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  • OUR Students, OUR Community, OUR Future.
  • Research in Arts Scholarship


    The Research in Arts Scholarship (RIAS) represents a creative partnership between the USF Office for Undergraduate Research (OUR) and the Department of Art and Art History, which aims to foster student passion for inquiry and discovery. Two essential elements comprise the RIAS Scholarship: financial support, and comprehensive training in research skills and professional development. Under the direction of faculty mentors and OUR Program Directors, RIAS Scholars who participate in the USF School of Art and Art History’s Summer Study Abroad Paris Program develop and produce research-based art projects from idea to installation.

    Award Details

    • Scholarship Award Amount: $1,500
    • Award is distributed during the fall semester

    Program Overview

    • RIAS is a two-semester initiative that involves a summer study abroad component followed by the completion of a research-based art project during the fall semester
    • The OUR awards approximately six scholarships each year
    • Student projects are displayed in an art exhibit within the OUR office suite for one academic year
    • Research-based art projects include the following work products: final work of art, supplementary research poster, research proposal, and the development of a research project web page on the OUR website




    RIAS Learning Objectives

    • Create a research-based art project
    • Compose a research proposal
    • Design a research project web page
    • Present research findings at the USF Undergraduate Research Conference
    • Participate in the logistics and installation of an art exhibit
    • Document the research process and practice the art of reflection in “artist journals”
    • Participate in a professional discussion panel and learn about creative careers


    While in Paris this summer scholarship recipients documented their research experiences and recorded the development of their research projects via Tumblr blogs.


    Research in Arts Scholars





    Alejandro Aguirre

    My name is Alejandro Aguirre, and I am currently a junior in USF pursuing my bachelors in Studio Art. After receiving my bachelors in studio art I plan on moving on to the architecture program in USF and get my Masters in architecture.
    I am highly inspired in the connection of religion with art. Therefore, I have focused more into art that was inspired by religion, and I have enjoyed appreciating these type of art. Paris and Rome  are two cities that maintain a numerous art collections and relics from the beginning of the Christian church (The Catholic Church in particular).  I  look forward to learn from  religions in other countries. The architecture from different temples and cathedral are extremely impressive in my perspective. The architecture work is probably what I admire and appreciate in art because it takes a lot of thinking and creativity to get such work done, but that is only my perspective.


    Avery Dyen

    My name is Avery Dyen and I am a second year Art History student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at USF. After graduation, I plan on applying the critical thinking and research skills learned in this program to law school and a career in law. Art History has taught me to go beyond simply viewing art and focus on the research needed to understand the artist’s relationship with the past and what vision they may have for the future. Prior to studying art history, I was unaware of the abundancy of education which art can provide. Not only does the field expand one’s visual perceptiveness, but also forces familiarity of the deep historical context needed to understand the work. My lifelong fascination with history and its role in the visual arts is what ultimately convinced me to devote my undergraduate years to the study of art history. While in Paris, I will focus on a period of history that is significant to my own heritage- the Holocaust and World War II. In particular, I will study in-depth the Marais Jewish quarter of Paris during World War II. I will visit the Museum of Jewish Art and History, where the works of Jewish artists who fled to Paris to escape anti-Semitism are displayed. I will also visit the Shoah memorial to study the record of documented Jewish persecution. The goal of my research will be to document the modern Jewish quarter and understand how French anti-Semitism and the events of World War II impacted physicality of the neighborhood and the identity of the Parisian Jews that lived there.

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    Madeline Hammer


    My name is Madeline Hammer and I am a junior at the University of South Florida. I transferred to the University of South Florida from my previous institution, Santa Fe College, because of the rich opportunities that Tampa holds for artists and art historians due to the array of museums, galleries, and the research focused university.
    Throughout my time as an undergrad studying art history, every course I adopt deepens my passions towards artists and has planted a desire in me to want to preserve art. This is not only reserved in a literal conservation sense, but helping to preserve art by increasing exposure to the public and paring that exposure with contextual education.
    For my research project, I hope to explore various institutions and spaces throughout time that use their location to strengthen art by exposing it to certain social classes. Specifically, this research aims to investigate dioramas within public spaces and how their presence alters the location socially. My focus will be on three specific dioramas all from different time periods to provide comparisons; one from the Renaissance, one from the Nineteenth Century, and one that is contemporary.
    Studying in Paris and participating in the Venice excursion created the perfect opportunity for this research because both locations hold a variety of churches and museums that play into my research topic. First, I will explore the contemporary art museum Palais de Tokyo in Paris and their current “Dioramas” exhibition. I also intend to visit the Saint Gervais-Saint Protais church, a town just outside of Paris which features a diorama by the artist Louis Daguerre. And lastly, during the Venice excursion I hope to study the San Zaccaria Altarpiece by Giovanni Bellini at the church of San Zaccaria.


    Kaitlin Harrington

    View Kaitlin’s Paris Blog
    My name is Kaitlin Harrington I am a senior. My major is Studio Art and this now my second year at USF. I transferred from Hillsborough Community College where I earned my associates degree in liberal arts. But I am more than just a student I am also an artist. I own my own craft business Kaitlinscraftys and sell at conventions and craft shows. It gives me a whole new perspective when it comes to studying Art History and Art in general. It all started from being very sick with pneumonia and mono at the same time right after graduating high school. It was so bad I had to start college late but due to months of being housebound and bored I began my craft business. Last summer I got study abroad in Paris a month with six days in London and it was amazing experience. I took an art history course over there and did my research scholarship on my favorite French Queen Marie Antoinette. I cannot believe the impact the RIAS has on me as an academic student, artist, and just myself personally. When I returned from Paris and completed the RIAS experience last year I was so amazed how clear it was to me to switch my major from Art History to Studio Art. I believe this is one of my best decisions I have ever made next to marrying my husband of course. I am so proud of my accomplishments and cannot believe I can get the opportunity to participate once again. This summer I am taking a Studio Art class with a month in Paris and six days in Venice. My research for this summer’s project is not yet certain but will include either Marie Antoinette in a different way or King Louis the sixteenth.


