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Terry Barrett

Terry Barrett

Terry Barrett

Professor Emeritus


Areas of Expertise

  • Teaching Art Criticism
  • Teaching Photography Criticism and Theory
  • Teaching Philosophies of Art
  • Museum Education
  • Teaching Art Writing


  • Ph.D., Art Education, The Ohio State University, 1983
  • M.A., Art Education, The Ohio State University, 1974
  • A.B., Art and Philosophy, Webster University, 1967

The Terry Barrett Museum Education & Administration Award

Terry Barrett, PhD (1945-2023) died peacefully at his home in Bradenton, Florida on October 29, 2023. Terry, a faculty in Arts Administration, Education & Policy (AAEP) at The Ohio State University for 40 years, was an artist, educator, scholar, student, but most importantly a friend and colleague to those in AAEP and beyond. Known for his calm, but frank demeanor, Terry found himself being a mentor to all, far and wide, formal and informal. 

Terry spent his time in the study of photography, art, art criticism and aesthetics. In his library of writings, Terry was interested in making the experience of art accessible so that all people could find their way into the artworld, regardless of background and expertise. 

Some of his most significant writings include: Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary (1999), Criticizing Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images (1999), Interpreting Art: Reflecting, Wondering, and Responding (2002), Why Is That Art?: Aesthetics and Criticism of Contemporary Art (2007), Making Art: Form and Meaning (2011), and Crits: A Student Manual (2018)In his bio, Terry wrote, “Art is about life and through artworks, reflections, discussions, and listening carefully to one another, I believe we can make a difference, that we can contribute to a better society especially during troubling times.” All of his research, writings, presentations, workshops, teaching and mentorship were demonstrative of this core belief.

Terry, as well as his wife, Susan Michael Barrett, were staunch advocates for the arts and art education, specifically art museum education. He did workshops for museum visitors and practitioners both nationally and internationally for decades. He was a leader in the discourse of art criticism and his work is used in museums globally. To honor the work of Terry Barrett, and his vast contribution to the world of art museum education, this award is designated for students who are in the Arts Administration, Education & Policy Museum Education and Administration Specialization. Donations to this award will fund endeavors for graduate students whose research is in museums and/or contemporary art.

To support Terry's legacy at Ohio State, please make a gift.

Dissertation: A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Photographs
Thesis: Toward Critical Discourse about Photographs