which evokes a sense of retreat and sheltering through the protection of an enclosed space. The light from the glass marbles and oculus pierces the space, highlighting a heavenly sensation above while also being cradled softly by the light.

BUT, I still am impartial to Duchamp’s “Fountain” since it taught me to see art in a different light.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

For those who are unsure of if they should take art history or not, I would say to take it regardless. Art history is like looking at a picture book, every image tells a story. Some stories are more complicated than others, and some stories you may like or dislike. But what you will leave with is a deeper understanding of art. And, it might not seem like this is a necessary skill, but it has proven to me time and time again to be something to talk about/think about in a group setting with friends, family, colleagues, co-workers, and even strangers over the years. Learning about the history of the piece, why it was made, why it looks like it does, and how it has impacted people over the years is actually super cool to learn about. Because you also learn about what you do and don’t like. And you’ll also come to see how the art impacts you.

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Bradley Smith

GHS class of ‘18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am at Brown University studying Computer Engineering.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

AP Art History has a similar balance of reading and lectures to the humanities courses I have taken in college, and gave me a pretty good taste of what college courses were going to be like. It is also never harmful to have a good deal of practice writing essays on any subject.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite artist is Rene Magritte. He incorporated humor in to his works in a way that I think is fascinating, and it feels like many of his works are intended almost as a joke with the viewer.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

Before my senior year, I was the last person I would have thought would enjoy art history, but my friends convinced me to give it a chance. Nisbet’s art history class changed my life, and shaped how I view the world. It gave me an appreciation for aesthetics and artistry that I might not have found otherwise, and has caused me to be more aware of the artistic designs I see around me in my life.

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Brook Marino

GHS class of ‘18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

Oklahoma State University with a major in Strategic Communications with a Pre-Law option.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Studying Art History in high school not only taught me how to write a specific, successful paper, but expanded my knowledge of the world and other cultures. This class improved my understanding of the world and gave me an appreciation for things I would not otherwise understand. I believe that everyone should take this class with Nisbet at some point in their high school career! I improved my writing skills, my research skills, and how to respect and debate viewpoints that are different from mine. This is my favorite and most useful class that I have taken in my entire school career. I am a sophomore in college and use the skills I learned in art history every day and take art history electives to keep my knowledge up to date! I have referenced the research skills and even papers that I wrote for Nisbet’s class for classes in college, and I cannot say that for any other class.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite artist is JMW Turner. I love all of his work because all of his work is beautifully tragic. His paintings are some of the most visually pleasing I have ever seen, yet most of the time they convey a tragedy or specific point in history that would not otherwise be seen as beautiful. It will always amaze me how he is able to show not beautiful things in a beautiful way.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

One piece of advice I would have for those who are hesitant to take this class is that even if the content does not interest you, the structure of the class will benefit you immensely. The lectures and powerpoints that Nisbet spends his time putting together are extremely informative and his is the only class I took in high school that truly resembles a class that I have taken in college. You learn how to take notes, how to study, and how to write papers that you will use for the rest of your high school career. Nisbet taught me that slacking off is never good enough, and I have never worked so hard to impress a teacher!

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Fred and Stephanie Ertz

Parents of Jack Ertz (’19) and Piper Ertz (’17)

  1. How have you seen your child grow (this can be academically, socially, emotionally, maturity, etc.) as a result from taking art and/or art history in Mr. Nisbet’s class?

Proud Mom moments that ooze social, emotional and maturity from my children solely because of taking Mr. Nisbet’s AP Art History class. 

The Musee d’Orsay is my favorite museum for many reasons and what I love most is that my daughter Piper was my personal tour guide. I was caught off guard when I asked Piper if she wanted a headset / audio guide and she laughed at me. I was in awe of her wide range and depth of knowledge of so many pieces. I spent hours listening to her tell me the history and what she loves most about each piece. On a recent trip to the Kimbell in Fort Worth, Piper recognized an etched print of Las Meninas by Francisco Goya. I was impressed, but not near as impressed as when she schooled me and told me that Goya didn’t paint Las Meninas, Diego Velazquez did in 1656 and that Picasso was obsessed with Velázquez’s work. I plan to take Piper to more museums around the world, maybe I’ll learn something! 

A few years ago we took Jack to a friend’s Christmas party. He was a junior in high school. Jack asked my friend if she had visited the far east because he noticed the two small jade Chinese lions or foo dogs on her coffee table. She told him she had been to China and that she bought them for good luck. As I listened, Jack told her all about the history of the lions, how to distinguish the male from the female, the yin and the yang, and the general feng shui of it all. Later that evening Jack struck up a conversation about the architecture of her home and how he appreciated the ogival arches in the stairwell. We plan to take Jack to more parties; he makes us look good! He’s come a long way from being a shy 11-year-old boy staring at the floor of the Louvre for fear someone would see him looking at all the naked people in so many works of art!

