A trio of UCLA faculty members are among a distinguished group of 178 of scholars, artists and scientists from the U.S. and Canada to receive 2016 Guggenheim Fellowships.
Steven Nelson recently joined a long line of respected Africanists who have led the African Studies Center at the UCLA International Institute. And as its new director, he is working to cultivate a sense of community among faculty and students on campus with an interest in Africa.
UCLA professor Sharon Gerstel studies how Byzantine-era churches enhanced the performance of liturgical chants.
A gift from the Chile-based Fundación AMA will bolster the UCLA Department of Art History’s work in Latin American art and provide students and scholars direct access to the rich culture of the Chilean region.
The $35,000 gift will establish a pilot program that will fund a graduate student research fellowship, establish an international scholar exchange and provide funding for a travel award for undergraduate or graduate students.
“This important gift will allow us to address the department’s most urgent priorities: increasing support for graduate and undergraduate students and providing faculty with the opportunity to share their research with the international community,” said Miwon Kwon, chair of the Department of Art History in the UCLA College. “I am thrilled to partner with Fundación AMA to help highlight the influence and importance of Chilean art.”
The graduate student fellowship will allow an Art History student to travel to Chile to conduct research and interact firsthand with the region’s art and its experts. Similarly, the international scholar exchange will provide travel funding for a UCLA faculty member to participate in lectures, symposia, and conferences to discuss the works owned by Fundación AMA and share the latest research topics concerning the region. The student travel award will allow one undergraduate or graduate student to travel to Chile for one to two months to study and gain internship experience.
“What interests us about this exchange is the opportunity get the point of view of academic and foreign students and how they view the current panorama of Chilean and Latin American art,” said Juan Yarur, co-founder of Fundación AMA. “This way, they may transmit their acquired perspective of the Chilean art scene when they return to the United States.”
Added Bernadita Mandiola, the foundation’s executive director, “FAMA will be a connecting bridge so that professors and academics from UCLA can study the regional arts scene.”
An important aspect of Kwon’s vision is to help students gain real-world experience and provide them with career opportunities post-graduation. This gift is an important step in fulfilling that mission, Kwon said, as it will provide students access to some of the regions most prized art and respected experts.