Department of Art and Art History News

Notes from the Field: Art Education Graduate Emma Grimes at the National Art Education Association Conference

Mon. April 3, 2017

an older woman holding up a yellow card on a screen reading multicultura global
Veteran art educator Laura Chapman

The world’s largest art education convention, The National Art Education Association’s (NAEA) conference in March is host to 1,000 participatory workshops, panels, seminars for art educators in elementary through higher education. The NAEA works to provide expertise and tools to its many attendees to help them effect change on their local levels. For graduate students and UT Austin professors alike, it is an opportunity to share scholarship and network among peer researchers and educators in the field.

We asked one of our Art Education graduates, Emma Grimes, to give us some notes from the field. She returned with a list of themes, highlights and personal takeaways.

“Some of the recurring themes from NAEA included socially engaged curriculums, specific strategies for how to make a difference with art education, creating communities that foster advocacy, and the increasing need for quality research,” Grimes wrote.

On meeting your idols (or at least your authors)

We have done a substantial amount of reading this year and many of the authors of articles we’ve studied were present at the conference. It was a special experience to hear veterans of the field speak candidly about current topics and issues that art educators face today. As someone just entering into the field, it was inspiring to hear words of wisdom from educators, activists, and historians who have seen art education evolve over the past few decades.


On research presented by a peer 

In the session “Understanding Challenges: Teaching and Learning Social Justice Through Art” InJeong Yoon presented her doctoral dissertation research composed of case studies of undergraduate art courses that she had taught where topics of social justice were introduced into her curriculum. Her findings were particularly useful to me, as similar topics and concerns have emerged in the Art and Art History Core freshman class where I serve as a teaching assistant for this semester.


On changes within the field of art education

In the panel between Mary Ann Stankiewicz, Kerry Freedman, Laurie Hicks, Doug Blandy, Graeme Sullivan—all prominent figures in the world of art education and all people who have published articles read in our grad program—they discussed trends in art education research, what research is currently needed, and tactics for encouraging more quality research to be conducted. The question of the value of research in our field was brought up multiple times, and the panelists reiterated the need to garner more support for research if our field is to remain a professional one.
 

Karen Cervantes named Teacher of the Year at Zavala Elementary in Austin

Sun. April 2, 2017

image of a woman in a black scoop neck blouse partially turned from camera
 

Karen Cervantes (B.F.A. in Visual Art Studies, 2013) was named Teacher of the Year at Zavala Elementary in East Austin. Cervantes’ election to the award came after two rounds of voting among the Zavala Elementary staff.

“I focus on big ideas in my classroom: culture, tradition, identity and play,” Cervantes said. “Some of my most successful projects include a paper quilt inspired by Faith Ringgold and a ‘big idea’ of memory. We also worked on making heroic-identity self-portraits from paper cut-outs and photography influenced by Kehinde Wiley's painted portraits.”

Cervantes credits her incorporation of conceptual content into relatable art lessons to the academic work she completed at The University of Texas at Austin and the teaching of Visual Art Studies professors, Dr. Kara Hallmark, Dr. Christina Bain and Dr. Paul Bolin.  

A Reimagined Blanton Museum Enriched by Objects from The Art and Art History Collection

Thu. March 30, 2017

woven wide-rimmed hat from mesoamerica
Woven wide-rimmed hat (monster) [Art and Art History Collection], Pisac, Cusco, Peru, Andean; 1958, wool over straw frame, 14 in. diameter (Photo by Mark Menjivar)

The Blanton Museum of Art re-opened its doors on Feb 12, 2017 to a completely reimagined presentation of its galleries and permanent collection. In its new incarnation, the ancient American and Latin American galleries have been enriched by the addition of The Art and Art History Collection (AAHC) on loan from the Department of Art and Art History. Consisting of ancient artifacts, ethnographic materials and historical objects primarily from the Americas, the breadth and depth of the collection spans approximately 5,000 invaluable objects for research and studious exploration.

“Many people in Austin know that the Blanton was a pioneer in the field of Latin American art, but for the last decade, visitors have only had a glimpse of that interest, through temporary exhibitions and programs,” says Curator of Latin American Art Beverly Adams to the Austin American-Statesman. “The new installation of the permanent collection will be the first time in our current building that major movements and ideas in Latin American art have been represented.”

The Art and Art History Collection ranges from early Pre-Columbian ceramics to twentieth-century hand-crafted textiles, from small lithic bifacial points (ex. hand axes, spear points) to life-size wooden sculptures. Supplemented by cultural holdings from the Texas Memorial Museum and objects from Duncan and Elizabeth Boeckman of Dallas, Texas, the most substantial holdings of the collection pertain to the Pre-Columbian cultures across the Americas.

The process of integrating the long-term loan of the AAHC into the new Blanton galleries offered yet another opportunity for the department and the museum to intersect through the work of the Mesoamerica Center and art history undergraduate and graduate student assistants. “As someone interested in museum work and ancient American art, it was an amazing opportunity to assist with the installation,” writes art history master’s degree candidate Kendyll Gross. “I came to The University of Texas at Austin as Art History Lecturer and Assistant Director of the Mesoamerica Center Dr. Astrid Runggaldier and the Blanton were creating a plan of action, so I have been active with the project from the very start.”

“The first thing that awed me about the collection was its diversity and sheer size. There are over a thousand objects hailing from different regions and time periods of Latin America,” writes Gross. “I loved scanning through everything we could choose from. I would research items from the collection and compare them to similar objects in museums across the country. I would flip through the Metropolitan or LACMA’s online databases and think ‘Wow, we have something just like that here at UT!’

A vital resource for the student and scholarly community as well as the greater community of Austin, a selection of The Art and Art History Collection objects and textiles can be viewed in the new Blanton gallery devoted to the art of the Ancient Americas, and in the gallery of Native American art.
 

Professor John Clarke and Oplontis Project Win Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship

Mon. March 27, 2017

AAH logo with Texas in orange above text reading Art and Art History
 

The Loeb Classical Library Foundation at Harvard University has awarded a Loeb Classical Library Fellowship to Art History Professor John Clarke and the Oplontis Project. The Loeb Classical Library Foundation awards fellowships to qualified scholars to support research, publication and other projects in the area of classical studies. With the fellowship in 2017-2018, Oplontis Project will continue their work at the site of Oplontis in Torre Annunziata, Italy.


 

Jason Urban's The Formalist's Library exhibition opens at SNAP Gallery

Thu. March 23, 2017

open book with concentric black rectangles

From the 1940's zines devoted to H.P. Lovecraft to the Soviet underground press samizat, the recent work of Studio Art faculty member Jason Urban mines the rich landscape of print history. His prints, drawings, paintings and installations have been featured in numerous venues nationally and internationally, and, most recently, brought him to The University of Alberta. Urban was invited to lecture about his work and research in conjunction with the opening of The Formalist’s Library at The Society of Northern Alberta Print-artists (SNAP) Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta.

In The Formalist’s Library, Urban meditates on the structure of the traditional brick-and-mortar library as a vehicle for delivering information as we move from the physical to physible. The Formalist’s Library is an ongoing series exploring various aspects of library architecture and systems and the lifespan of printed media in both the micro (daily) and macro (centurial) sense.

The Formalist's Library is on view March 16, 2017 - April 22, 2017.