    Maria Hollenback


    My name is Maria Hollenback and I am a fourth year studio art student. After changing my major several times, I have finally immersed myself in what I love: art. I love to explore all types of traditional mediums: sewing, drawing, embroidery, painting, printmaking, collage, bookbinding; you name it, I’ve probably done it. Making art is therapeutic and essential for me. I have been using my work primarily as a way of communicating my feelings because more often than not, I have a hard time communicating these things through speech. Traveling is one of my other passions, so as soon as I heard of the opportunity to study art in Paris, I was immediately interested. I’m excited and scared to see what kind of new emotions I will explore on my first trip outside of the United States, and how much I can create during this time. I’m interested in so many topics, including gender identity, non-religious spirituality, social justice, and existentialism. Because I have so many interests it’s been difficult to choose one specific topic to focus on. With that being said, it will be interesting to see what really piques my interests while abroad. I’m looking forward to see where this trip leads, what opportunities I will find, and how much I will grow.

    Menard Head Shot

    Karen Menard

    My name is Karen Menard and I am not your typical art student. I am a junior pursuing my second bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida. My first degree, in mathematics education, opened doors for me to work in the information technology field as well as a high school math teacher. As long as I can remember, I have loved art and if I wasn’t using the creative juices that flow through my veins to make something “artsy”, I was thinking it. I began my current journey at Hillsborough Community College and took every class possible related to art. I recently transferred to USF and cannot express how awesome the experience has been for me. Studying art is what I was supposed to do all along, and now it is all I want to do. When the opportunity to go to Paris was presented to me, I nearly wept with excitement. I have been there twice before, but not with a specific focus on my passion, “Art, Man!” While in Paris, I plan to research the contemporary form of art that is as spontaneous and courageous as I am. The film “Exit through the Gift Shop” has been an inspiration for me to emulate the style of art that abounds in the city of Paris. Street art and graffiti can be seen on the sides of buildings on the streets of the city of lights, and in the tunnels that run below it. From my research, I hope to find a greater understanding of the cultural roots of this art form that is embraced by a city that has been historically saturated with art for centuries.

    Scholarship Head Shot

    Alex Snider

    My name is Alex Snider, and I am a junior at the University of South Florida. I am currently majoring in Geography and Anthropology, and I am thinking about going into urban planning or forensic anthropology in the future. I love learning about the history, culture, and people of different places around the world, and I especially love whenever I get the chance to travel to these diverse locations and experience these places for myself. Moreover, I enjoy learning about and creating art, especially anything involving Impressionism or Post-Impressionism. That is why I am thrilled that I get the opportunity to go to Paris this summer and do a research-based art project about my experiences and observations in France. While in France, I plan to use participant observation to see how people utilize urban spaces throughout the city. I want to see how different environments and parts of the city are used by people, and I want to observe all the unique ways in which people interact with their surrounding environment. I have done similar observations of public spaces before for some of my Anthropology classes, such as at Disney World, but I am excited to be doing this type of research in such a large, cosmopolitan urban setting. I am ecstatic to be given this titanic opportunity, and I cannot wait to see what this experience and research project will be like.

    Research in Arts Scholars





    Laura Amador

    My name is Laura Amador and I am an international student from Barranquilla, Colombia pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Studio Art at the University of South Florida, my first major was in International business with a concentration in marketing and a minor in economics. However, my true passion has always been making art, to study it, to understand it, to be creative and to be free in that process. My art revolves around questioning what it is feminism right now, about challenging thoughts about sexualization of the female versus female empowerment. I use elements like landscapes, patterns, symbols, and different cultural elements that enhance the personality or story of the subject, while, adding a sense of humor, sarcasm, or social commentary. My art not only questions feminism but it also talks about that relationship between the female body and the male gaze.

    In Paris my intention is to document the lifestyle and essence of the modern Parisian woman through interviews and observation. I will be studying and photographing women, architecture, advertising, landscapes, and graphic patterns that inspire my work. Based on the material that I collect, as well as the experiences I get from the city of Paris, I will be able to find the different ways in which feminism, sexuality, and women play a role in the popular culture of Paris and within the modern society.
    I am so thrilled and thankful about this great opportunity the office for undergraduate research has given me. I can’t wait to observe, learn, investigate, and create a strong and enticing series of work based on all the amazing visual information and experiences that the city of Paris has to offer.


    Jessica Brasseur

    My name is Jessica Brasseur and I am a Junior at the University of South Florida, pursuing my Bachelors of Fine Arts with a concentration in Drawing. My work is usually time intensive and process laden. I really enjoy how a piece can change over a period of time with my thoughts and meditations about it.

    I have been interested in the Beat generation writers and their work for a number of years, but I was just recently exposed the Cubist art movement. Upon further research on both movements, I found that Paris acted as a sort of breeding ground for shared thoughts and creative endeavors. I plan to expound on these two very different movements to find similarities in their manifestos and goals as radical cultural shifts occurred around them, how they contributed to the conversation, and what role Paris played in the facilitation of work.


    Kristen Clayton

    I transferred to the University of South Florida as an art history major after completing my AA while in high school. Through my studies at USF, I have cultivated a passion for the decorative arts. Through an understanding of the craftsmanship and cultural origins of decorative objects, one is able to determine cultural interaction, identity, and a comprehension of how people orient themselves and their surroundings.

