Gateways to Art | Discussion with Kathryn Shields

“The tangible product is rewarding”, stated Kathryn Shields as she presented her textbook Gateways to Art to a group of faculty, students and various other guests. A professor at Guilford, Kathryn collaborated with two other individuals, Debra J. DeWitte and Ralph M. Larmann to create a textbook for Visual Arts courses. The discussion and presentation created by Kathryn truly exemplified her excitement and her passion for all things art history. Standing in front of a classroom and expounding her enthusiasm for the subject matter, Kathryn is not able to see the immediate outcome of what she is doing. However, with Gateways to Art, the concrete outcomes are seen more visibly and the ability for students to teach themselves through diagrams, themes and various other tools are more apparent.


Accepted into 99 schools so far and being the second book on the market, this textbook focuses on typical art lessons such as color, history, geographic regions but most importantly it utilizes diagrams to explain the structure that goes into an art piece. In the book, there are key images that are listed which are broad and can be related to several sections in art history. This was the most interesting aspect for me in the textbook and the overall presentation. Pieces like, Pyramids of Giza, Migrant Mother and the The Great Wave off Kanagawa are all works that are included in the text book. These images are talked about in different topics, they are coursed through each section for the student to fully grasp and understand. I think this is such a great tool in Gateways to Art and what truly makes the book stand out from various other typical text books. Art should be discussed in many different forms and introduced in ways of medium as well as theory.


As a student of Kathryn’s’, I am excited to hear about the success of her book and how well it is received by students and teachers. Her impact on me at Guilford and in art history has made me recognize what my passion truly is. This book is a representation of all of methods that she hopes to teach for her students and exemplifies her ability to cover all the bases of art history.

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