A native of Berks County, Pennsylvania, Art Historian Bonita Billman began her career in art with local volunteer projects. Soon, she chose to pursue higher education. “I decided to combine my interest in history and education, which led me to Indiana University of PA. In those days, it was an art major with a concentration in art history.” Bonita later went on to earn a Master’s degree at the George Washington University.
She explains her foundational approach to teaching art history. “I try to give students an overview since it may be their first experience with art history. They always get a handout from me that has a bibliography and a vocabulary that they can use in other classes.”
“Art historians come in different varieties. I specialize in iconography, but I will also offer in-depth explanations of formalism to students who prefer it, as is the case with many students who are artists themselves.”
Bonita was introduced to Oasis by her friend Susan. “If I was down (in D.C.) to give a Smithsonian lecture, Susan would be my guest…and she talked to Oasis about me. It was her knowledge about what I was already doing at the Smithsonian that led them to contact me.”
She encourages her Oasis students to be inquisitive and persistent in their learning experience. “Remember, there are no stupid questions if you want to understand something. I want to do the job right, so keep asking until you understand!”