University of South Florida

College of The Arts

University of South Florida

2016 Research in Arts Scholars Debut Their Creative Research

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ten 2016 Research in Arts Scholarship (RIAS) recipients have concluded their research projects with an opening reception at the USF Tampa Library. These prestigious scholars were selected to participate in the School of Art and Art History's Summer Art Program in Paris, and complete a subsequent research project.

The Research in Arts Scholarship, which provides financial support and professional training to recipients, is sponsored by the Office for Undergraduate Research. The program aims to foster student passion for inquiry and discovery in the arts through research, an activity typically misunderstood as being restricted to the sciences. Through RIAS, scholars work closely with mentors and Office of Undergraduate Research staff.

"What we are trying to do here is really elevate the discipline and get it so that everybody can see the power of creative activities and of creative research," said Dr. Richard Pollenz, director of the Office for Undergraduate Research.

For many of the scholars, visiting Paris as a RIAS scholar is their first time being abroad. Scholars create research proposals prior to the trip, however, many alter the direction of their research once abroad as they become equipped with new experiences and ideas.

The Research in Arts Scholarship has provided the scholars with an invaluable opportunity for both professional and personal growth. See below to learn more about the 2016 RIAS scholars.

The 2016 Research in Art Scholars

Laura Amador

Laura Amador is an international student from Barranquilla, Colombia who is pursuing a second bachelor's degree, this time in studio art with a concentration in painting. She holds a bachelor's degree in international business with a concentration in marketing and a minor in economics. Her mentor was Professor Joo Yeon Woo.

"Paris was such a great experience for me," said Amador as she addressed those at the RIAS Reception. "I did not just meet great friends, but I also had the opportunity to work with Lisa and Dr. P and Professor Woo, thank you so much for helping me."

Amador's research project, "Adconoclasm," examines the defacement of advertising in Paris as an art movement and a form of modern iconoclasm. Through this research project, she thinks interdisciplinary by merging art with her knowledge of business and marketing. In "Adconoclasm," Amador brings attention to consumerism and identity through the recreation of the defaced ads of Paris.

Jessica Brasseur

Jessica Brasseur is a studio art major studying with a concentration in drawing. Her mentor was Professor Ezra Johnson.
Brasseur's project, "Synthesis through Destruction," compares the Cubist movement to the Beat movement through the lens of collage. Brasseur notes the shared elements of confusion, creativity, and solution that the movements embraced as their respective societies dealt with war and cultural shifts.

Being a Research in Arts Scholar in Paris has encouraged Brasseur to continue to reach for new opportunities.

"This whole program opened so many doors that I didn't even know existed," said Brasseur.

She is submitting her paper to the European Beat Studies Network conference held in Paris in 2017.

Kristen Clayton

Kristen Clayton is an art history major whose research project is entitled "The Art of Natural Culture and Identity." Her mentors were Professor Patrice Boyer and Professor Allison Moore.

After experiencing Tanabe Shouchiku III's woven bamboo installation at the Guimet Museum, Clayton felt less displaced in Paris, and she gained solace and a unified personal identity. This experience shaped her research project. In it, she asks, "In what ways can a work of art embody issues of identity, nature, and culture through the lens of Japanese aesthetic philosophy?"

For Clayton, the Research in Arts Scholarship is a great opportunity for her to merge her interests of art and environmental science. Now, she looks ahead to her future and foresees that RIAS will continue to influence her life.

"I am applying for graduate school for art administration and leadership," said Clayton. "And hopefully, I'll eventually be able to incorporate this project and work with art, and how art changes your perspective on natural resources."

Taylor Crosland

Taylor Crosland is a studio art major who specializes in printmaking. Crosland is also pursuing a minor in business administration. Crosland serves as art director of the student-run exhibition space the Centre Gallery and production assistant to Professor Bradlee Shanks. He also studies etching at USF's Graphicstudio.

Taylor mentored with Professor Ezra Johnson and Lou Marcus, founder of the Paris Summer Program. Crosland combines his interest in photography with a passion for printmaking in his research project, which is titled "Fluctuat Nec Mergitur," or "Tossed but not Sunk." He uses photogravure printmaking to revitalize the physicality of printed photographs. Through this, Crosland reinforces the ontological nature that photographs appear to be losing.

Crosland sincerely appreciates the professional development and research experience that the Research in Arts Scholarship allows. He has found the research experience to be extremely accommodating, and he uses the opportunity to reinforce his ties with Graphicstudio.

"We've got the best of the best right here in our backyard," said Crosland. "To take advantage of that is something I am very adamant about."

Taylor Emmons

Taylor Emmons is pursuing a degree in art history and a minor in humanities. She focuses on Islamic art and architecture. Her past studies have centered specifically on the art and culture of the Mughal Empire. Her RIAS mentor was Professor Esra Akin-Kivanc.

"I feel so honored to have been chosen for this scholarship among these incredible, brilliant individuals," said Emmons at the 2016 RIAS opening reception.

