Dr. Rachel Smith
Professor of Art & Gilkison ChairOffice Location: Metcalf 113
Phone: (765) 998-4688
Specialties: Western Art, Art Culture and Theology, Contemporary Art, Asian Art, South African Art, The History of Christianity and Art, Interdisciplinary Arts, World Christianity, Public Art and Cultural Institutions, Architecture, Film
PhD, Art History, Indiana University, 1996
MA, Art History, Michigan State University, 1991
BA, Art History, Michigan State University, 1981
Why I came to Taylor:
To put it succinctly, because God clearly called me here. After I had been teaching for a few years in the School of Comparative Arts (now Integrative Arts) at Ohio University, my husband and I began to wonder whether we should move to a Christian college in order to help prepare Christian young people for their work in the world. At just that time, I received a phone call from an old friend from my graduate school days who was on the faculty at Taylor informing me of a new position in art history at Taylor that had just been announced and encouraging me to apply. I did and when we came for the interview, both my husband and I had a very clear sense of God calling us to this place despite the gloom of the March gray weather! I accepted the job and have had it confirmed over and over again that God called me here to do work that could not have been done so readily elsewhere. Taking the Honors freshmen to South Africa for a course on the Arts and Ideas of South Africa is but one example of the way that teaching and scholarship have converged through my work at Taylor.
Advice to incoming students:
Take ownership of your education and expand your “loves” during your college years (to borrow a phrase from a Taylor colleague). How much you get out of your education really does depend on what you put into it. It’s a time to be learn about things you wouldn’t necessarily choose if left to your own devices—you might not even know they exist! Not only will your life become measurably richer but you will enter into the mind and heart of God who made it possible through the gift of human creativity and agency.
- Reading and writing
- Music and film
- History and culture