We have to learn how to celebrate each culture’s artwork.
"My favorite class has been The West Imagines the Rest: Western Artists Represent the Globe, taught by Professor Janice Mann in the art history department. Our final project was to construct a website for the Packwood House Museum, which is a historic home and museum in downtown Lewisburg. It pushed me really far because we were studying works of art that hadn't been researched before, so we had to figure it out ourselves.
"That class inspired me to apply for a summer research grant to conduct a similar project for the museum, and fortunately my proposal was accepted. My project is to create an online tour to supplement the real-world tour at the Packwood House Museum. I want to focus on emphasizing Edith Fetherston's voice, as she's the woman who lived in the house and curated the space.
"The virtual tour would allow any visitor of the museum to pull out their phone to read quotes from Edith's diaries and learn about the different perspectives she had on each object in the room. I want the tour to be a celebration about a woman's role in creating the space, how important homemaking was to women of Edith's class, and what conscious choices she made when collecting pieces and designing the space to elevate her family's status.
"I'm in love with Edward Said's writing about Orientalism and how it was a field of study that was used to promote the power of European countries over the Middle East. The ideas I'm formulating about my research for an honors thesis are about how to advocate for works of art from countries that are perceived as 'developing' or 'third world' without being condescending or white-washing over any information, and without comparing them to Western works of art.
"So often, American college students carry these biases — we think, 'well, it's not as good as a Michelangelo or Da Vinci, it will never be as good.' But we have to learn how to celebrate each culture's artwork and emphasize that it doesn't need to be compared in that way. I think it's so important that we figure out a way to advocate for artists in countries that are always perceived as lesser than the West as a way to increase peace.
"Professor Andersson, art history, was the reason I came to Bucknell. I applied for the Arts Merit Scholarship, and since I was living in London, I interviewed with her over Skype. After I got in, she kept in contact all summer and even invited me to New York to meet art history alumni. We've maintained a great relationship ever since. In fact, last summer I did an independent study with her at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was a very rewarding experience. Through these opportunities, Professor Andersson helped me build confidence to pursue what I want out of my art history education."
Nicole is from Manhattan, N.Y.
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