Emmons' research project, "Unavoidable Connections," connects the writings and theories of Marshall McLuhan with the art of photographer Anne A-R. Her inspiration for her project draws from the A-R exhibition "I AM with them" and McLuhan's essay "The Medium is the Message." Emmons examines how A-R uses modern technologies to reach viewers in a technology-rich world.

Kaitlin Harrington

Art history major Kaitlin Harrington used her trip in Paris to study the mutable image of Marie Antoinette in her project, which is aptly named "Mutable Marie." Specifically, Harrington studies the juxtaposition between the monarch's popularity in gift shops and her apparent scarcity in museums. Her mentor was Professor Pamela Merrill Brekka.

Throughout her time in Europe, Harrington gained insight into herself and her relationship with art as she navigated unfamiliar places and explored her abilities as a creator.

"I learned a lot more about myself as a person – I can make it through a lot," said Harrington. "I learned a lot about myself as a scholar as well. That I can do this, even though I am an art history major. It's OK to make art as well."

Her favorite part of Paris was spending time in the French commune Auvers-sur-Oise, the place where Vincent van Gogh spent his final days.

Elizabeth Keel

Specializing in painting, Elizabeth Keel is a studio art major who entered the world of art through a drawing and psychology class she took while studying for a career in education.

Keel tailors her art to relate to social issues such as women's rights, the stigma of mental illness, and poverty. Her passion for using art as a medium for social change stems from her experiences as a substitute teacher, her desire for advocacy, and her experiences observing homelessness in London. Her research mentor was Professor Patrice Boyer.

Keel's research project, "The Therapeutic Process of Creativity for Social Justice Art," centers on how one artist uses the creative process to translate lived experience into social justice art.

The Research in Arts Scholarship has encouraged Keel's renewed confidence and perspective in her practice.

"Collaboration with my peers during the research process has been monumental in my growth as an artist and an individual," writes Keel in the 2016 RIAS Reception publication. "Studying in Paris gives me a new perspective on life and my role as a social commentator in the global community."

Tina Piracci

Tina Piracci is a studio art major specializing in sculpture and extended media alongside a minor in entrepreneurship and certificates in engineering and digital fabrication, and visualization design. She also serves as Art Director of the Centre Gallery and President of the College of The Arts Council. Her interests in science and interdisciplinary collaborations are evident in her practice, which has featured 3-D printed sculptures. Piracci's research mentor was Professor Ezra Johnson.

With her research project, "The Beauty Rubric," she returned to the simplicity of working with clay in order to make an Ionic column that draws inspiration from Vitruvius' calculated and defined approach to beauty. As her column melts before the viewer's gaze, Piracci conveys respect for Vitruvius' approach while simultaneously challenging his strict classification of beauty.

Piracci reinforced the idea of creativity as research – a key point of discussion throughout the reception.

"When you realize that art is research and you are making a difference," said Piracci, "then you find your place, and you do what you want to do."

Erika Schnur-Carter

Erika Schnur-Carter is a studio art major whose practice focuses on photography. Her research mentor was Professor Wallace Wilson, director of the School of Art and Art History.

Schnur-Carter's research project, "Transcendence," investigates the effects of visual and cultural change and, specifically, how displacement affects artistic perception. In Paris, the city from which photography originates, her process involved shooting video of herself in the city as well as shooting medium format film photographs in the locations she found most moving.

The Research in Arts Scholarship has given her the chance to have a greater understanding of herself and of art history.

"The way I related myself to the creative process that I go through and the way that I begin to analyze art and see my relation to that art that is being made has really deepened a lot more," said Schnur-Carter. "My connection with art history, also, has grown a lot through this process."

Jennifer Kilburn

Jennifer Kilburn returns to RIAS as both a scholar and peer mentor. Kilburn was a RIAS Scholar in 2015, and this year, she spent her time providing support and guidance to the other scholars. Additionally, she helped the scholars to develop research posters while formulating a new project of her own. Her research mentor was Professor Ezra Johnson.

"Being among other researchers is a great feeling," writes Kilburn in the 2016 RIAS Reception publication. "There's so much passion and inspiration in such a diverse selection of topics in this group."

With experience working in graphic design and screen printing, Kilburn unites the disciplines of design and fine art for her second RIAS project, "Putting Digital Color Practice to Use in Fine Arts Education." As a designer, she is accustomed to matching colors with specialized equipment to aid in the screen printing process. In her project, she applies color matching to the world of fine art, hand-selecting colors from famous artworks in order to form swatches for digital artists to use.


The College of The Arts congratulates these fine recipients of the 2016 Research in Arts Scholarship.

Visit the Office of Undergraduate Research website to learn more about the 2016 RIAS scholars, or visit the USF Tampa Library (LIB 210) to view the research and artwork of the 2016 scholars. Their projects are on display now and will remain on view in the library until November 2017.

 Observing art at RIAS

Visitors get up close and personal with the artwork of Elizabeth Keel at the 2016 Research in Arts Scholarship opening reception.

 RIAS opening entrance

The Research in Arts Scholarship opening reception in the USF Tampa Library kicked off the exhibition of works by the 2016 RIAS scholars. Their creative research projects will remain on display in the library for an entire year.