Abby Slawik is currently in her first semester in the Non-Degree Program in Art History. She is enrolled in Imaging the Other: Representation of/in Pre-Columbian and Early Colonial Mexico and Peru.
Where did you go as an undergrad and what did you study?
I went to NYU for studio art.
What was your career prior to your decision to enter the Non-Degree program in Art History?
I was a picture framer (design and production), as well as an art installer, for several years after graduation. I am also interning with a couple of conservation labs in the Twin Cities. These experiences have helped me understand some of the material language in the class.
What drew you to the University of St. Thomas?
Their course offerings are innovative, not overly generalized, and all have the potential for primary source study here in the Twin Cities. Also, they offer courses at night. I have a busy schedule during regular business hours with jobs and internships, so the class schedule really helps me out.
What advice would you give someone considering graduate study in art history at the University of St. Thomas?
Take advantage of all of the networking and professional development opportunities! The Twin Cities have a world-class, but accessible, arts community, and you WILL meet people who will help you out professionally. The arts/museum field is very competitive and sometimes you have to make it up as you go along. Don’t forget to stay flexible, stay interested, and have a plan B, and maybe a plan C too, just in case.
What are you currently interested in?
I recently helped with a conservation treatment on an artwork by Simon Sparrow, a self-taught, or “outsider” artist. I am interested in studying the processes of this artist more in depth, and more broadly, how the “outsider” artist phenomenon caught on in the 20th century and sparked a cutthroat resale market.
How are your classes this semester?
I am enjoying the informal research we are doing in Dr. Barnes’s class about various rumors, scandals, or unproven theories. It is a real hands-on approach, and is helping hone my research skills.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Keeping up with the reading is keeping me on my toes. I haven’t had this much homework for a few years, so I’m out of practice! I am also behind some of my classmates, because I haven’t taken any of the foundational “Methods” courses.