Conference Abroad Series – #2

Going Abroad to attend a conference includes getting to see places related to its purpose. In this case, the 2016 Annual International Conference for Paragone Studies took place in Manchester, in the northwest part of England, said to be the world’s first industrial city.  Activities included in the trip were planned to interest art historians, so of course on Excursion Day the participants were offered the option of accompanying us to visit John Rylands Library as our first stop.


Just a short walking distance from our hotel, we set out in the city center.  What I noticed and admired was the fact that people do much more walking here.  Stopping at some of the corners in order to cross a street, words are written on the ground around the curve of the corner that say, “Look Left,” or, ”Look Right,” indicating the direction of potential oncoming one-way traffic.  On the sidewalks next to many of the buildings were worn glass tiles from which you could discern light showing through to lower levels of the buildings.  It added to the charm of the architecture that very closely resembled the Harry Potter movies.

I was curious why a library was on our list of places to see among the art museums.  It stood in stark contrast next to a very modern-looking building.  It was charming, though it did not stand out to me among the various time periods represented in this cityscape.  However, as soon as we stepped inside, I knew exactly why we were here.  The John Rylands Library is said to be one of the finest libraries in the world and best example of neo-Gothic architecture in Europe. Taking ten years to build, according to the design by architect Basil Champneys (1842-1935), the library was a tribute by Mrs. Rylands to her late husband John Rylands who was Manchester’s first textile millionaire.

Although all of the bookshelves are encased under glass with Art-Nouveau locks, a style amidst the Victorian Gothic, this is very much a working library.  Researches from all over the world can easily gain access to the books and items in the collection that spans 5000 years from all corners of the world.  One of the art historians from the conference, as a matter of fact, made use of the opportunity to stay behind during this stop on our excursion to see a book for research.  I made a mental note for future reference that these professional scholars make use of all opportunities to research, view and photograph items relevant to their work, including during conference trips.  Why not?

The original Entrance Hall contains a group of statues called, Theology directing the labours of Science and Art by Irish sculptor John Cassidy (1860-1939), who also created the sculptures of John Rylands himself overlooking the Historic Reading Room and Mrs. Rylands from the opposite end.  The stained glass windows and numerous sculptures aligning the reading room, draw from theology, literature, the arts and science, as a fitting tribute to those individuals who have contributed to human knowledge.  Every inch of the building and its contents reflect the beauty of the period, well-known for its florid ornamentation.  It was an exceptionally beautiful place for one to be immersed in the atmosphere of another time while researching from primary sources.

After perusing the library, I gathered the conference participants and led them outside to meet our taxi’s for our next stop on this Excursion Day.  I think now of why should this matter to the students at UM-Flint?  Maybe the best way to put it is: Education Abroad makes things more real than you can get out of books or the internet.  When you can actually see the scale of something surrounding you, when you can touch it, move through it and take it in as a whole…it begins to broaden possibilities.

It’s time to start thinking about what you are studying and how you can gain experience from going abroad for a conference, or for an academic program.  Yes, it enhances your studies, but it also allows you to experience another culture in the day-to-day and with this comes meeting new people.  You are going to meet people who share your interests and passions, people beneficial to you professionally and people who may become lifelong friends.  Go for it.


The John Rylands Library -Visitor Information, University of Manchester, Deansgate, Manchester, UK, 2016.






*Some images in this blogpost are designated from (c) 2016 The University of Manchester, all rights reserved.  All others images are courtesy of the author.






Coming Soon!  Next stop in the Conference Abroad Series- #3: The Monastery in Gorton.



Conference Abroad Series – #1

conferenceWhen going abroad for a scholarly conference, there are many things that can be gleaned from this amazing experience that feeds into one’s life, education and career. Whatever your reasons for thinking about travel to a faraway place for a conference, I assure you that you will return with much more than you initially considered.  In this Conference Abroad Series, I will be sharing my experiences in hopes that you will seriously consider the advantages of traveling abroad at some point during your college career.