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Piper Ertz

GHS class of ‘17

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

University of Arkansas-Human Nutrition and Dietetics

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Studying art history broadened my horizons in all aspects of my life not just school. I have had the privilege to travel to different parts of the world and see some of the most amazing pieces of artwork that I otherwise would not be able to appreciate appropriately if it were not for taking art history. I am not the artsy type but taking art history provided me with the perfect outlet. Instead of making art I was learning about the form, function, content, and context (haha) of various artworks. It made me feel artsy because I was now contributing to the arts by appreciation. In college I have not had the opportunity to take an art history course. However, I have helped several of my classmates with art history. I retained so much I didn’t even realize at the time. I’ve always told myself that if I had the time or went back to school after I graduate, I would minor in art history. I have a huge appreciation for art history and wouldn’t have that without Mr. Nisbet and for that I am truly grateful.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Las Meninas is my favorite artwork hands down. I really haven’t ever understood why I was so drawn to it but from the minute I saw it I couldn’t stop looking at it. Las Meninas was the first piece of art I really just sat and appreciated. I loved it so much I painted it for my ceiling tile. If you’ve seen my ceiling tile, you will know how it is truly a sorry excuse of artwork. Despite how horrible my rendition is, it is still my favorite. I think that the intricacy of the art as a whole and the way your eye is constantly drawn to different points of the painting makes me feel like I see something new every time I look at it. 

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

I was extremely hesitant to take art history because I am not artsy. I assumed because of that, I wouldn’t do well in this class. Regardless of your art experience I strongly recommend taking this class. It will help you grow as a person (I know it sounds lame but bare with me). Having Nisbet as a teacher is a once in a lifetime opportunity, there is such a shortage of great and passionate teachers in this world. If there is one thing I gained from this class, it is a new perspective and appreciation for things that I may have never before considered. That alone has helped me so much in so many aspects of my life, you really have no idea. So, if you have the opportunity, take the class. 

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Camryn Pope

Class of ‘18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am a sophomore at Texas A&M University studying biomedical science, and I hope to become a veterinarian. 

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Art history prepared me for college by teaching me how to take notes and study effectively. To succeed, you had to be able to know a lot of information about many different pieces which has definitely carried over into my current college career. I also learned how to pick out detail and learn about many different subjects (not just art history, but world religions and history as well) and how they all wove together and influenced the artist and the art of that period. This has helped me in both my humanities and my STEM classes because I’m able to connect small details from lecture with the bigger picture of the entire course.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite artwork is the Winged Victory of Samothrace because I got to see her in person. The strength that radiated from her was awe-inspiring, and she’s been my favorite artwork ever since.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

If I were talking to someone who was unsure whether art history is something they’re interested in, I’d probably say that everyone is made better by it. No one I know who took the class was exactly the same afterwards, whether they be changed by their newfound love of art or their knowledge of different cultures and history. I’ve talked about this class so often that my entire family knows about it. Do it. Take the class.

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Shannon Goad

GHS class of ‘17

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill 2020, B.S. Computer Science and Mathematics.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Even though I study two STEM subjects, the skills that I learned from taking art history have been invaluable. In high school, Nisbet’s focus was on teaching us to write clearly and specifically. Now, in computer science, being able to articulate your perspective is critical to teamwork, and in math, successful proof writing is dependent on being specific with your words. Beyond academic skills, art history taught me to look at the world around me critically, and always think about what shapes my own life and perspective. I am thankful that I learned in high school to be observant of the socioeconomic forces that influence our world.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite artist is da Vinci because he always inspired me to see how art and science are more connected than we think they are.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

The quote “A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.” Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is never a bad idea.

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Tracy Hearn

Mother of Jonathan Hearn (’18) and Sam Hearn (’14)

  1. How have you seen your child grow (this can be academically, socially, emotionally, maturity, etc.) as a result from taking art and/or art history in Mr. Nisbet’s class?

As you know I have 2 sons, neither of whom consider themselves artistic. My older son did not take AP Art History and regretted having to take an art class in college. So, I strongly suggested that the younger son take AP Art History to get the credit. Sadly, that was the main motive. He initially was not excited, but liked Coach Nisbet, so he reluctantly agreed. We had summer homework to go to the Kimbell and he decided it was ok; he enjoyed the art. Art History quickly became one of his favorite classes of all high school classes. 

Combining Art History with Nisbet and World History with Bak the same year was a magical learning experience that opened his eyes to interesting information he had never considered. I remember him sharing paintings and information about the class frequently. I also think taking those two classes encouraged him to take many more AP classes than we thought he would/should. He enjoyed the advanced learning and challenging classes. It motivated him to be in the top of his class and has had a huge impact on his college readiness. 

He was also intrigued in a Medical Terminology class freshman year about pursuing a career in prosthetics. He decided Art would help him in the creation of prosthetic limbs. He is currently pursuing this plan at UT. Additionally, he asked for painting supplies that Christmas that he was in Art History class. He is no Bob Ross (ha), but he enjoys painting landscapes as a way to relax. It is a new found talent thanks to Coach Nisbet. Coach Nisbet’s Art History was a tremendous learning experience for a kid who viewed himself as not artistic.

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Jonathan Hearn

GHS class of ‘18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, Majoring in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in biomechanical engineering to pursue a graduate degree in prosthetics. 

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

It taught me good study habits and how to study on my own. It made me consider things and look at things in ways I had not before. 

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Thomas Cole- because I love natural art and nature. 

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

It is a fun class and you learn a lot. It helps give you new perspectives about things you never considered before.

