November 13, 2019 Architecture Student Studies Art, Architecture and Culture in Paris

Williams's sculpture as part of the Research in Arts Scholarship

A collage of colorful posters announcing events, opportunities, community involvement and more fill the A+A every year. Many of these posters and slips of paper combine to form a virtual wall of overlapping messages, but for one student, one message consistently stood out.

“When I toured the Art + Architecture building as an incoming student, I saw a poster titled ‘Study Art History in Paris!,’ and I was sold. I passed that poster for two more years as a student before applying to study in Paris.”

Mary Margaret Micheaux Williams, 3rd-year Architecture student, studied art history in Paris during summer 2019, thanks to the 2019 Research in Arts scholarship, a funding and research initiative of the UT Office of Undergraduate Research and the School of Art. 

Through the scholarship, Williams was able to not only study abroad but also create inspired artwork representing her new understanding and cultural experiences in Paris.

Williams in Paris during summer r2019

Her sculpture, titled “Narrating Art and Culture Over Time,” is a visual representation of the interconnectivity of art, culture and place and the narrative behind pieces of artwork.

“The work was a catalyst for a wider-ranging interest I have in research in relation to place, culture and art,” Williams said. “The relationship between art and architecture inspires and deeply influences my work as a student.”

“Narrating Art and Culture Over Time” was created in the Art + Architecture Building using our laser cutters. It is composed of three panels of plexiglass, each representing a different aspect of two artworks, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and The Stigmata. The first panel shows maps of the regions where the art was made. The second overlays the Mona Lisa and The Stigmata, and the third adds a visual representation of society’s feelings toward each of the pieces. When combined, the three panels convey the complex relationship between art and culture.

Williams discussing her artwork
Photo: UT Office of Undergraduate Research

Connecting art in new ways is a benefit of the Research in Arts scholarship, which allows recipients to study art in Paris then produce research-based art projects from idea to installation. In addition to Williams, other 2019 recipients include Rachel Doub, Makayla Harmon and Emma Vieser. See their work displayed anytime during the 2019-2020 school year in the Office of Undergraduate Research, 407 Blount Hall, 1534 White Ave.

Students interested in the 2020 Research in Arts scholarship can apply online. There are three awards available for 2020, and the deadline to apply is March 9, 2020.