    My fascination with the decorative arts is a culmination of studying a diverse group of disciplines such as botany, environmental science, studio art, and interior design. As a result of science research experience, studio art studies, as well as art history, I have discovered how to implement the standard research processes in the investigation of the art world. Decorative objects are crafted, collected, and curated in order to provide a visual demonstration of a concept greater than itself. Art history is the visual history of ideas, and through the investigation of the visual world we can better understand the ideas they are presenting. Through one piece of art you are able to see the interconnectedness of humanity, of all people, cultures, and disciples. Through all of my experiences, whether as a part of the arts or outside of the field in scientific disciplines I have carried this passion of interconnectedness with me, investigating the underlying links between what one sees and how the visual came to be.
    During my time abroad, I am going to pursue my passion and focus on the influence of the decorative arts in crafting national and individual identities as well as how decorative objects weave together various cultures and methods of making crafting cosmopolitan identities and demonstrating cultural influence. As mundane as our surroundings may seem, they embody much more than carved wood, hardened clay, and woven threat. Decorative objects are visual forms of cultural experience that have molded our perceptions of what combines us, divides us, and what we identify with. I have always been intrigued by how the current state of an object or an environment can reveal layers of history contributing to the present visual. Paris, an art piece of its own, offers a venue to study how the decorative has contributed to and crafted cultural identity.


    Taylor Crosland

    Taylor grew up in southern Florida finding inspiration within nature, cosmology, and the universal human experience. His pursuit in the arts is driven by an existential angst in which his art is channeled through. The content of his work manifest aspects of the reflecting mind and the self-reflexive being projecting through time and space. Interested in philosophies of conciseness and the beautiful duality of technical control and serendipity, Taylor explores the metaphysical world to create visionary images that evoke his audience into a state of transcendent cognition. By providing the opportunity to become aware of the infinite dimensions of the intrinsic thoughts composing one’s unique mind, the power of this thought is then realized and actualized into the self-reflexive being therefore creating your perception of the world around you. This phenomenon is an essential aspect of the creative process within Taylor’s work.

    During Taylor’s undergraduate time at the University of South Florida he has concentrated on printmaking and drawing but does exercise other mediums such as photography or sculpture. In addition to his fine art curriculum Taylor has obtained a minor in Business Administration, three officer positions in academic organizations and role as Art Director at the Centre Gallery. Taylor aspires to attend graduate school and become an active printmaker in the art world as well as teach at a leading University.


    Taylor Emmons

    Bonjour, I’m Taylor! I transferred to USF last year from Valencia College in Orlando after receiving my Associates in Arts. I am currently a junior majoring in art history and minoring in humanities. I began my academic career in art history 5 years ago in high school. I took AP Art History and was hooked by the second class. I fell in love with the subject after studying the Palette of King Narmer.

    Last summer, I had an internship at the Orlando Museum of Art working with the Development and Membership department. I also was a volunteer assistant-curator for the Anthropology department at USF this past fall.

    I am focusing my studies on non-Western art, specifically Islamic Art. During my time at USF over the past year, I have taken many courses in Islamic Art and Architecture such as Cross Cultural Interactions in Islamic Art, Introduction to Islamic Art and Architecture, and Visual Cultures of the Islamic World. Through these courses, I have discovered and developed a true passion for the plethora of different mediums that Islamic art consists of. Throughout these classes, my horizons have broadened, allowing me to have a different perspective on art and culture. I was first introduced to Islamic Art through the courses taught by Dr. Akin-Kivanç. Before these classes, I had never studied Islamic art ,as I had only been taught history of art through a Western perspective. Through Dr. Akin-Kivanç’s guidance and mentorship, I plan on continuing my studies of Islamic art while in Paris through my research.

    In addition to my passion of art and art history, I have an interest in museum studies. I plan on combining these scholarly aspects of my major to the research I will be conducting in Paris.

    My research will focus on the way objects are displayed within a museum setting. I will be examining the Islamic Wing of the Louvre and the way these objects are on display for the viewer. Unfortunately, objects are sometimes displayed in ways that cause the museum patron to have a limited view of the the object. These limiting views only allow for part of the object to be understood by the viewer and lacks a complete understanding of the objects true function. In some instances, inscriptions on different objects will wrap around the entirety of the work, but it is placed up against the wall, which prevents full access to the inscription. These arrangements can cause the viewer to have limited knowledge of the object they are viewing. I believe this is an important issue that needs further exploration as not understanding an object’s function can cause a restricted view on the culture it is originated from.

    In addition to studying the museology of the Islamic Wing, I also have an interest in Colonialism and Orientalism. I am curious to see if the objects within the wing are subject to the affects of Colonialism or Orientalism, and what that would look like. With the current political and social climate still involving the topics mentioned above, I believe my research is not only contemporary to todays’ issues, but will still be applicable in the future.

    While I am an art historian, I do believe that I have an artistic side to myself. In addition to thinking of art from a scholarly point of view, I also enjoy creating pieces that expresses my interest of historiography. I do plan on using this research opportunity as an outlet to explore more of my artistic capabilities.

    I am beyond thrilled and grateful to not only be conducting my own research project, but to be doing it in the city of Paris. As I have never gone abroad before, I am curious and filled with excitement for the scholarly adventure that lies ahead. I plan on absorbing the culture and life-style of Paris, and of course the food too! To follow my journey, please check out my Tumblr where I will be posting daily updates before and while abroad.


    Kaitlin Harrington

    My name is Kaitlin Harrington I am a junior. My major is Art History and I’m a new student to University of South Florida. I transferred from Hillsborough Community College where I earned my associates degree in liberal arts. But I am more than just a student I am also an artist. I own my own craft business Kaitlinscraftys and sell at conventions and craft shows. It gives me a whole new perspective when it comes to studying Art History. It all started from being very sick with pneumonia and mono at the same time right after graduating high school. It was so bad I was sick from May till October of 2013. I had to start college late at HCC and became very depressed. I started to sculpt with polymer clay I had really enjoyed sculpting in school. But at home did not have a kiln so I bought polymer clay as you can bake it in your at home oven. From there my crafts spread to decoden cell phone cases, jewelry along with bath products. From this really bad experience two great things sprung my business and my future career goal. I hope to one day become an art therapist as I love to help people and I think art is truly a vital part of the world.