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Micah Thode

GHS Class of ‘19

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I go to Tufts University, and I am studying International Relations and Economics.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Studying art history has given me unparalleled knowledge about the world. The study of art history is a study of so much more than art. It is a study of religion, politics, philosophy, tradition, language, and so much more.  There have been countless times where I have used information learned from art history in my academics. The skills I gained have helped me with comparative analysis in literature and religion classes; using what I have learned about how art influences, and is influenced by the culture it was created in. Art history exposed me to cultures through a lens I never would have interacted with otherwise. From the Hawaiian royal capes, to Islamic architecture, to Buddhist temples, art history gives insights into a wide diversity of traditions and social structures. College requires you to have a diverse set of knowledge and abilities and to be able to apply them to a variety of situations, and art history prepares you for those challenges in a way no other course can.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite artist is Katsushika Hokusai. For AP Art History his work “The Great Wave” is in the image set, but in Mr. Nisbet’s art history seminar class, I researched the history of Japanese landscape painting. Through this research I became fascinated with Hokusai’s work and the way he approaches the natural world. Hokusai, and the painters that came before him, have a unique way of depicting the natural world, that both captures its beauty, but also is imbued with powerful imagery. The significance of images like Mount Fuji, and the relation of people to the immense grandeur of nature, is a perfect reminder of how small we are, and how much respect nature deserves.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

As students of Grapevine High School, you have the opportunity to be a part of one of the best art history programs in the country. Taking art history with Mr. Nisbet, you will not only be prepared for the AP test, but you will be prepared for the rest of your academic career. He holds his students to a high standard of integrity, knowledge, and character, but his passion and love of teaching helps you to meet his expectations. Art history and art history seminar were two of my favorite classes in high school, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

The writing and researched skills I learned in Mr. Nisbet’s art history seminar have been invaluable in college writing. When writing papers for that class, Mr. Nisbet holds his students to the same standard that college professors will hold you to. I wrote one of my Tufts college essays about my thesis topic in this class, and I have used the skills Nisbet taught me constantly.  Gaining experience writing college level papers in high school will put you ahead of your peers, and will improve your writing in amazing ways.

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Jared Kjolhede

GHS Class of ‘18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

Texas A&M University in College Station Physics – partnered at Blinn College. 

2. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to                be successful in college.

Despite the majority of classes preparing students for a test at the end of a year, or an eventual payout in terms of AP credit or just standard education. Both the AP Art History and AP Art History Seminar touched on some points in a student’s career that many other classes won’t ever find the light of day in. An off-topic but certainly influential part of history and culture that has easy to see tie-ins with history. Which gathers a degree of interest just by virtue of being new and different, and nudges the history and english nuts out of their respective domains of knowledge towards the more creative side of politics, culture, and life. It actually forces students to learn and research ‘not often known’ information and compile it in a way that makes sense and fits a category that they need it to, and while you can get by most classes previous by just BSing your way through everything. Most students won’t have the basis of knowledge to pull from to just coast through the class and end with an A for participation. 

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

If I had to point in a direction as to what one might want to consider to be quality artwork, it would certainly be The School of Athens, by my homeboy Raphael. However, artist wise Caravaggio takes the cake full stop. ‘Artist’ by the normal definition doesn’t fit him at all. The tavern brawling, always on the run, probably murdered a guy, the madman of a painter not only got a name for himself in his skill but tore a path through Rome and Co while doing it. 

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

The man says ‘Feel the Bern’ both ironically and unironically, the worst thing you can do is try and renovate the face of Jesus and turn it into a fuzzy turd with eyes. Pay attention, keep an ‘erect spine’, and yell ‘Propaganda Baby’ at least once a week. You’ll likely enjoy the class more than you or your public image thought you would.

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Erin Branscum

GHS class of ‘15

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I attended the University of Texas at Austin where I majored in Studio Art and Business Foundations. After graduating in 2018, I worked for an art start-up company in Austin for six months helping other college artists to sell their artwork. I then moved to Colorado where I am now working in a middle school and returning to school to obtain my teaching license. I hope to become an art teacher and continue being a working artist.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Studying art throughout high school prepared me to continue to pursue art in college and even after graduation, mostly because of encouragement from Coach Nisbet.  AP art in high school allowed me to be creative, confident and express myself through different mediums. I feel that AP art gave me a strong foundation going into college art studio courses, and I learned how to put my art out into the community through shows and contests.

Art History also allowed me to think deeper and see things in different perspectives, not only in art but in all things. But, I think the biggest way art history prepared me to be successful in college was in writing and reading. I learned how to think critically and write with intention and clarity.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

I have a lot of favorite works/artists that I love and draw inspiration from, but my favorite style/time period is a combination of impressionism and abstract expressionist work. I love the representational subject matter and brush work in impressionism works, yet love the colors, expression, and heavy texture and application of paint that is seen more in contemporary abstract works.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

Don’t ever stop creating and surround yourself with other creatives. I’ve learned that when you leave an environment or space centered on art (pretty much art classes or spaces where others are also creating) it is hard to stay motivated to keep making artwork on your own time. So, I highly suggest taking Mr. Nisbet’s art classes and surround yourself with other creatives. Keep making artwork because the second you stop, it is so easy for life to get in the way. Keep at it because the world needs creatives and is such a better place with art in it. The most important thing about being an artist is making art.

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Drew DeHaven

GHS class of ‘18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Texas A&M University.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Taking art history with Mr. Nisbet has helped me greatly in college. The skills and perspectives I learned in AP art history have made me a more well-rounded and cultured student. Despite what it may seem to those heavily focused in STEM fields like myself, there is more to life than circuits, equations, and numbers. Having well developed written and oral communication skills is essential for success and AP art history helps to develop these. Beyond professional skills art history has helped to give me a broader understanding of culture and history. Art history has enriched my perspective of the world around me and I would highly recommend the course. 

