University of Rochester

Optical Scientist Wins Prestigious Vision Research Award

July 15, 2005

The Department of Art and Art History and the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester has received $30,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation in recognition of their commitment to American art history.

Funds will be used by graduate students for materials, travel, and early stages of research toward dissertations on topics in American art history and visual culture.

"This kind of seed money allows students the flexibility to travel, to explore archival and museum research, and to 'test the waters' before they apply for more substantial grants," said Janet Catherine Berlo, professor of art history/visual and cultural studies and co-director of the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies. "The wonderful thing about the Luce Fellowship money is that the department can award it at will; a small program like ours can help students as they begin their independent research and writing."

Funds from the Luce Foundation have supported such dissertation research projects at the University of Rochester as those by Kirsi Peltomäki on strategies of institutional critique in recent American art, Leanne Gilbertson on women performers in Warhol's Factory and the Judson Dance Theater, and Catherine Zuromskis on snapshot photography and the public sphere.

During its more than two decades of grant making, the Luce Foundation has awarded upwards of 250 dissertation fellowships to top scholars in the field of American art. The foundation's sustained, multifaceted program is credited with transforming the study, appreciation, and accessibility of American art in this country. More than $100 million has been provided by the foundation exclusively for the study and presentation of American art.

At the University of Rochester, the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies offers an interdisciplinary doctoral degree drawing on coursework and faculty expertise in several of the University's humanities departments. Students have the opportunity to study critically and analyze visual culture from a social-historical perspective. The program is housed in the Department of Art and Art History.