    My goal with this project is to focus on Marie Antoinette. My ideas are not clearly solidified but I do want to touch on how art influenced her life. With the massive propaganda surrounding her and how it aided in her future demise. No better place to learn about her than Paris it is a dream to go somewhere I have wanted to go since I read a biography on her in the seventh grade. Versailles will be a big focus while in Paris to get a better feel for the life style she lived. I am so very excited to go to Paris to see all the rich history especially the art work. I never thought this opportunity would be possible for me and I feel so lucky to get a chance to see an important part of Europe.


    Elizabeth Keel

    The roots of my journey with art lie in childhood although it is only as an adult that I have begun to accept this part of who I am and embrace the inherent value it holds to me and to others. Studying at USF has challenged me to question what art is, has helped me to develop my talent and brought awareness to the role art plays in society. In the last year I have learned the joy of exploring mixed media and have attempted to recapture the curious, inquisitive aspects of my inner child. I have begun to learn how materials communicate differently across all disciplines and how they stimulate the five senses. My primary goal is to create interventionist art by combining the duality of childlike indulgence with adult cognizance in order to combat social inequality, break down stereotypes and remove the stigmatization associated with many aspects of culture.

    My work usually begins with connecting to an anxiety, frustration or restlessness surrounding a social, spiritual or political issue. Sometimes I seek to simply soothe the intensity of my chaotic thoughts and other times it is the foundation of clearing my mind from the overstimulation of life in order to create a new project. The drive to create is propelled forward by the examination of my reaction and how I can ameliorate the problem. This process of self reflection is an integral part of the breaking apart and building up of ideas within me and serves to reshape me as the artwork is shaped. The flame of creation is both cleansing and exhausting and with each new project there is a catharsis, a “letting go” and a vulnerability of exposing the intimate parts of me, my core beliefs and the essence of how I relate to the world.

    Studying abroad will enable me to add another layer of complexity to my process and to observe and analyze the psychological response of my fellow students, teachers and other tourists to the visual and auditory stimuli throughout the city. It will also provide insight into how materiality can generate interest as a tool to battle desensitization. The gift of perspective, above all, will help me to analyze, on a deeper level, my view on society and the relationships between humanity, history, communication and my role as a global citizen.


    Tina Piracci

    Being a mixed media sculpture artist, I tend to experiment. With each new medium, my expressions develop through spontaneous investigations. Recently, I have been tinkering with Arduino microprocessors and sensors to create interactive sculptures. As I explore deeper into this medium, my interest in this idea of the absence of the artist’s hand heightens. Recently, there has been a shift in art history in which numerous contemporary artists do not physically construct their own work. This notion of the value of the idea itself, began with conceptual art and has continued to work its way into our era. My current works are not the “art” they are intended to be until a viewer is present, which holds a layered concept I find captivating.

    As an Art Director in the Centre Gallery, I watch visitors every day interact with the art in the space. Through this repetition, I have realized the significance of the viewer and their experience. My goal is to create opportunities for others to make things. I want the viewer to play the larger role than I play myself, because experience is all we have; it is our reality.
    In Paris, I plan to embed various micro-electronic sensors in public places, like on benches or light posts, in which when triggered, will produce a musical sound recorded by students from the USF music department. I want people to create new connections to objects and spaces that they have not experienced before; and most importantly, I want to encourage play in unexpected spaces.


    Erika Schnur-Carter

    Art is the stimuli of self-awareness and is an essential part of history. In my life, the vehicle of art is moved by the lens of my camera, shaped by my photographic perception. I am interested in the human condition and our ability to use art to bring light to dismissed social concerns and demand change. Art has now become an emotional experience for me. With the photographic medium as my instrument to expose atrocities and reverse injustices, my objective is to offer viewers a new perspective on the daunting realities within our society.

    As a senior in my undergraduate career at the University of South Florida, the research I conduct in Paris becomes even more crucial to me. Being immersed in a city with so much to offer culturally and historically, I plan to focus the scope of my research on displacement and artistic perception. I will conduct this research by photographing evidence of displacement with my twin lens reflex camera on 120mm film to speak to the fragility of our changing perceptions. These images will be paired with portraits of Parisian citizens I interview regarding how displacement has affected their own relationship with the art in that region.

    Peer Mentors


    Jennifer Kilburn

    I’m Jennifer, a senior studio art undergrad at USF. Last summer I was lucky enough to study art history in Paris and participate in the RIAS program in the fall. It completely changed the way I study art, how I discuss art, and the way I create art. This summer I get to return to Paris to take the studio art course, and was fortunate enough to be accepted back into the RIAS program as a scholar and a peer mentor. Not only do I get to create another research project, but I can help others in the group with their own research. I’m so excited and grateful to get to do this again! It has had a huge impact on my academic life, and has built up my own confidence as an artist.

    For the last three years, I’ve been working at a screen printing company doing digital art. Everyday I use the Pantone Color Matching system to pick ink colors for printing on garments. My experience in Paris and my everyday work routine got me thinking about how color matching can be applied to fine art. While I’m in Paris, I will be handpicking colors taken from famous works of fine art. I will then use them to build color swatches that can be downloaded by digital artists, giving them access to the exact colors that artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, and Toulouse-Lautrec used in their work. Parisian artists were among the first to explore color theory, and I look forward to exploring their use and application of color.


