Farewell to daniel johnson & Welcome to Matt Holl

daniel johnson has served the department so well as the part-time director of the Lewis Art Gallery for the last few years, but he’s just accepted the position as the new Director of Engagement and Learning at the Mississippi Museum of Art – an extraordinary opportunity for him and an exciting shift in focus at the museum! We’re very happy to welcome Matthew Holl as our new gallery director for the spring. Matt also teaches Spanish at Murrah and has been active as the tech assistant for the Millsaps Players.

Isabel Gray’s Honors Thesis in Art History

Congrats to Isabel for successfully defending her art history honors thesis on Nov. 21! Her very impressive thesis is entitled “God in a Gallery: Examining the Transition from Abstraction to the Focus on the Figurative in Contemporary Religious Art.” I hope you’ll be able to come hear her presentation during the Honors Colloquium in early February.

Two New Faculty in the Art Department

A hearty though belated welcome to our two new faculty members!

Kristen Tordella-Williams

Kristen Tordella-Williams 

Kristen works across media exploring imagery and sculpture generated from the performative process. She uses performance and sculpture to investigate issues of labor, identity, gender, and memory using an array of material commonly found at hardware stores, supermarkets and recycling bins. Raised in Massachusetts, Kristen received her B.F.A in sculpture from UMass Dartmouth. She completed her M.F.A concentrating in Sculpture and Dimensional Studies from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2012. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been an artist in residence at Salem Art Works and Franconia Sculpture Park. This past June, Kristen was a visiting artist at Coles Foundry in Shaftesbury, England and was also on the documentary crew for the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art. Now, Kristen is working on building a mobile paper studio based at Millsaps. She is greatly enjoying her first year as an Assistant Professor of Art and is currently teaching Beginning Drawing, Beginning Digital Media, and Beginning Sculpture.


Monica Jovanovich-Kelley

Monica is an art historian whose research focuses on notions of urbanism, public space, depictions of labor, civic imagery and the corporate sponsorship of public art in the United States.  Her dissertation, Power and Patronage: Public Art and Corporate Mural Commissions in Los Angeles, 1928-1935, and subsequent article The Apotheosis of Power: Corporate Mural Commissions in Los Angeles during the 1930s, Public Art Dialogue (Spring, 2014) explore the use of corporate mural commissions as a tool to respond to Depression Era criticism through the intertwining of local and corporate histories. Monica is also co-editor of the forthcoming anthology, Incorporating Culture: Corporate Patronage of Art and Architecture in the United States. 

In 2014, she served as an editorial contributor for Hugo Ballin’s Los Angeles (Mapping Jewish Los Angeles, Center for Jewish Studies, UCLA, www.mappingjewishla.org) and will be presenting her research on the 1935 Sunkist mural commission at the American Studies Association conference. She will also be chairing a panel at the Western History Association conference entitled Identity in Motion: Culture and Alterity in Southern California and co-chairing a double session at the 2015 College Art Association conference entitled The Not-So-Silent Partner: Artistic Practice and Collaboration.

In 2012 Monica received a Scholar Grant from the Radical Art Caucus and in 2011 was a James and Sylvia Thayer Research Fellow at UCLA.  From 2007 to 2014, Monica was the Managing Director of the Haudenschild Garage, a non-profit alternative art space and contemporary art collection in San Diego, CA (www.haudenschildgarage.com).

Congratulations to Mary Frances Ivey!

Mary Frances, junior art history major from Laurel, presented her paper entitled “Love after Death: The Virgin’s Sweet Lamentation as a Model for Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna” at the Arts & Letters Student Research Symposium, AND she was awarded the Best Paper prize!

Millsaps’ First Affliated Artist Attracts Studio Students

We’re so pleased to announce that Suzanne Glemot (B.A., Studio Art, 2013) is our first Affiliated Artist. In this position she’s been provided with a studio in the department and will exhibit her work in the Emerging Space gallery in the spring.


