Caroline Lowy '15: Reimagining Art History Education for the 21st Century

A core value at Milken is kehillah- the creation of a warm, joyful, and welcoming community. When seniors graduate and transition to the next chapter of their lives, building upon this tenet throughout their life journey has a deeply transformative capacity with boundless ripple effects throughout the Jewish world and beyond. 

For Caroline Lowy '15, Gallery Manager at Moskowitz Bayse in L.A. and aspiring art educator, the idea of creating a more open and inclusive community is often at the top of her mind when thinking about the world of art. Whether it is art history education, which is widely perceived as stale and robotic, or art dealing, which is hallmarked by elitism and exclusivity, Caroline is committed to reimagining a more relevant approach to these facets of art that she hopes will better resonate with her peers. 

Caroline has worked in the art industry for 5 years and believes deeply in the importance of engaging younger generations with art history education. It was during her time at Milken that she began to uncover this pathway towards her future passion and career. “I didn’t really know that I liked art history at the time,” she says. A student in Dr. Lichti’s AP Art History course, Caroline admits that while she hadn’t exactly adequately prepared for the AP test, she realized her natural ability in the subject after receiving a surprisingly high score. “Looking back, Dr. Lichti was a really great teacher and an incredible art historian,” she says. 

Planning to study Journalism at American University in Washington D.C., Caroline ultimately made her way back to art history after excelling in an elective course. “Everything got set in motion for me when I went abroad to Rome my junior year.” It was during her time in Italy that she became immersed in the world or art history and began studying the classics such as the works of Italian artist Caravaggio, which she now credits as central to “her life’s journey.” That summer, Caroline stayed in Europe to intern at the prestigious Timothy Taylor Gallery in London. Her first gallery position proved particularly significant in that she realized the impersonal and hyper-transactional nature she experienced at this gallery did not align with her philosophies. 

During her senior year, Caroline worked at the Touchstone gallery in D.C., where she immediately fell in love with the open, community-focused environment. It was there where she was able to create relationships with clients and art enthusiats, discovering her desire to teach others about the wonders of art. Knowing how intimidating it can be to enter a gallery, Caroline aspires to remove the barriers and stigmas associated with viewing and purchasing art in traditional gallery settings. “I want to create a space where people want to engage with art in a way that is relevant and easy to understand.” On a mission to broaden the reach of her teaching tools, Caroline has begun using digital resources as a means to connect younger generations to art history.

On her blog, a place to learn about Carivaggio and explore other works of classical art, Caroline encourages her readers to view art history not as a monotonous subject that is solely about memorizing dates and names, but rather as a way to understand history through an alternative lens. In addition, Caroline is active on social media where she posts art quizzes and polls to her instagram to educate her followers about various artists in an interactive and fun setting. Her ultimate goal is to give young people access to art and the experience of connecting with it though one's current bank of knowledge. “Art history is not about regurgitating information.” she says. “If you learn a more comprehensive lesson, you’ll be able to go to a museum and date every single painting off the top of your head because you know an overarching history.”

In addition to her professional endeavors in the art world, Caroline is an active member of Milken’s Alumni base and recently hosted an Alumni Shabbat during Shabbat Across Milken, where over 70 alumni joined together for a wonderful evening at the Lowy household. When she thinks back to her time at Milken, she says that “Milken gave me the tools to be a good student.” For her, that work ethic and focus has been the foundation of her career that she hopes will one day lead her back into the classroom as a professor of art history. She is thrilled to be pursuing her Masters abroad next year at Studio Arts College International (SACI) in Florence, moving one step closer to fulfilling her dream of becoming an educator. 

Whether sharing challah on Shabbat with Milken Alumni or virtually educating her followers about art history, including many of her former Milken classmates, Caroline is grateful to have stayed connected to the Milken community and will continue to do so on her path forward.

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