    Natalie Bohin

    As a dancer and choreographer, my goal is to infiltrate the subconscious mind. Mirror neurons allow us to soak up the emotions of others around us. In this same manner, I would like to influence the audience and other dancers to build better communication with one another through kinesthetic empathy. To accomplish this end goal, I will start my process of choreography at the beginning and establish the source from where movement initiates. If movement stems from an organic source rather than an external one such as simply constructing beautiful lines with your body, the audience may receive the message the artist is trying to convey more than just admiring the beautiful aesthetic of dance. Isn’t the goal of art to generate thought?

    It will be inspirational to have the opportunity to be able to study where the beginnings of western dance initiated, the city of Paris. This city has harbored creative thought since its birth sparking new revelations for countless artists. The environment we reside in can change our creative process and the work that is eventually composed. During my time I’d to explore through a choreographic study, how a city can influence and motivate our work as artists.





    McKinna Anderson

    Throughout my undergraduate experience, I have found more and more that curiosity is a golden trait. By that, I mean to say that each time I have followed this inherent curious nature, I find myself with more opportunities and experiences that alter and shape my plans for the future. I have recently found myself going through a transitional period concerning what I allow to identify me. It is easy to be what other people want you to be, but there is also no sense of self in that. I have put myself whole-heartedly into many different involvements, and found that I do not want the responsibility of upholding what each demands and have withdrawn from them almost completely, allowing myself to be immersed in my artwork.

    As a response to that, I have become consumed with a process in photography that is new to me – manipulating the film of images I have shot. I have always seen photography as an act of precision, so going through with purchasing film, creating the exposure, and developing, all to burn, or wipe away the emulation has become a personally satisfying experience. The image remains, there is intentionality behind the chosen exposure, but the ending result has no absolute guarantee or expectation.

    During my time in Paris, I plan to focus mainly on the community spaces the city provides. Being drawn to people and the interactions between them, I am curious about the places they spend time. While I do not know what exactly will stand out to me, I am most excited for the process. I will be shooting images on a twin lens camera with 120mm film, developing the film locally, and manipulating the images all in Paris. This will allow me to form immediate responses and experimentation while immersing myself into the culture.





    Tatiana Munoz

    My name is Tatiana Munoz and I am a sophmore, majoring in Art History at the University of South Florida. I am also an artist, which influences and helps me in my study of art history. I am very interested in the notion of the artist acting not only as creater but also as social commentator. This reflection of the artists’ awareness of what goes on outside of the art field in the artists’ work is an old concept. However it is still extremely relevant in this century. My research will incorporate a study of this relationship between society and the artist. My research will mainly center on the the Situationist movement of Paris. This movement had much to do with the early development of the idea of the artist as an aware and involved part of society. My research will also branch into the other ideals and artistic techniques of the Situationist movement such as map making and map art. During my time abroad I will keep a record of my research and experiences on my blog, which I plan to update at least weekly. In addition to this I will sketch, photograph and speed paint many of the sights I see and people I meet. I feel so lucky to have been awarded this scholarship and I plan to use it to learn as much as this beautiful city has to offer. I will then use my new experiences to highlight my research project so that it will inform my audience as well as entice them to travel as well. I look forward to arriving in Paris and beginning this much anticipated journey.





    Dawn Grayford

    My name is Dawn Grayford and I am going on my senior year as an Undergraduate at the University of South Florida, majoring in Studio Art. Art, for me, is more than just the elements and principles that make up a composition. Art is passion, emotion, depictions of history and truth, and most importantly for me, a weapon. In the famous words of Pablo Picasso, art is an instrument of war, and the artist is the political being that is involved and largely aware of all that is around him or her, from people to social issues.

    My art revolves around social issues of the world and our daily lives involved with them. People protest for rights, equalities, social change, while others regurgitate what they are told or think they know because of social media and networks. My art is commentary on societies, especially American, in attempts to provoke change and challenge views that people may or may not have. I want to confront society with these issues; argue and debate ideas that some might try to avoid. Street artists, I feel, do this the best and unfortunately they are undervalued and even considered as degenerate artists. One famous artist that truly pushes my ideas in art is Banksy, an anonymous street artist that breaks the boundaries of art and confrontation. People argue vandalism, but he is directly confronting and commenting on society by bringing forth social issues.

    I also draw up inspiration from musical artists that are activists, such as Rise Against and Green Day. While some may not agree with the musical appeal to provoke emotions and social change or that it’s a juvenile approach, musicians argue more than just lyrics that are sung for enjoyment or passion; there’s truth in their words and observations of society and life. I bring together these ideas and reflect upon them, constructing my own concepts, arguments and art. By being awarded this research opportunity I hope to truly grow as an artist as I work with the community in Undergraduate Research at USF. My traveling endeavors will not stop here, as I plan to travel the world and understand and grow more as an artist.





    Adam Mathieu

    I began my academic career at USF three years ago; all I knew when leaving high school was that I wanted to study photography and continue on the path my art classes had set me on. Now I have gained more knowledge than I could have anticipated and I crave even more skill and information than when I started. As a BFA student in studio art, I have managed to get my hands on most of the practices offered at the university, but photography has remained my area of focus. The graduate students and instructors that fill the rooms in FAH have served as mentors, sources of knowledge, as well as critics. With the help of those surrounding me I have managed to produce series that can either be about cruise ships in Tampa or how many ways I can use mirrors to distort my body.

    I have had the opportunity to photograph almost everything in any way imaginable during my time at USF. I have had classes that allow me to photograph with methods such as photograms, pinhole, and large and medium format film. Additionally, I have worked at the student run paper, the Oracle, for two years and have shot events ranging from football games to protests. I believe these different means of photography are what influenced me to delve into tourist photography for my research project with the Office of Undergraduate Research. I believe there is much to understand when it comes to the aura of an object or site in an age when photography is more accessible than ever in history.