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite work is the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini. I am so amazed that such a high level of detail can be achieved with something as rigid and brittle as marble. The work is striking and fills the viewer with a great sense of awe. 

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

I think there are many reasons one should take art history. At the very least, you can receive a lot of college credit if you pass the test. I got 6 hours of credit from AP art history at my school. That is hundreds of dollars and hours saved. However, more importantly, Art History is a fascinating topic to learn about. Some might think that it is not important for their future or planned college degree, but the skills learned in the class are very valuable. Art is history, and learning about world events through the context of art has stuck with me more than any other history class I took in high school. 

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Christine McCullough

GHS class of ‘19

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I attend and play soccer at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. I plan on majoring in Psychology or Neuroscience 

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

All the readings/quizzes. No matter what class, whether it be reading/writing intensive or a science class, each professor assigned copious amounts of readings. It is very easy to fall behind and just brush off the readings. But when you know what the lecture is about beforehand, and are basically being taught it a second time, only this time by an expert in the subject, you learn so much more. This class developed good study/work habits for college. 

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

-artwork: Elephant Mask, Kuosi Society, Bamileke Kingdom

-why: The meaning behind this mask was so powerful to me. The tedious work that went into making these masks intrigued me.  I found it interesting that this particular society held elephants as royal and that it was a kinetic mask and was made to be worn during festivals/funerals. It was so cool to see what different cultures practiced compared to how I lived.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

If you are lazy, hate taking notes, actually having to study…this is not the class for you!! The amount of work I put into this class was significantly more than others, but in the end it all paid off. I never thought I would enjoy this class as much as I did, but I found myself actually excited to do the readings and learning about other cultures. By far one of my favorite classes at Grapevine.

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Ashlyn Cheek

GHS Class of ’19

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I’m pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre from Missouri State University where I am in the Honors College, Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, and have a very generous scholarship! Studying art and art history in high school was a blast and a half!

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Studying art and art history in high school was a blast and a half! Looking back, I don’t remember much about day to day classes, but I still have vivid memories of your lectures on the Great Serpent Mound and our trip to the DMA! AP Art History was my favorite class in high school by far, and I am actually toying with the idea of getting a Minor in Art History! Your class has prepared me for college tenfold by getting used to organizational note taking and quizzes every day. I have to do that still!

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite artwork is somewhat of a cliché, but I will forever love the Sunflower series by Van Gogh. However, I got see the late works of Monet last semester in an exhibit, and recently I’ve been obsessed with him, too. Although, Degas will always have a special place in my heart since his favorite people to paint were ballerinas (like me). Impressionism is my favorite style of art, can you tell?

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

One piece of advice I have for current high schoolers who are hesitant to take art/art history is that it may seem like a load of reading and writing, but it is SO WORTH IT. I cannot tell you the amount of value my learning in Art History gave me, not only scholastically but in mundane life as well. Plus, who doesn’t like sounding smart to your friends at museums or going to touristy architectural pieces on vacation? Not only is the subject matter highly interesting and genuinely fun to learn about, but Mr. Nisbet is the best teacher for the job! I’ve never met another teacher that truly cares for their subject as much as he does. I promise, you will never regret taking this class.

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Nick Tsigas

GHS Class of ‘18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I’m an Economics & Finance double-major and Accounting minor at Fairfield University, in Connecticut, and I’m in the Honors Program here.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Beyond the initial usefulness of providing a qualifying AP credit for college course requirements, I recall that the knowledge I gained in your class served me very well in a memorable Honors class I took here at Fairfield, which covered the history of architecture, art, and clothing/décor in Western society.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

If I had to pick one, I would have to say that my favorite piece of artwork is Fallingwater, the house by Frank Lloyd Wright.  The intersection of art and architecture has always fascinated me, as has the ability of the two, as they come together in this work, to stimulate a closer connection to nature and to provoke reflection, within ourselves, on the nature of our own being and place in the world.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

What I learned in AP Art History has been instrumental to both my success in my university’s honors program, and my ability to fully appreciate the diverse array of courses and subjects that constitute the college experience.  I would advise any High School students who can to take this course: it enriches your life and perspective both in school and well beyond!

In addition, on top of being so close to NYC’s many amazing museums, we are fortunate to have our own art museum on campus which has hosted a number of exhibits that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the years; my appreciation of these experiences have largely been made possible through the knowledge and appreciation of art that I gained in your class

AP Art History has greatly impacted my learning; it has really given me, and so many other students, a much greater appreciation of art.  Thank you again for teaching such a great and memorable course.

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Ellee McMeans

GHS Class of ‘18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am currently in my final year of studies at the University of North Texas, with my graduation date set for December 2020. I am a dual major in communication studies and art history, with a minor in history.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Having knowledge of art history has helped me to better understand world cultures and the variety of outlooks and perspectives that exist through which to view the world. I have gained a better understanding of politics, history, global issues, and social issues, all through the lens of art. 

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Recently, I have become very interested in conceptual art and performance art. A few of my favorite artists are John Baldessari, Marina Abramovic, and Lawrence Weiner. My favorite piece, however, is much less contemporary than my favorite artists. Oskar Schlemmer’s 1922 Triadisches Ballett (Triadic Ballet) is a canon performance of the avante-garde movement and perfectly exemplifies Bauhaus ideologies through sound, costume, and dance. 