First, let me tell you a little bit about myself to give you some background into why I decided to go to Manchester, UK through an opportunity to participate in several ways at an Art History conference.  I came to UM-Flint to finish my art degree.  However, as many transfer students know, universities require a certain number of credit hours to be taken ‘in residence’ at their school.  Jumping through those hoops included taking more art history, something I had not enjoyed at other schools I had attended.  From my course experience, I thought it was simply boring memorization.  That is, until I tookgallery-header_1000 my first course at UM-Flint from Dr. Sarah Lippert.  I had never taken a course like this before, full of information in regards to history, philosophy, politics, economics, science and much more, all as they relate to putting art in context for understanding the why-when-where-how of their creation and display.  My eyes opened, and very wide, I might add.  Her courses made me think much differently about art.  They enabled me to communicate about it on levels I had never even considered before through writing and public speaking.  As it turned out, it was not enough for me to simply complete my art degree, a BFA in Printmaking and Drawing, so I added a second degree in Art History and Criticism.  I could not stop there.  I am currently enrolled in the Arts Administration program to further my interest in museums, galleries and other spaces, and to learn ways to help other artists achieve their professional goals through entrepreneurship and working with arts organizations and events.  All of this came about because of my eye-opening experience in the first art history class I took here.  It changed me.

So why did I decide to go to this conference?  What difference would it make?  Honestly, I almost decided not to go, but then I had a change of heart….my passport beckoned me to have a stamp from somewhere off this continent.  So yes, that was a benefit, albeit a small one in the scheme of things.  When it came down to it, I wanted to learn.

manchester_hotel-viewGoing to this conference meant that I would be participating in a variety of roles.  The ideas that swirled in my head were about what I intended to learn about conducting a conference, as assistant to the director, about whether it would feel different participating as Chair to one of the sessions introducing professional scholars, and then presenting a paper along with them as a graduate student.  I thought about the places we would visit and what I hoped to see that would enhance my own academic program and at the same time inform the research that I am presenting to you in this blog.  Little did I know.

In this series of blog posts I will go more in depth, but let me just say that going abroad for a conference is much more than the ideas that swirled in my head as I watched the calendar until it was time to pack and head to the airport.  It gave me so much more than I anticipated, and yes, it is much different than attending a conference locally or domestically.  It’s better in so many ways that I will be telling you about.  Until then, I urge you to check out every opportunity to go abroad while you are attending UM-Flint.  Don’t let the finances scare you.  There are a myriad of programs and opportunities available to fund your trip.  Talk with faculty and visit the link and get started!  Education Abroad Office at University of Michigan-Flint.


“Let’s Do This,” my view while sitting on the plane, getting ready to leave Flint, Michigan to fly to Manchester, UK.


1st Annual Summer Landscape Exhibition

landscapes_smSummer Landscapes have never looked so good, as you will see when you visit the UCEN Fine Art Gallery October 14th – 28th.  Mike Sevick’s class ventured outside this summer to capture the season and take their skills to a new level outside the typical studio classroom environment.

For art students, it takes them out of their comfort-zone where they explore and experience painting in a changing environment, whether it be the wind, the sun or just sitting on the grass taking in nature.

For non-art students, this is an exhibition where you can see the types of talent being honed in our Visual Art programs and hopefully it will entice you to try your hand at one of the many courses offered in art at UM-Flint.

For more art, please visit our Facebook page UM-Flint Art News & Events.





UCEN Fine Art Gallery Calendar

Here is the current lineup for the UCEN Fine Art Gallery at the University of Michigan-Flint.  As additional exhibitions are added, we will be updating this Calendar to let you know what is happening at the Gallery.  Please stop in and check out art work by faculty and student artists.  See what is being produced in our Art and Art History Programs, and visit us on Facebook for the latest UM-Flint Art News & Events, as well as interesting art-related topics, calls for art, and local exhibitions & events to visit! If you are interested in purchasing art, please visit our Fine Art Gallery page to view art and get contact information for our artists.ucen-calendar_2016and2017


