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NSU effort results in Florida rule on drawing cadavers

Change decided by state anatomical board

A request initiated by multiple colleges at NSU resulted in a new rule that allows art students at universities across Florida to draw cadavers.

Cadavers“It’s the best experience in learning to draw the human body,” said Professor Kandy Lopez-Moreno, M.F.A., of the Department of Performing and Visual Arts in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

The regulation of human cadavers used in medical education and research is handled by the Anatomical Board of the State of Florida. The board’s governing body is made up of representatives from several Florida medical schools, including NSU. Seeking permission to draw cadavers, Lopez-Moreno reached out to Associate Professor Paul Greenman, D.P.M., of the College of Medical Sciences. Greenman serves on the board as NSU’s representative.

Greenman said that rather than an outright prohibition, the board’s rules lacked explicit permission to allow art students to draw cadavers. Greenman put the issue on the agenda of one of the board’s meetings.

“I invoked the history of the masters," Greenman said. "We had a discussion, and there were lots of affirmative nods."

That history goes back to Renaissance artist Michelangelo, who among many other things was famous for his highly detailed and accurate drawings of human anatomy. The board then voted on and approved a rule allowing students to draw cadavers.

Students in Lopez-Moreno’s undergraduate ARTS 1250: Life Drawing class start out with sketching skeletons. By studying the cadavers, they can learn about musculature and how the muscles connect to the bones.

Cadavers Cadavers

“It’s really different looking at something in person,” Lopez-Moreno said. “It’s like seeing a painting in a gallery versus a book.”

Professor Shanti Bruce, Ph.D., Interim Chair of the Department of Performing and Visual Arts, said the new rule was important.

“This not only affected learning on our campus, but the whole state,” she said. “This collaboration of art and science coming together creates new learning opportunities for students.”

For more information about the undergraduate Art and Design major, click here.

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