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

Don’t be afraid to take Nisbet’s classes on. He will challenge you, make you work hard, and urge you to stretch your limits and think in ways that you are not accustomed to, but the results are worth the effort. 

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Sarah Iven

GHS Class of ‘19

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I attend the University of Oklahoma. As a member of the Honors Program I am studying political science with an emphasis in pre-law.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

The time I had as a student in Mr. Nisbet’s classroom taught me more than just lessons in efficient studying, writing and note-taking techniques, but how to be a better person. Art history gave me the platform and confidence to explore my own thoughts and beliefs about the world around me. I used to just read a textbook or article and understand it on a surface level, but Mr. Nisbet pushed me to grow and now I am a better student because of it. The confidence to speak up and take a stance is so important in college so that you can deepen your understanding of the material in a whole other way, and I’m so grateful to have that ability.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

I felt a draw to Impressionism from my first art history class and have found myself dragging my mom to see the latest Kimbell exhibits of Monet and Renoir. I love how Impressionist works seem to capture a moment, with the vivid brushwork and color acting as a portal to a moment suspended in time.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

I never thought I would love art, it wasn’t something I really had an interest in, or even thought I could since I’m not an artist myself. I am not pursuing a degree in art history, yet the time I spent in that class prepared me more than any other class I took to become the student and person I am today.  Even if you don’t think you are the type of individual to appreciate or understand art, I guarantee that your time in Mr. Nisbet’s classroom will be well spent. Take a chance on art history, you will not regret it.

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Ella Strickland

GHS Class of ‘19

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am a sophomore at the University of North Texas, majoring in Marketing with a minor in Accounting.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Taking art history in high school definitely prepared me for my art history class I had to take in college! Your class over-prepared me for my class. Because the college art history class just touched over a few units like Africa and Asia, I was acing that part of the class because if I remember correctly my professor said you just needed to know the name of the piece and the country of origin, easy right!? Your class was 3x harder than my college class and by taking your class I had already seen and learned about everything that was being taught. In addition, your class taught me how important it is to take notes over the important things and not write down everything which has helped me significantly in college!

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite artwork right now is the Couple Under One Umbrella by Leonid Afremov. I absolutely love all the colors within the painting along with the composition of couple who are off to the right from the middle of the painting. I also love the intricate detailing and placement of all the blocks of color and the lines of the lights.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

One piece of advice I have for students that are hesitate to take art history with Mr. Nisbet: Please please please do yourself a favor and take the class!!! It is so amazing: the artworks, the history and how Mr. Nisbet teaches! You will learn so much and are engaged constantly! Taking this class has fueled my passion to travel to be able to see these wonderful works of art in person! Even if you are not a big art person, this class will open your mind to what art has to offer for everyone and you WILL become a little more of an art person once you finish the class! 🙂

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Abigail Gardner

GHS Class of ‘18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I attend Baylor University and am studying Secondary Education Mathematics with the hopes of becoming a high school math teacher. 

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Art History was the class that I feel prepared me best for the college workload because it taught me how to study properly and learn deeply about the material in front of me. I have taken a few semesters of a course called World Cultures where I am able to use the knowledge and skills I learned in Art History to be successful. My World Cultures class brings in art from around the world, so I am able to come into the class with a base knowledge of these works that Mr. Nisbet prepared me with.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite artwork is Improvisation 28 by Kandinsky. I love that each time I look at the piece, I notice a different element that I had not seen before, whether that be the colors or the small brushwork details. I also like that music was an influence in his pieces, because music is a passion of mine and seeing the piece through this lens helps me to understand the flow of the work better.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

My piece of advice would be to try it out. I entered this class hesitant as well, and through it, was able to gain so much insight about my own perspective and the world around me through art. This class truly opened my eyes to understand other cultures better, and I gained a new appreciation not only for art, but for the ways we interact as unique individuals.

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Nimita Sisodiya

GHS Class of ‘16

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am currently a senior attending the University of Texas at Austin studying Marketing and Sociology. 

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Studying art history in high school helped me throughout college in a multitude of ways. The first being able to understand that an object can be analyzed much further than their outward appearance. There lies a deeper significance that tell all about society and culture. Art history has also taught me to further my perspective in life.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite artwork is The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. His attention to the two figures in a passionate embrace was something unusual during his time. I found his Gold Period to be fascinating as well as a powerful way to captivate his audience. I was fortunate enough to make a visit to Vienna and see this painting in real life.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

I would recommend anyone at Grapevine High School to take this class with Mr. Nisbet. They say a class can only be as powerful as its professor. In this case, it is more than true. Throughout all of my academic years, I can say I have never had a teacher as passionate and motivated as Mr. Nisbet. He has been the one that has guided us through a remarkable journey called Art History. 

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Madison Krivda

GHS Class of ’19

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am currently attending Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. I am majoring in clinical psychology with minors in sociology and art/art history.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

I first took art history during my freshman year of high school with Jeffrey Nisbet, and it helped really shape what I wanted to do with my future studies, which is art therapy. During my junior year at GHS, in my post-AP art history course, Nisbet let us explore different forms of art and how they were incorporated with what we wanted to do in the future. This is when I found my passion for art therapy because it allows individuals to express how they are feeling without using words. This idea is something I was able to use in my studio art classes, and researching the way art can help others, in the same way, opened new doors that I would not have known about without art history.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Throughout my now 6th year of taking art and art history classes, my favorite artist is Joseph Mallord William Turner, AKA William Turner. He was able to capture a sense of movement and emotion that made me really fall in love with art. Nisbet first introduced me to Turner and other amazing artists in AP. I have now written two research papers about Turner and have used the skills from Nisbet to excel in my current course while persuading others to take the art history courses as well.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

While Nisbet may not be the easiest and lenient teacher and this class is not an easy A, art history not only enhances your knowledge in art but in other history and geography classes as well. Nisbet also taught and designed his course in a way that mimicked how college professors teach with lecture style, testing, and the discussion-based portion of the class. It prepared me for a fast-paced, rigorous learning environment and helped me develop time management skills that I use every day on campus!

