Get to Know Phyllis Kozlowski


Dr. Phyllis Kozlowski

Want to learn about art? Then you need to get to know Dr. Phyllis Kozlowski. A lecturer with the School for New Learning since 1995, Dr. Kozlowski teaches courses such as Expressing Yourself Through Paint, Exploring the Art Museum (online), and Intro to American Art and Architecture (online). What’s it like taking one of her courses? We’ll let Phyllis explain.

We have a lot of fun in Expressing Yourself Through Paint. Everyone gets to try their hand at watercolors and acrylics. We are our own critics. Many students come into the course with lots of inhibitions, among them wanting to maintain their grade point average or wondering how this course can impact their career path.  I always tell the students that the value of this course will allow them to experience creativity and that its value may come later in life when they need a little relief from their stressful day jobs.  In fact, many students have contacted me after graduation and told me they were continuing to pursue painting as an avocation.

I also teach courses through the Distance Education Program. Exploring the Art Museum provides an opportunity for you to learn how to enjoy and benefit from a visit to the art museum.  Coupled with art history, the course explores a variety of topics including how a museum is organized, how to look at a work of art, censorship and funding of the arts. Using the wonderful websites of such museums as the National Gallery in Washington, the Uffizi in Florence, the Louvre in Paris and the Art Institute of Chicago and others, we explore the highlights of each of the museums.

The Introduction to American Art and Architecture course (which is also offered online) focuses on major events in the evolution of American art and architecture. In this course, we learn the symbolism behind that famous painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, known as ‘American Gothic,’ why we still have difficulty looking at Abstract Art and why Samuel F.D. Morse left painting to invent the Morse Code. It includes a chronological history of American art and much more. After taking this course, you will want to visit the American collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.

In addition to teaching, I’m also an avid promoter of Chicago’s architectural heritage.  In fact, I train tour guides for one of Chicago’s oldest tour boat companies, Wendella. I can’t tell you how many times I‘m giving a tour on the Chicago River and we go under a bridge and I hear ‘Hey, Dr. Kozlowski!’ I look up and sure enough it is a former DePaul student. One of my students, Jennifer Perry, was hired as a tour guide and is now a boat captain for the Chicago River Taxi. Last year, my book The Chicago River Architecture Tour was published by Lake Claremont Press.

Being a tour guide has given me an opportunity to share the city with lots of interesting people. Among them Mayor Daley and Vanna White, who was here last year filming the game show Wheel of Fortune. Perhaps most exciting and stressful is giving tours when senior members of some of the best known architecture firms are on board for a river tour. I have to do my homework for those tours. There is no room for mistakes or misinformation here.

Traveling is something I also enjoy and for years I have escorted groups abroad on art related tours to more than 40 countries. Nothing gets me more excited then to see a member of my tour group experiencing for the first time the Pyramids, the Parthenon or the Colosseum. I still maintain that travel is a wonderful way to learn. Perhaps one of the most memorable trips was when I was recently invited to speak on the adult learner and arts education at Oxford University. It gave me an opportunity to share with arts educators from all over the world how arts education can impact our lives. Included in my presentation were personal testimonies from many of my DePaul students.

Well, I think that’s about enough for now. Feel free to contact me at I’d love to hear from you.


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