Department of Art and Art History Undergraduate Students

New York, Tuscany, Zurich: undergraduate students travel across the globe this summer

Mon. August 31, 2015

Chelsea Chang, undergraduate in Art Education

woman in yellow shirt posing for photo
Image courtesy of Chelsea Chang.

How did you find your summer internship? What kind of experience were you seeking?
I knew about Southern Methodist University's Summer Youth Program because I had taken one of their classes in middle school. I've been learning about theoretical classroom management and teaching strategies, so I sought experience in those areas.

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
Children just say the most precious things. One week, my coworker and I had the children introduce their partners to the class as an icebreaker. One of the questions was "what is your favorite color?". One boy couldn't decide and ended up saying "All colors are equal, just like people!"

How will this internship impact your future goals?
My future goal is to become a high school art teacher that specializes in the combination of art and technology. SMU offered many classes that involved this subject so I got experience on how to teach video game creation, stop motion animation, digital comic book creation, etc. I worked with about eight teachers, so I also got to see the effect of many teaching/classroom management strategies and build up my own way of doing things.

Anyssa Flores, undergraduate in Art Education

children sitting in chairs facing Guggenheim Museum
Image courtesy of Anyssa Flores.

What kind of work you did this summer at the Guggenheim Museum?
I was a Family Programs intern in the Education Department of the Guggenheim. During my internship I would facilitate activities at exhibition openings, events and museum hours. I also helped the educators lead summer camps and tours, did research on various artists and helped create activities based on the artwork on view. Additionally, the Guggenheim had a Museum Culture Seminar Program where I got to visit other arts institutions and learn about their history, exhibitions and programming.

Did you accomplish or complete any work you found particularly interesting or are especially proud of?
Besides doing research and creating activities I was proud of, I really enjoyed getting to educate people and doing activities right in front of the artwork in the museum. Because of the complex subject matter, I think that contemporary art can be one of the most interesting and difficult subjects to educate people on, especially younger audiences. Learning how to lead those discussions and understand how people experience artwork was really beneficial to both my practice as an educator and an artist.

While in NYC, did you take some time for fun or sightseeing?
I did so much sightseeing on my days off and ate all kinds of great food — it was like being a three-month-long tourist! The subway system is so convenient, and you could get anywhere in NYC in a short amount of time. I would spend the day seeing art at the museums or Chelsea galleries and then end up in Chinatown for dinner, or I would take a short trip to Coney Island for the beach or a baseball game. On days I had nature withdrawals, I could hang out in Central or Prospect Park. Even walking around the city was always a fun adventure in itself.

Read more via the College of Fine Arts

Erica Halpern, undergraduate in Design

women standing with arms spead in front of Google wall

Image courtesy of Erica Halpern.

You traveled to Zurich for your second summer internship with Google. What kinds of projects did you work on as part of the internship?
I worked on Inbox, Gmail's new email client, specifically on the smart grouping of emails team that is responsible for bundles like trips and promos. As an Associate Product Manager Intern, I worked with the engineering and user experience teams to design and build a new feature. My exact project has to remain a secret until it launches though! 

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
Some interns and I rented a car to visit the Swiss alps and there was a traffic light to regulate the amount of cars that entered the tunnel. This created a giant traffic jam and left all the cars at a standstill. Since everyone was stuck, we all got out of cars ate cheese and baguette in the middle of a highway with a bunch of strangers for about 30 minutes!

How did the internship impact your future goals?
I'm double majoring in Design and Computer Science and in the classroom these fields often don't directly intersect. This internship has been a great way to see how both my interests can come together to create something exciting! My experiences this summer have helped me to figure out what career I would like to pursue. Working on a large product with many people in different roles and teams has taught me many valuable skills that I will use in the future.

Kayla Jones, undergraduate in Studio Art

black and white photo of white blanket in landscaping
Image courtesy of Kayla Jones

This summer you completed a residency at Oxbow and Co-Lab Projects' SUMMERSCOOL program. What did you hope to gain from these experiences?
I hoped to achieve, overall, similar things from both of these opportunities — to find a way to stay engaged with my practice and in conversation about art through the summer break. At OxBow I most looked forward to participating in OxBow’s immersive artist community, through conversations with everyone there: peers, professors and visiting artists. From SUMMERSCOOL, I was extremely excited to experience what it takes to produce a professional show, from start to finish. I definitely feel that through both of these programs I’ve gained experience that you can’t learn in a classroom, and I feel a little more prepared to enter the real world after graduation.

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
This is so difficult to answer; it’s hard to convey how memorable every single minute at OxBow ends up being. I would say that my most exciting experience was the studio visits I got to have with professors and visiting artists at OxBow. It was extremely helpful and eye-opening to hear from artists whose work I’d studied before, and also inspiring to hear them talk about their own passions and beliefs and where they intersected with my work. Having those meetings made me even more excited to come back and experiment in the studio with what I’d learned.

How did Oxbow and SUMMERSCOOL impact your future goals?
Both of these programs exposed me to a wide range of professions that someone with an arts background can pursue while maintaining an art practice. I feel more confident and optimistic about finding a path for myself that I enjoy that also supports my art after I graduate (but ask me again in May).

