Free Visual Language Workshops Help Participants Decode Images and Their Sometimes Hidden Meanings

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Images may hold underlying messages – if you just know how to read them.

The Toledo Museum of Art will help viewers learn to decode such messages with a new series of free visual language classes that begin Saturday, Nov. 7. The Museum offered similar classes in June, July and August and has brought the series back after rave reviews from participants.

The “learning to look” classes help participants interpret visual clues or the language of the visual world. The workshops use objects from the Museum collection to engage with theories and methods for understanding imagery within art and in the world at large.

“We’ve had a great response to these classes from many area companies, TMA staff and volunteers,” said Mike Deetsch, Emma Leah Bippus director of education at the Museum. “This is a really thought-provoking, educational experience that’s part of our broader initiative to teach visual literacy.”

Visual literacy is the ability to read, comprehend and write visual language – or the ability to identify, read and understand images and their sometimes covert or culturally influenced meanings.

Form is the focus on Saturday, Nov. 7, as the series kicks off. The workshop will explore connections between form, function and a viewer’s emotional response to images. The second class in the series, on Saturday, Nov. 14, explores Symbols. Participants will learn how images become symbols that convey meaning and how memory and personal experience affect interpretation of images, their significance and meaning. On Saturday, Nov. 21, the Ideas workshop will investigate context and how history and culture affect the way viewers respond to images.

The Museum will present two opportunities to wrap up the series with a class on Meaning: Saturday, Dec. 5, and Saturday, Dec. 12. This workshop will investigate the relationships among the visual languages of form, symbols and ideas. To get the most from this workshop, participants should attend the previous workshops.

Each class is from noon to 2 p.m. Space is limited; advanced registration is required. Register for the free classes at toledomuseum.org/learn/classes.


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