    Jennifer Kilburn

    I’m Jennifer, and I recently became a studio art major at USF. I transferred from SPC to further my education in graphic design, which is a field I’ve also been working in for three years, but I have fallen back in love with studio art and I never want to be without it in my life again. I love to paint with watercolor, draw with conté crayons, and am learning more about three dimensional art. I’m also learning a lot about myself and completely reestablishing my own artistic process, and it’s a very exciting time for me. I can finally see myself becoming the kind of artist I want to be, and I will keep pushing forward.

    During this time of rebirth in my academic life, I’m very interested in the themes of death and remembrance in modern and classical art. In tarot decks the Death card always represents a great change, and that’s exactly what I’m feeling right now in my life. I think seeing classical paintings that are honoring the dead, or are even weary of death, and knowing that the artist who painted it has long since passed away provokes a certain feeling that can only be described as momento mori. We all die, and just the act of accepting that inevitability can be very freeing. Paris especially has a history of honoring their dead in beautiful and unique ways, from the catacombs below ground to the monuments and ornate graveyards for the elite above ground. Momento mori themes are well known and timeless, but I wonder what death really means to our modern society. In Paris I want to look at how this topic is addressed in modern art by living artists, and how that differs from artists of the past who are no longer here.

    I think every person has something to say about death. Taking in all the influences and messages I can in Paris, I hope to find a voice of my own and be able to produce a research project that will do the talking for me.





    Jessica Barber

    Major: BFA with a concentration in Printmaking
    Mentor: Anne Jeffrey / co-mentor Tracy Midulla

    Artists like John Cage and Surrealists like André Masson or André Breton have often influenced me. I am a firm believer in what can be revealed by working through an automatic and intuitive process. As a printmaker applying these methods can prove difficult. This is why I often work in monotype prints. All of my prints are given life through the textiles used to portray my images. I like working in materials that can be deconstructed and reassembled how. My work explores pattern through rhythm, texture, line variation, and from these elements an atmosphere is created for the viewer to engage with my work.

    Printmaking can be done in a painterly style and that is often how I work. However, printmaking is completely different from painting, and therefore differs in the end product for me personally. Instead of standing in front of a canvas with brushes, I like to be more sculptural in my process which printing allows for. Most people find printmaking flat, but when I have tried to recreate a print into a painting the aura of the print is lost. The layering nature of monotype and intaglio lend itself to my imagery. The process becomes just as important to me as a final product. Finding my materials and reconstructing them to what I need in printing has also become therapeutic. Each line is individually inked, this makes for a long process, but laying them out is rather fast. I was once told that a young Robert Rauschenberg worked with music playing so loud he would loose all sense of time. I hope to recreate this in my work. Like André Masson or André Breton, I aim for this environment of the subconscious but where I differ is this meeting point with the conscious. This meeting point leads to much more meaningful works for me, as the artist. No matter the materials used I am always exploring identity, the way the human body moves, sensory, and memory. These explorations are important to the way we think and communicate as humans. Viewers of art bring with them their personalized histories, which can make it hard not to project on to the work. I say project away. I rather enjoy how the images meanings can alter from viewer to viewer. I don’t mind saying my work is only a success if the public engages with it. I can make art for myself all day long but that gets boring. So, I make artwork more out of a need to connect with people.

    Since there is a limited time while abroad, I want to dove tail my experience of Paris/London with my experience in the classroom. As a printmaker the history of printmaking in France is an important part of this project. I intend on investigating the kind of presence printmaking has in the Paris art world and the more modern techniques used in printmaking while abroad. Also, the fabrics I use play a major role. I intend to use fabrics or more specifically, lace, local to the region visited to portray the architecture, person, or landscape of the city I am learning about. So, I propose the question, can lace/fabrications in printmaking reflect the French culture? I believe my research will show that it can reflect the culture but also that fabrications have a strong presence in printmaking. By participating in this initiative I would like to learn how to communicate my artistic practice and thought process for creating images. This way my viewers can understand me as an artist and what my work displayed from this journey is conveying. Participating in this scholarship has only enriched my knowledge of just how unlimited the arts can truly be. In learning these types of communicative tools I can reach a much broader audience. Also, with the help of the scholarship going abroad has developed my own art process by opening my mind to what I as an artist can be capable of.


    Ella Dizdarevic

    Major: Studio Art/Art History
    Mentor: Wallace Wilson

    My name is Ella Dizdarevic and I am a senior, double-majoring in Studio Art and Art History and expecting to graduate in December 2014. Prior to graduation, I plan to explore London for a week in the summer with the College of Art and Art History in order to pursue an independent research endeavor that will prepare me for graduate school as well as my future career.

    My interests lie in the world between producing art and curating it. I do not limit myself to one medium, nor do I situate myself comfortably within interior spaces. I work primarily with installation work because installations exude a mesmerizing ethereal presence due to the temporary and fragile physical existence. I am currently exploring and experimenting with different elements of graffiti; because graffiti in essence embodies the aforementioned ethereal qualities I admire.

    Part of the evolution of graffiti is the move by street artists from the public sphere to a more private domain. More and more private galleries are popping up in Shoreditch and the likes around London, even graffiti tours are stopping by these galleries for merchandise shopping and workshops. These private galleries want nothing to do with curators and conceptual artists, just to name a few examples, but yet they seek to be part of the fine art world. Is there a difference between fine art and graffiti anymore? If the works shown in these private galleries are not exposed to everyone then do the messages lose their power? What is the message then and who is the audience? Is there a message? And where exactly is graffiti going with this?
    There are so many questions and I realize I have only a week to answer them so I hope to dive right into the culture. I do not intent to observe the city as a flaneur, an outside observer, but rather an active participant in the culture in search of the answers. By receiving the research scholarship from the USF Undergraduate Research Department I am able to travel across London to discover the parts and people who do not expose themselves to typical tourists. I will be posting images, videos, possible sound recordings, and documentation of my own work on my blog so stay tuned!