Nick Purgett, undergraduate in Art History

man standing in front of building posing for photo

Image courtesy of Nick Purgett.

Why did you decide to attend Learning Tuscany?
Ever since I took art history in high school, I wanted to find some way to get out of the classroom and experience all that I had learned about firsthand. I especially enjoy Renaissance art so Italy always seemed like an obvious choice. So when I found out about Learning Tuscany it felt like a no-brainer. After all, who wouldn't want to spend six weeks in Tuscany learning about a fascinating subject?

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
The best part of the program was interacting with all the non-major people who had no conception of what art history was and seeing them take interest in the subject. It can be hard to see why art history is so cool when learning off of slides every day. However, when you're standing in the Roman Forum or Loggia dei Lanzi, you understand why these fantastic places are so important and rightfully deserving of study. It sounds quite cliché but it was inspiring to connect with people through art history

How did Learning Tuscany impact your future goals?
It really reaffirmed that I want to be doing art history for the rest of my life. Showing people why art is so fascinating, in some way or another, seems the most fulfilling future I could have.

Undergraduate Design Student Zach Beasley wins YouCanNow Award

Thu. July 30, 2015

person wearing texas longhorn shirt poses for photo in front of limestone wall

Undergraduate Design student Zachary Beasley received a 2014–2015 YouCanNow (YCN) Student Award. The YCN Student Awards recognizes "emerging creative excellence." Beasley's project was assigned in a course taught by Associate Professor of Design Kate Catterall. His project proposal responded to a creative brief that aimed to "get people visiting and talking about”.

Beasley described his process:

I started with a research phase in which I learned more about The Guardian newspaper, its US-based competitors, and the "young (under 40), progressive, multi-screen, highly social" audience that they wanted to attract. I examined different papers' tone of voice, choice of subject matter, and branding.

Then armed with a greater understanding of the brand and what they needed, I set about establishing criteria to guide my campaign proposal.

The creative brief explicitly stated that they envisioned the campaign as "a guerilla marketing campaign, one that can be executed for minimal budget, in several cities, and generates conversation."

My understanding of the brand and the brief, however, led me to the conclusion that "guerilla" was not exactly what they needed. Instead of focusing on the getting readers to visit, I decided to focus on increasing reader retention with my proposal rather than increasing traffic with a guerilla campaign. The campaign I developed is a plan to build relationships with young potential readers on a new channel (snapchat), direct them to content on, and then increase brand recognition and return readership with interaction branding on the website.

Beasley is designer, entrepreneur and student at The University of Texas at Austin. He focuses on design as a worldview and way of thinking rather than a profession; he is interested in the connections between design and other disciplines, particularly business. Much of his design process is framed as problem solving, and his work traverses and combines experience, visual, and product design disciplines.

Connect with Beasley on LinkedIn

Visit the YCN Award site to view the awards, winners and creative briefs.

Rising sophomores look back on their first year at UT Austin

Wed. May 20, 2015

print of octagonal 3D forms in beige fog
Guneez Ibrahim, Baucis, 2015, digital print.

"My favorite thing about UT Austin thus far is the size of the Department of Art and Art History. By the end of the year, all the freshmen faces become recognizable, and it begins to feel like a small Twin Peaks-esque town."

Guneez Ibrahim (BFA candidate in Design)

people sit for photo beside sawdust design on street
Alfombra built by students and faculty during Holy Week in Guatemala

"My favorite experience from this year has definitely been going on the Holy Week trip to Antigua, Guatemala. On our second day there, we were on a walking tour of the town, and we walked past a shop playing Livin' On A Prayer by Bon Jovi.

I said, "Bon Jovi?"

Jason Urban turned around and said, "That's basically our life this week."

So, even though his comment didn't make perfect sense to everyone that heard him, one of the themes of our week became livin' on a prayer for sure."

— Kendall Bradley (BFA candidate in Studio Art)

student in blue button up posing for camera with sketchpad
Abbie Weller inside the BOT Greenhouse

"My favorite experience during my first year at UT Austin was visiting the BOT Greenhouse with my drawing foundations class to sketch. The light was really beautiful in the early spring, and it was nice to discover a new part of campus."

Abbie Weller (BA candidate in Art History)

photography of orrange and green shapes
Seth Murchinson, Knossos, 2015, photography.

“One of the best things about coming to UT Austin is being able to interact with people in all disciplines. It really helps you to approach your own studies from a unique perspective.”

— Seth Murchison (BFA candidate in Studio Art)

woman with asymmetrical hairstyle posing for photograph
Image courtesy of Madalin Beavers.

"Probably my weirdest, yet funniest, experience during my first year was when I was walking back to my dorm late at night and came upon two guys trying to film a skate video in a street intersection. The guy being filmed was very slowly going across the intersection while the other guy was clumsily skating in front of him and filming. Both of them were wearing sunglasses, khaki shorts, weird hats, dress shirts, and ties — and looked barely conscious."

Madalin Beavers (BFA candidate in Visual Art Studies)

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