Jessy Saffell is currently in her second semester in the M.A. Art History/Museum Studies Certificate program. Last fall, Jessy was enrolled in one of the graduate program foundational courses, ARHS500: Methods and Approaches to Art History. Currently, she is enrolled in two seminars this spring: ARHS515: Asmat Museum and Beyond: Collections, Colonialism and Controversy – Exhibiting Non-Western Art and ARHS535: Seeing Otherness: Afropean Intersections.
Where did you go as an undergrad and what did you study?
I went to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, right near Uptown. I graduated with my BFA in Illustration.
What drew you to the University St. Thomas?
My motivation came from the Museum Studies Certificate, as I want to curate professionally. The University of St. Thomas is the only university that has the curating component integrated in their M.A. Art History in the surrounding area. In addition, after talking with Dr. Shirey (Director of the Art History Graduate Program) and Dr. Yahr (Assistant Professor and Director, Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies) I definitely felt welcomed and comfortable here, which made it clear that, yes, this is where I want to be.
What advice would you give someone thinking of coming to UST Graduate Art History/Museum Studies Certificate program?
First thing, talk to the faculty. That was the big contributing factor for me, as they were welcoming and easy to talk to. Secondly, if you can, come and see the campus. It’s good to get the feel of what you will potentially be spending money on, in addition to where you will be spending a good amount of time.
What are you currently interested in?
I have always been a huge fan of Renaissance art. That is definitely where my passion is in the field of Art History. I specifically am interested in religious Renaissance art and looking at the history that influenced those religious pieces. This peaks my curiosity.
However, I am interested in Vincent Van Gogh as well. There are distinctive turns in his life, which parallel mine, in addition to the fact that my favorite painting (Starry Night) of his was painted exactly 100 years before I was born. There are just some unique parallels between our timelines.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Getting back into the swing of school after being out of it for five years. In addition, getting the confidence back and knowing that I’m not going to know all the right answers right away. In relation to this, it’s okay to struggle and ask for help. So in a nutshell, getting back into the school routine, habit and mindset.