    Sarah Dyer

    Major: BFA Studio Art
    Mentor: Anne Jeffrey

    I am interested in the capacity that a place has is telling its story without need for human narration. My current body of work includes exploration of decaying ruins and fairy tale structures (and can be seen at dyerceramics.com) In Paris I will be exploring the story of places like the Place Royal who have both a long standing history and a modern purpose and vivacity and trying to figure out how to best convey this story to Americans who have never been there. I am ecstatic to be going to Paris. It is mind-blowing to me that this city is older than my entire country. I am looking forward to seeing what these equally historic and modern streets have to whisper.


    Kara Lavin

    Major: Studio Art
    Mentor: Lisa M. Piazza

    My name is Kara and I am an artist studying at the University of South Florida. I love to paint, realistically, abstractly and often times incorporate outside imagery or influences within my work. For this research in arts project, I want to let the city influence what I create by way of collaging found items in with my paintings and sketches. Being aware of my completely new surroundings, interacting with locals and other tourists and exploring Paris for a month will give me endless inspiration to create from. I am so grateful to have this wonderful opportunity to study abroad and to have received this scholarship. It will definitely help shape my research in art background and my professional arts practice moving forward. Going to Paris this summer will be my first time out of the country and hopefully not my last!


    Adriana Matallana

    Major: Studio Art
    Mentor: Cesar Cornejo

    As a senior art student at the University of South Florida, I have been deeply inspired by religious artworks and intrigued to find avenues to reach modern audiences through Christian art. My research focuses on exploring the question of what is so attractive about the legendary medieval Way of Saint James, which has attracted visitors from all over the world for centuries thanks to its history, culture and spiritual benefits. The Way runs through France from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles on the Spanish side on to Santiago de Compostela through the major cities of Spain. A typical walk on the French route takes at least four weeks. Some people set out on the Way for spiritual reasons; many others find spiritual reasons along the Way as they meet other pilgrims, attend masses, visit churches, monasteries, and cathedrals, while experiencing a lodging network known as refuges, which provide assistance to the pilgrims. I plan to capture the essence of this journey and convey to others the richness of this amazing experience in an audiovisual form.

    By awarding me the Research in Arts Scholarship, my financial burden has lightened. I hope one day to be able to help other students achieve their goals just as the Office of Undergraduate Research has helped me.


    Jessica Sylvester

    Major: Art History and Anthropology
    Mentor: Anne Jeffrey

    My name is Jessica Sylvester and I am an Art History as well as an Anthropology student at the University of South Florida. During my studies I have become interested in various cultures around the world from both the artistic as well as the anthropological perspective, this has led me to take a dynamic approach to understanding society. I have the privilege to participate in the USF Art Program in Paris as well as completing a project for the Research in Arts Scholarship initiative. My research question to investigate while abroad is: can an examination of the street art in Paris provide an understanding of modern culture in the city through an artistic lens, and can this understanding serve as a basis of understanding of the role street art plays in other societies? I am excited to dive into the rich culture of Parisian street art. Throughout my experience I will photograph, sketch, and reflect on my observations, which will be recorded on my blog during the trip that will ultimately contribute to my final product. My goals for participating in this initiative are to develop professionally as an academic scholar as well as to critically understand relevant connections between street art and the context in which it exists, and then share the conclusions I draw from my research on multiple platforms.

    While in Paris this summer, scholarship recipients will be documenting their experiences and recording the development of their research projects on the Research in Arts Scholarship Blog »


    Brianna Horn

    Project: Unexpected Encounters
    Mentor: Wendy Babcox

    I am Brianna Horn, an artist and photographer with the extraordinary opportunity to visit and study in Paris this summer. This Research in Arts Scholarship is helping me make this a reality while helping me pursue my artistic interests! I’ll be blogging about some of my experiences and progress in this research project both on this blog, as well as my own personal blog.


    Candyce Strayer

    Project: Derive
    Mentor: Jaroslaw Studencki

    My name is Candyce Strayer and I am a senior, B.F.A. art studio major concentrating in photography at the University of South Florida in Tampa. I was honored to receive the Research in Arts Scholarship. This scholarship is helping me pursue a photographic project that I am very passionate about revolving around ideas of home and culture shock in black and white film. Throughout the trip I will be blogging about my experiences in Paris, giving updates on the project and providing visual photographic sketches of my work.
    Part of my project revolves around a blog I will upkeep everyday with my thoughts, experiences, sketches, and conversations with my mentor and other professionals from different disciplines. The blog will also be open to commentary from the public on my work and allow for questions.


    Phillip Townsend

    Project: Which Black?
    Mentor(s): Lou Marcus, Dr. Allison Moore

    My name is Phillip Townsend and I am an Art History major. I was born and raised in Tallulah, Louisiana, moved to Los Angeles, California to attend college, and relocated to Tampa, Florida in 2007 to continue my education. Upon my arrival in Tampa, I enrolled at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) studying Architecture. While at HCC, I was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and soon after awarded the Joseph Michal Memorial Scholarship by the Tampa Bay Builders Association for my academic excellence and commitment to examining the use of multi-media technologies in architectural development. During my studies at HCC, I traveled to Denmark to study sustainable energy practices. While in Denmark, I examined Danish Energy Policy as it related to the economics and politics of energy production and consumption with the goal of applying those approaches to my structural designs.

    After graduating from HCC with an AA in Architecture, I enrolled at the University of South Florida (USF) to study Art History. I became interested in Art History through my education in architecture. The history of the built environment intrigued me and led to my fascination with historical artifacts, chiefly art. While at USF, I have had the opportunity to conduct independent research by becoming a CREATTE Scholar and participating in the 2013 Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium. I had the honor of working with a mentor, Dr. Mary C. Fournier, in examining ancient Greek pottery. That research resulted in our group receiving the Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award, which was based on the group’s engagement with facilitators, our ability to address questions, and the overall quality of our presentation. The presentations were reviewed and scored by event facilitators. Additionally, I have been awarded the University of South Florida World Scholarship, School of Art and Art History Scholarship, and the University of South Florida Community College PTK Scholarship. I was recently inducted into the Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Society.

