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Mondays, October 2 – October 23, 6 – 8pm


Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Le Béal (detail), c. 1912. BF859. Public Domain.

$220; members $198
(4 classes)

About the Class

Flourishing is the ability to live life well—to have positive experiences, develop one’s potential, enjoy mutually supportive relationships, be a part of a healthy community, maintain a sense of meaning, and remain resilient in the face of life’s difficulties and dangers. One way we can cultivate flourishing is through engaging with visual art. Led by scholars from the Humanities and Human Flourishing Project at the University of Pennsylvania, this course explores how we can connect with art to enhance our emotional experiences, feel more engaged in our lives, develop more satisfying relationships, and deepen our sense of meaning.

The class is online-only. More about online classes.

Barnes classes will:

  • Increase your understanding of art-related concepts.
  • Increase the ways you think critically about art.
  • Improve your ability to communicate about art.
  • Deepen your appreciation for cultures and histories outside your own.


James O. Pawelski

Pawelski is professor of practice and director of education in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the founding director of the master of applied positive psychology program and of the Humanities and Human Flourishing Project, which has been designated a National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab.

Katherine N. Cotter

Cotter is associate director of research with the Humanities and Human Flourishing Project in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. In her research, she examines the ways in which we engage with the arts in our everyday lives and how this engagement can benefit our flourishing.

Recent Barnes Class Testimonials

“[The] professor was highly engaging, facilitated excellent discussions, and [was] very knowledgeable. I learned a lot about teaching art history from watching her.” Matisse and Picasso with Martha Lucy

“The instructor [was] very empathetic and knowledgeable [and] created moments of sharing across students who participated actively in discussion.” Art and Literature of the Harlem Renaissance with Michael Williamson

“I am not an artist and prior to this course I had not thought about what an artist might be 'thinking,' as opposed to 'feeling.' I loved this course and plan to immerse myself in color theory.” Visualizing Memory with Lucas Kelly

“The instructor was exceptionally well prepared and challenged us with profound questions. This was a graduate degree caliber course.” The Queer 1890s with Ty Vanover