Suzanne, who is also an Admissions Counselor for the college, has been instrumental in attracting a number of exciting new students to the department, and four of them now share a large studio space on the 3rd floor of the Academic Complex – the first time we’ve offered studio space to first-year students! Welcome, and congratulations, to Ninette Hickey, Krystal Jackson, Carly Ronaldi, and Maria Welch!

Maria Welch

Maria Welch

Krystal Jackson

Krystal Jackson


Fletcher Cox benches

The department is absolutely delighted to showcase the beautiful new sculptural benches in the Lewis Art Gallery, made this past summer by the nationally-known woodworker Fletcher Cox. Fletcher is a long-time resident of Tougaloo, MS, whose work is in the permanent collection of the White House in Washington, D.C., and the Mississippi Museum of Art, among other museums. His public commissions include pieces (often large–scale interior woodworking) in the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, the Mississippi Craft Center, the Federal Courthouse in Jackson, and the Eudora Welty Library, as well as various churches in Mississippi and Alabama. Fletcher won the Governor’s Award for Artistic Achievement in 2006. When asked in an interview where he gets the ideas for his work, Fletcher responded, “Ruminations on the human condition” – exactly what we want to be happening in our gallery! An excellent article on Fletcher can be found here: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2010/sep/08/fletcher-cox-negotiates-with-nature/


Lewis Art Gallery director, daniel johnson


Press Release

Mississippi Museum of Art Announces
2014 C3 Participatory Art Project
Facilitated by artist agency Significant Developments

(Jackson, Miss) … The Mississippi Museum of Art (the Museum) recently hired local relational aesthetics agency Significant Developments to facilitate a research and development art work for their annual community engaged art series C3: Conversation. Creativity. Community.

Beginning this past December, Significant Developments is enacting their art work, Core Sample, a work of Significant Developments, LLC, as part of the C3 series. Core Sample is a process of community sampling, inviting Mississippians and visitors to submit symbols which reflect their individual identity. These symbols are transcribed onto clay bells which will be presented in resonance with each other as a public installation in The Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art (The Art Garden). The project is running through March 14, 2014.

The bell assembly line is fully participatory and is located inside the Entergy Classroom at the Museum operating Thursdays from 10 AM-2 PM, Saturdays from 1-5 PM, and during the entire week of Spring Break March 11-14.. The bell assembly line involves the public in the hand-built ceramic process, creating bells for the survey. People are invited to work at various stations along the line so as to be connected to the collection of bells rather than making their own individual bell. Symbols collected state-wide are inscribed onto the bells at the final station.

About Significant Developments
Significant Developments is a socially engaged art work acting within the legal framework of a limited liability company. Chief Aesthetics Officer daniel johnson leads a team of artists to facilitate communities and organizations in strategic advancement through capacity-building aesthetic interactions.

Alumna Sue Carrie Drummond

sue carrie 1sue carrie 2a

Sue Carrie (2012), who just completed her first year in an MFA program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, exhibited a letterpress book April 12-May 4, 2014, in the juried show “Diversions” at Press Street’s Antenna Gallery on  St. Claude, organized by a book arts collective in New Orleans called SIFT (Sequence, Image, Form, Text). She also had a quilted book exhibited at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.



New York Trip!

Elise Smith, Professor of Art History, took six students (all art history majors or minors) and one parent to New York City May 4-8, and a wonderful time was had by all! We spent a day at the Museum of Modern Art, a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and half a day at the Brooklyn Museum (where we were given an amazing behind-the-scenes tour, including an hour in the conservation lab being shown various conservation projects in progress). Some of us made side trips to the Frick and the Guggenheim, and some managed to fit in one or two Broadway shows as well as a little shopping thrown in for good measure. In addition to mastering (?) the subway and bus system, we did a LOT of walking, the better to see some of that great city’s architecture!

Awards Day, April 2014

Congratulations to the following award recipients!

Excellence in Art History Award – Megan Starke

Art History Paper Award – Abed Haddad

Outstanding Junior Studio Art Award – Emily Simmons


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