    Currently, I am currently developing an independent research project that examines the visual culture of mid to late 19th century Paris from the perspective of the African American artist. In the 19th century, blacks faced many social, economic, and educational obstacles in the United States. This was especially true for the black artist. The development of the African American artist has been set against many years of social and educational challenges. These challenges prompted some black artists to study and work abroad. The goal of this research is to provide a site-specific understanding of the conditions African Americans experienced during their art education and practice in mid to late 19th century Paris. The project will also examine the conditions in the United States during this time to determine what impact, if any, they may have had on African American artists. The project will also examine the reception of the African American artist and their works in Paris during this time. Overall, I am particularly interested in the relationship art has with minority communities. My professional focus will be examining modern paintings as an articulation of the social and political conditions of modern life.

    Portrait for OUR

    Grace Strattan

    Project: The Eiffel Effect
    Mentor: Wendy Babcox

    My name is Grace Strattan. I am a Junior BFA painting major. My work is inspired by art history and I am very interested in the idea of space—using paint to construct and deconstruct space in the same image. I am going to Paris to see the art there and to experience something new. The Research in the Arts Scholarship will help me make goals and learn how to create art based on research and it will also help fund my trip. I also appreciate the opportunity to exhibit my work in the Office of Undergraduate Research when we return. My most recent exhibits include showing at the 4th Annual Chinese Cultural Festival and a solo show at the Centre Gallery in the USF Marshall Student Center.


    Erica Wold

    Project: No Matter Where You Go
    Mentor: Jennifer Greenwell

    I am a BFA Photography student at USF Tampa. I am a senior, expected to graduate December 2013. I am spending my summer studying abroad in Paris and Venice. While there, I will be working on a research project and several artistic projects.

    All students who intend to apply for the scholarship must submit an Interest Form (to complete this form click on the Green button below). This will allow the OUR to provide important information and resources before the full application is due. NOTE: Registration DOES NOT commit a student to completing the full application.



    Have questions about the Research in Arts Scholarship or the application process? Contact RIAS Director.

    2018 Research in Arts Scholarship Application Announcement

    APPLICATION DEADLINE- Sunday Feb. 4, 2018


    Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

      • Undergraduate Status, open to all majors enrolled at USF Tampa campus

    Students enrolled at the St. Pete campus are NOT eligible to apply.

    • Sophomore or Junior standing
    • Enrolled full-time (9 credits) during the Fall 2018 semester
    • Minimum GPA: 3.0
    • Accepted to participate in the 2018 Summer Art Program in Paris
    • Attend a mandatory meeting with Lou Marcus PRIOR to application submission
    • Applicant must have a committed research mentor who will direct the projectduring the scholarship period ( March-November, 2018

    ** A Note About Mentors: Research Mentors must be USF or affiliated faculty. In addition, local working artists or other arts professionals may be eligible to serve as mentors with the approval of the art department and OUR. Graduate students are NOT eligible to serve as mentors.


    Applicants will be contacted for a pre-selection interview. Applicants will receive final notification of acceptance by Friday, Feb. 9, 2018


    Art Studio Applicants – Application Materials

    Application packet must include all items listed below. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Applications must be submitted electronically to OUR by 11pm Sun. Feb. 4, 2018
    Subject Line: Research in Arts Scholarship Application

    1. Statement of Interest (500 word minimum), which includes the following points:*Information about your academic and professional endeavors including coursework completed in the program, areas of interests related to your major, participation in activities such as internships and/or gallery shows
      *Details regarding why you have applied for the scholarship ( i.e. Why do you want to participate in research), and what you hope to gain from the RIAS experience
      *A description of how the RIAS experience “fits” with your future career goals and aspirations
      *A brief summary of your preliminary ideas for your research project. For example, what theory or concept will guide your project? What aspect of Paris will inform your research?
    2. Artist Statement: Must include what motivates/inspires you to create art; concepts/ideas you explore through your art; describe the mediums/techniques you use in your art making; describe your art making process.
    3. Professional Resume
    4. Mentor Letter of Reference: Letter must indicate that the mentor will direct the project throughout the duration of the initiative (during summer, fall semesters). It should also explain how the mentor will provide oversight for the project and assist the student in understanding the research process.
    5. Artist Portfolio: (minimum 5 images; jpeg format and sized at 300dpi)

    (** Note About Formatting: Compose Statement of Interest and Artist Statement in Microsoft Word / Statements must be single-spaced using 12 point Times New Roman font)

    Art History Applicants – Application Materials

    Application packet must include all items listed below. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Applications must be submitted electronically to OUR by 11pm Sun. Feb. 4, 2018
    Subject Line: Research in Arts Scholarship Application

    1. Statement of Interest (500 word minimum), which includes the following points:*Information about your academic and professional endeavors including coursework completed in the program, areas of interests related to your major, participation in activities such as internships and/or museum work
      *Details regarding why you have applied for the scholarship ( i.e. Why do you want to participate in research), and what you hope to gain from the RIAS experience
      *A description of how the RIAS experience “fits” with your future career goals and aspirations
      *A brief summary of your preliminary ideas for your research project. For example, what theory or concept will guide your project? What aspect of Paris will inform your research?
    2. Professional Resume
    3. Mentor Letter of Reference: Letter must indicate that the mentor will direct the project throughout the duration of the initiative (during summer, fall semesters). It should also explain how the mentor will provide oversight for the project and assist the student in understanding the research process
    4. Writing Sample

    (** Note About Formatting: Compose Statement of Interest and Artist Statement in Microsoft Word / Statements must be single-spaced using 12 point Times New Roman font)

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