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Nicole Buhr

GHS Class of ’19

1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).
University of Texas at Austin
Major- Psychology B.S. Pre Med Certificate
Minor- Art History 
2. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.
Mr. Nisbet’s art history class took my high school education to the next level. In my eyes it is a must take class. For the class does not teach you the conventions of reading and writing, or how to memorize a piece of history, but rather how to put yourself in another’s shoes. You learn how and why someone else’s culture and practices are important to them, and how to put your own thoughts into words in an environment where only your best work is accepted. You will learn how to be a better global citizen, for by studying the art of another, we get a direct insight into history through the eyes of the artist and citizens themselves. Art History gives students a greater appreciation for the world around us, allows them to think of the similarities we all share and in turn learn empathy and respect for others. 
3. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?
Frequently in Art History, you are asked to pick a universal theme to relate to a piece of art. In the painting The Kiss, by Gustav Klimt, the theme is very apparent- love. However it is not because of the warm embrace between the man and woman that gives it away, but the way she sinks into his grasp and how you can almost feel his squeeze like he will never let go. However in the simplicity of the moment where it seems as if nothing else in the world matters, there is also great chaos and complexity. This is a lot like love in the real world. The man’s body is filled with black, white and gray rectangles and boxes, whereas the woman is covered in multi colored circles of greens, pinks, oranges and blues. It is as if the two are opposites and juxtaposed against one another, yet they still manage to come together as one despite their differences. This painting is a favorite of mine because it is a reminder of an essential human need- to make connections with others and to love without hesitation. This is also an example of how art manages to unify us all, as a reminder we have much more in common than we have uncommon.
4. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.
Use the challenge of this class to grow your thinking, writing, and reading skills. However  also use this class to find out who you are as a student and what you have to say about the world around you!
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Skyler Simon
GHS Class of ’16

1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am currently attending Washington University in St. Louis and studying chemical and environmental engineering.

2. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Nisbet’s art history class taught me how to consider a holistic view of any problem I encounter. My favorite part of the class was learning about the context surrounding each piece of art and how societal factors inspired their creation and artistic movements as a whole. This crucial point has served me well in college, as I learned how to consider something from all angles. In art history, for example, a single piece could be inspired by devout religion, social revolution, and enlightenment thought. In engineering, this parallels by balancing factors like safety, economics, and scientific feasibility – a harmony of which are required for successful design and problem solving.

Beyond teaching you how to think about problems, Nisbet’s rigorous class structure utilizes daily readings coupled with a lecture style that requires focused and deliberate note taking — this structure left me well prepared to tackle college classes with the same expectations of students. Most importantly, it taught me to take classes with the professors who are passionate about what they teach, as they are the ones from whom you will learn the most.

3. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Oh man this is a tough one… I would have to say my favorite artists are Barbara Krueger and Anselm Kiefer. Krueger’s works really speak to me because I love the power of words in art, especially as she uses them to explore female identity. Kiefer’s pieces are the ones that I will stare at in a museum until whoever I’ve brought with me drags me away – I find the textures he creates with mixed media mesmerizing and his work is charged with emotion in a way that draws the viewer into his world. I have to make an honorable mention for the Gutai Group as well because attempting to do our own art inspired by them is one of the my favorite memories from GHS.

4. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

Art history with Nisbet is one of the most rewarding classes I have ever taken, college included. It requires a good bit of work, but the way Nisbet teaches will make you a lifelong art appreciator, even if you don’t know a thing about it going into the class (and don’t think you’re interested in learning more). You will get out of this class what you put into it, but I’m thrilled to say that four years later, one of my favorite activities in a new city is exploring the museums, and I know that I am not alone in that.

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Karli Livingston

GHS Class of ’19

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I am currently a Biology major with a psychology minor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY.

  1. Please specifyhow studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Studying art history is not only for those who want to go into some art history related field. The skills I learned from Nisbet’s classes can be applied to any field. The note-taking and time management skills that I gained have been of incredible benefit to me in all of my college courses. I actually found it easier to make the transition into college life and workload due to the experiences that I had in Nisbet’s classes. Not only does Nisbet’s class give you academic skills, but I gained an entirely new understanding and appreciation for art and art history.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

I have a very special history with the Elephant Mask. We had an assignment to write an essay over one artwork from either the African or Pacific art sections of the Dallas Museum of Art. We were going to enter these essays into the Young Master’s Program. My essay was chosen as a finalist in this program out of hundreds of other applicants. It then hung in the DMA for 2-3 months alongside all of the famous artworks they have. Long story short, I had the experience of a lifetime by choosing this piece and it taught me so much about the power behind performance as art, as well as giving me a deeper understanding about the culture and values of the Bamileke peoples of Cameroon. If you have the chance, go check out Mr. Nisbet’s room where my essay is hanging!

