Department of Art and Art History Award or Honor

Broadsides by Design sophomore selected for UT Poetry Center CantoMundo Poetry Reading

Wed. April 1, 2015

poem formated next to drawing of fist holding red strings

Broadsides created by Design sophomores have been selected for UT Poetry Center's CantoMundo reading. Copies of the Broadsides will be available at the reading on April 23, 2015 at 6 pm at the PCL.

Design by Nora Greene receives honorable mention in Maine Animal Coalition competition

Wed. April 1, 2015

circle made of double helix in yellow on blue background
Image courtesy of Nora Greene

Work by Design sophomore Nora Greene received an honorable mention in a competition by Maine Animal Coalition. Greene describes her thinking:

The animal rights movement spans a multitude of issues and animals. From animal agriculture to animal testing and habitat destruction, I found it difficult to represent all aspects and animals of this movement. In order to represent equality in al
l of these areas I decided to try and represent them abstractly. To express equality I used the Human Rights Campaign flag colors to imply equality across species, and symbolized animals through the DNA helix, representing an equality for all life. I composed the double helix into a circle in order to represent longevity and unity for the animal rights movement.

Kimbell Foundation grant supports Art History pilot course, Seminars on Site, in Fall 2015

Thu. March 26, 2015

image of Rome at dusk with buildings and landscape blurring into darkness
Image courtesy of Penelope Davies

The Department of Art and Art History received a grant from the Kimbell Foundation that will enable the first course offering of Seminars on Site.

“To our knowledge, the proposed seminar would be unique among art history programs nationwide,” remarked Dr. Penelope Davies, assistant chair of Art History. “This seminar will enhance the reputation of the Department of Art and Art History and increase the department’s appeal for prospective students.”

The pilot seminar, entitled Architecture and Decoration in Pre-modern Rome: Patronage, Politics, and the Past, will be offered to graduate Art History students in the Fall semester in 2015. Taught by Dr. Penelope Davies and Dr. Joan Holladay, the seminar will travel to Rome.

Each iteration of the seminar will be co-taught by two members of the Art History faculty, drawn from different areas of specialization, and will address a theme that is pertinent to both areas of expertise. During the course of the semester, seminar participants will make two class trips: one to the Kimbell Art Museum to study its collections and view objects that are central to the themes highlighted in the course, and the other will last one week to ten days and will target a destination, usually abroad, that is pertinent to one of the areas covered in the class.

This seminar will create a formal structure that encourages exchange between students and faculty of diverse areas and builds bridges between them, precisely as disciplines are growing increasingly balkanized throughout academia. Students will learn from one another, from their faculty, and also from observing the interplay between the faculty members.

Dr. Julia Guernsey awarded President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award

Thu. February 26, 2015

woman with dark curly hair wearing black blouse poses for portrait

The College of Fine Arts and Department of Art and Art History proudly congratulates Dr. Julia Guernsey on receiving The University of Texas at Austin President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award. This award recognizes excellence in undergraduate education in the core curriculum.

Dr. Guernsey has served as associate chair for the department since 2012. In this role, Guernsey has been heavily involved in and spearheaded curriculum innovation and initiatives.

“Professor Guernsey is a model for her ability to create discipline-changing research as an art historian while engaging undergraduate and graduate students at the highest level,” said Department of Art and Art History Chair, Jack Risley. “What’s more, the department and university have benefited enormously from Dr. Guernsey’s curricular activism.”

Her efforts have included showcasing the work of department students in UT Austin’s annual Undergraduate Research Week and ensuring that over 40 department courses can be used by students from across campus to fulfill Core Curriculum requirements in the arts. Guernsey also implemented an array of new courses that satisfy UT Austin’s Core Curriculum requirement to give students the opportunity to pursue a variety of skills and experience “flag” courses both within and outside their majors.

In 2012, Guernsey organized the first group of Department of Art and Art History students to present work at the annual Longhorn Research Bazaar, which presents undergraduate projects during Research Week.

“We hoped to demonstrate that research could take a variety of forms,” said Guernsey, “from painting Italian landscapes and architecture viewed while studying abroad with the Learning Tuscany program, to articulating one’s progress as an art educator, to designing a vision for urban planning and transportation solutions in Austin.”

Due to Guernsey’s efforts, the department has expanded its events during Research Week outside of the Longhorn Bazaar. The annual Undergraduate Art History Research Symposium allows undergraduate art history majors to present their senior honors theses to a public audience. It also affords students to the opportunity for one-on-one mentorship with Art History faculty on their public speaking skills. During Research Week, freshmen Foundations students from all four divisions — Art History, Design, Studio Art, and Visual Art Studies — display work throughout the fourth floor, exhibiting the range of technique and strength of training they receive in their first year in the department.

Guernsey’s curricular innovations have centered on VAPA (the Visual and Performing Arts requirement in UT Austin’s Core Curriculum) and flag requirements, which are designed to provide students – both majors and non-majors – with access to courses that carry “flags” in Writing, Ethics and Leadership, Global Cultures, Independent Inquiry, and Cultural Diversity in the United States. Her work redefining courses, opening up more of the curriculum to non-majors, shepherding innovative degree changes in all four divisions, and navigating the proper channels of approval all demonstrate her foresight – and courage.

“We now have a more robust curriculum that serves both majors and non-majors,” described Guernsey. “This enables the Department of Art and Art History to play a more vital role in the education of undergraduates from all areas of campus.”

Her efforts in expanding courses in the College of Fine Arts (COFA) that carry the Ethics and Leadership flag resulted in a collaboration with colleagues from a number of colleges and departments around campus. Guernsey applied for and received funding from the School of Undergraduate Studies that supported a team of COFA faculty engaged in developing courses to carry this flag; their efforts were expanded when Guernsey learned that she had been awarded a Provost’s Curriculum Innovation Grant to facilitate this collaborative initiative, Ethics Unwrapped, with faculty from the McCombs School of Business, the School of Undergraduate Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts. This multidisciplinary team’s initiatives in developing courses that explore a broad range of issues concerning ethical engagement in the arts received additional external funding from the Teagle Foundation.

Most recently, Guernsey became chair of a COFA Writing Flag Task Force that aims to craft online modules to develop the writing and professional development skills necessary for pursuing professional practice in all areas of the arts. Eventually, she hopes these courses could be used not only by students in the Butler School of Music, the Department of Art and Art History, and the Department of Theater and Dance, but also by students beyond UT Austin, who will benefit from the opportunity to pair their studio and practice-based courses with writing exercises that will prepare them for a variety of careers in the arts.

Dr. Guernsey remarked, “It is my sincere belief and hope that these initiatives will have a very significant impact on the quality and effectiveness of undergraduate education in our college, university, and beyond.”

Professor Jeffrey Chipps Smith receives grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Wed. November 19, 2014

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Professor Jeffrey Chipps Smith received a research grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for April and May 2015. Dr. Smith will continue his research this summer in Munich at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte.

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