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

Give it a chance! Mr. Nisbet is hands down the best teacher I have ever had. He is so passionate about art and art history in a way that inspires you to be the same. Taking art history may be nerve-wracking because it seems like a lot of work. Compared to your other high school classes, it is more work, but it is worth it! This is the closest thing you are going to have to a real college course in high school. On top of that, I had opportunities through Mr. Nisbet’s class that I never thought I would be able to have. I took one of his design courses and found out that I was actually a pretty decent artist even though I wasn’t any good at painting or drawing! I also had the opportunity to travel through Spain for two weeks! 

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Keira Byno

GHS Class of ‘14

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I just graduated with a B.A. from Dartmouth College after studying anthropology, with a focus on biological anthropology. 

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

I only took one art history class in college and this was partially because Nisbet ruined me for other art historians. The professors simply couldn’t compare — even at Dartmouth! Because of this, there was little direct transfer from AP Art History to my classes. However, art history definitely had an impact on my college experience. In this class I refined my observation and analysis skills and learned how to take effective notes around media forms I had not previously encountered in an educational environment. 

Most importantly, though, art history with Mr. Nisbet taught me the importance of clicking with my educators. I didn’t want to take art history classes with many of the professors at Dartmouth because they did not inspire me like Mr. Nisbet inspired me. Instead, I sought completely different courses — Primate Biomechanics; Social Psychology; Human Functional Anatomy; Zombies, Cyborgs, and Clones in Dystopian Fiction and Films; and the Evolution of Birth, Pregnancy, and Babies. What do these classes have in common? Simple — they were taught by professors who inspired passion with their every breath. Mr. Nisbet is the same way. In his class it became clear that the chances of me achieving success in the classroom greatly increased when I selected courses taught by engaging educators.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Claiming an absolute favorite artwork or artist is hard. But one work that has always stuck with me is The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, a Romantic etching by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. First of all — I love the title. Very poetic. Second, I like all the symbolism embedded in this etching and how haunting it is. Goya does a great job of capturing the image of a plagued artist or writer. Moreover, I find the piece’s message regarding the necessity of combining reason and fantasy to be interesting, especially as this artwork was made partially in response to the Enlightenment’s emphasis on rationality above all else. In essence, I find The Sleep to be compelling both aesthetically and for its meaning. 

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

DO IT! Art History with Mr. Nisbet was one of my favorite classes in high school. Nisbet is friendly, intelligent, and engaging. His passion for art will infect you as well!

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Omar Khan

GHS Class of ’18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

My name is Omar Khan and I am currently a Sophomore at Texas Christian University. I am majoring in Business Information Systems, and I’m in the Honors program.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

For any of you who are thinking about taking Art History with Mr. Nisbet, but you are hesitant to do so, please know that this class will likely be one of the best decisions that you have ever made in high school. In regard to the benefits I gained toward my college experience, I had an opportunity to submit a research paper which had forced me to engage in critical thinking and analysis. In addition, my writing skills improved, and I had an excellent experience to gain confidence in public speaking.

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite artist is probably Caravaggio because I was always drawn to his technique of creating heavy contrasts between light and dark, and using a single source of light with a dark background to increase the dramatization and theatricality of his works. 

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

I too was concerned about taking Art History because frankly, I did not know anything about this subject area. In addition, it was not something I was interested in at all. I felt intimidated at first, but Mr. Nisbet turned my fear into profound curiosity. I learned so much about culture, and the world that I live in. In fact, I learned more about my own heritage and culture which in turn instilled me with a sense of pride. When I traveled to different countries, I felt inspired to visit the art museums and see the masterpieces that I had learned about in class.

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Asra Khan, mother of Omar

It was during our trip to Spain in the Summer of 2016 when I distinctly remember feeling overwhelmed with pride and joy as Omar stated, “Mom, please let’s go visit the Museo Nacional del Prado.  I would love to see some of the masterpieces by Velázquez and Goya.” That Summer, I witnessed my adolescent son emerging into a socially, emotionally, and culturally mature young man as he explained the historical and cultural nuances involved in the artistic masterpieces.  Mr. Nisbet has an incredible gift of engaging his students, as well as their parents, into learning about and loving art and history.  From taking art history from Mr. Nisbet, Omar has transferred a love and appreciation of art to our family.  We enjoy visiting the fantastic museums around the world and are better able to appreciate various cultures and ancient traditions. 

 

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Megan Piel

GHS Class of ‘17

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I’m currently a senior at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. I’m double majoring in Sociology and History, and I’m planning to graduate in December 2020.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Well first off, the most obvious answer, studying art history in high school was extremely helpful for the art history classes I have taken at Southwestern. Although I’m not majoring in art history, your class really helped me in the history classes that I’ve been taking for my major. Art is a useful category of analysis for any history project, regardless of the subject. My research is focused primarily on Tudor England, and I frequently use art historical analysis on Tudor iconography and Holbein’s paintings from the era. Taking art history in high school also taught me how to write at a college level which really comes in handy, especially considering that I’m currently working on a 30-page research paper. Taking art history at GHS also encouraged me to explore subjects that I hadn’t previously considered studying. I absolutely loved the class, and I now actively try to take classes outside of my comfort zone. If a student is planning on pursuing a liberal arts degree, this class will definitely be a huge help in helping them prepare for college!

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

My favorite art piece would have to be the surrealist artist Meret Oppenheim’s Object, the fur-covered tea cup. I think that it’s very unique and Oppenheim’s incorporation of elements of psychoanalysis into the work is quite fascinating. Also, Oppenheim’s retaliation against gender standards and her personal struggle to succeed in the male dominated surrealist movement is a really interesting topic of study.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

My advice to students who are hesitant to take art history would be to take the class, even if you’ve never taken a class like it before. Art history was my favorite class that I took at GHS, and it really showed me how enjoyable learning could actually be. I was always excited to come to class, and Coach Nisbet is so passionate about the subject that even if you have no interest in art prior to taking the class, you’ll love it by the end. For students that are interested in taking AP Art History, I would also add that the AP Art History Exam was one of the few AP exams that I felt completely and totally prepared for.

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Halle Tielkemeier

GHS class of ‘17

Hi! My name is Halle Tielkemeier and I was a student of Mr. Nisbet in the 2015-2016 school year. I just graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in Health and Society with a minor in Sociology. Art History was hands down my favorite class in high school and was very influential on my college career. This class taught me how to prioritize my time properly so that I could get my reading done each night and how to prepare well for a test. This class also opened my mind creatively by teaching me to look beyond the physical appearance of art into the deeper meaning of each piece. I see the fruits of this lesson in my daily life when I read into the meaning of a song, a book or movie. The biggest lesson of all that I learned in this class was not second guessing myself (which I learned by Nisbet writing TRUST YOUR GUT on test questions where I had changed my answer from the right one to the wrong one). To this day, whenever I start to doubt myself, I remember those words. My favorite art piece is The Icebergs by Frederic Edwin Church. In my many trips to the DMA since Art History, this piece has always caught my eye. I get lost in looking at this piece each time I go, something about it is peaceful yet daunting to me all at the same time. This piece to me shows how powerful art can be by influencing my emotions. My advice for someone thinking about taking this class is to 100% DO IT!!! This class without a doubt changed how I think and opened my mind to creativity I did not know I had. Mr. Nisbet has a passion for this subject that is absolutely unmatched and inspires me. If I could go back and take this class one hundred times over I would in a heartbeat. Even though it can be challenging at times, it is so worth it. Through this Art History class, I had the privilege of becoming a part of the Young Master’s Program with the Dallas Museum of Art and had my essay hung in the DMA and got to do an interview with KERA which is something that I am still proud of to this day. Without Mr. Nisbet encouraging me to do this, I would not have had this amazing opportunity. I could never thank him enough for how he inspires and influences me to this day.

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Sanika Bhave

GHS Class of ‘18

  1. Where are you attending school and what is your area of study? (*Provide multiple schools with multiple degrees if applicable).

I attend the University of Texas at Austin and will be graduating with degrees in Business Honors and Management Information Systems from the McCombs School of Business, Plan II Honors from the College of Liberal Arts, and a minor in Art History from the College of Fine Arts.

  1. Please specify how studying art and/or art history in high school prepared you to be successful in college.

Taking art history was hands down the best decision I made in high school. Beyond finding a mentor in you, I, for the first time, was able to find a framework with which to look at life that was more inclusive, humanistic, and intellectually stimulating than what I’d found in my upbringing or traditional studies. I was able to read, debate, and learn about cultures, time periods, philosophy, people, and even political theories that I know I would not have had access to or would have known even existed otherwise. Art history lifted a veil of ignorance that I’d been wearing for so long. I feel the effects of this long after having taken my first art history class almost five years ago. I am encouraged to ask “why?” about everything that I learn about. If I’m in an accounting class I wonder about the history behind the practice, the cultural and societal significance of being an accountant at the time (I’m constantly reminded of the Medici bankers!), and how what I’m studying in my business classes intersects with my philosophy and art history classes. Being intellectually curious is a skill that I developed in high school and has lent tremendously to my personal growth, but also to my taking advantage of and making the most of my studies at UT. I can be a better student and a better professional if I am constantly questioning what I’m being told and what I know!

  1. What is your favorite artwork and/or who is your favorite artist, and why?

Now, I may be partial, but Robert Rauschenberg Skyway is a pretty amazing piece. I think it’s an incredible time capsule of the 1960s that represents an era of change, tragedy, and hope. Funnily enough, I’m in a class about Rembrandt, Rubens, and Northern Baroque Art this semester. Today in class we looked at Rauschenberg’s appropriation of one of Rubens’ pieces in his work Persimmon. I did a double take because I thought it was the appropriation of Rubens’ Venus at her Toilet that’s featured so prominently in Skyway. All bias aside, however, I think my favorite piece that we studied was Shibboleth by Doris Salcedo. It makes such a powerful statement in such a simple way. I love the introspection that the piece invokes and its ability to be applied to a variety of political and societal issues.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have for current high school students who are hesitant to take art/art history with Mr. Nisbet.

Don’t think you won’t be “good at art history” or that you’re not a very “artsy” person. That’s a lie. You just have room to learn. I never thought that I would enjoy art history, let alone end up wanting to study it in college. I thought it was pointless to study and detracting from time I could’ve spent on other classes or activities that I was “better suited for.” Art history is a subject you can learn and learn quite well. If you go in with the mindset that you won’t do well then that’s not on the subject, that’s on you. Stretch your mind! Budge on your preconceptions! You’ll be surprised at how many things you’ll be decent, if not good at, if you just try. Either way, I promise you’ll enjoy it and learn so so much.

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