The Conference Experience

To students who may or may not have considered participating in a conference, I highly recommend that they take this valuable step toward their future careers.  UM-Flint has so many opportunities available to students to take advantage of that will set them apart and give them an edge.  I recently had the opportunity to participate in a conference the week of September 19 – 25,  with art historians from all over the United States, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, England and France, which took place at the Manchester Art Gallery in Manchester, UK.    It was my first time traveling beyond our shores and honestly, it was not until an entire day had passed, after I returned home, that it occurred to me to look at the new stamp in my passport.    Although I can now say that I have been to England, I must point out that this was very much a ‘working’ trip.  Attending a conference is not a vacation of sightseeing and leisure, it is a focused and purposeful trip that entails many functions that relate to my research, provides networking opportunities with fellow academics, and allowed me to not only hear new scholarship on various art historical topics, but to participate shoulder to shoulder on a professional level with scholars who excel in their field.

Attending the 2016 Annual International Conference for the Paragone Society was a glimpse into the world of my future career, a prestigious entry for my resume and curriculum vitae, and a most valuable opportunity to examine art works in person.    On a personal level, the experience gave me a chance to see how I ‘measure up’ at this point in my studies, to evaluate where I want to take my research, and what skills I wish to hone.  At the same time, working as an assistant to the Paragone Society’s director, Dr. Sarah Lippert, has given me behind-the-scenes experience in conducting a conference, a much more complicated endeavor than I would have imagined, had I not had this experience.  In all, I would have to say that ‘The Conference Experience’ has reinforced to me that I have something unique to bring to the table.  It has raised my level of confidence and shown me that I do indeed have a perspective, a background, and a voice to contribute.  Are you considering participating in a conference?  My advice:  Just Do It.  You will be glad you did.





Art Scholars Present

The 2016 Annual International Conference in Paragone Studies takes place this year at the Manchester Art Gallery, England.  Dr. Sarah Lippert, Dr. Linda Johnson, and graduate student in Arts Administration, Mary Kelly, of the University of Michigan-Flint, will be among scholars from the USA, France, Poland, England, Switzerland, Italy and Greece to present scholarly research at:


The 5th Annual International Conference in Paragone Studies
September 22-23, 2016
Manchester Art Gallery, England
Hosted by the Society of Paragone Studies
in partnership with the Flint Institute of Arts



The annual conference examines the paragone, or rivalry in artistic practice and its related fields. All disciplines relevant to inter-arts rivalry are eligible to be featured, such as art history and visual culture, aesthetic theory, literary theory and comparative literature, philosophy, critical theory, visual communications, cultural studies, and musicology, amongst others. Rivalry from all eras of history and global contexts will be considered.

The Society of Paragone Studies is dedicated to scholarship on the history of artistic rivalry, from any period and in any medium. SPS is affiliated with CAA, SECAC, AND ATSAH. Questions should be directed to paragonestudies@gmail.com

Stay tuned for upcoming conference news on this blog!


Artists Treading Water Exhibition

An exhibition of students, alumni, faculty and community artists is on view at the UCEN Fine Art Gallery June 13 – 22, in the Harding Mott Building at the University of Michigan-Flint.  The theme of the show, Artists Treading Water, in response to the Flint Water Crisis, includes Photography, Painting, 3-D Installation and Poetry by artists represented in a chapter of the upcoming book release by student and author, Gale Glover called, “Flint: The Death and Rebirth of a City.” It is the first time a partnership of this kind has been displayed in the gallery and represents a unification between the university and the community toward a common goal to raise awareness, and to share the Flint Water Crisis experience through artistic expression.   Meet the artists and enjoy refreshments on 6/15 Weds. 5 -7pm or visit the gallery Monday – Friday 8-5pm.





Will Alston, Capturing the Moments of the Flint Water Crisis,









Will Alston, Capturing the Moments of the Flint Water Crisis,








Jjenna Hupp Andrews, …and the children shall inherit a land flowing with milk and honey,

Industrial felt, beeswax, Flint water, water bottles, bowls, Installation.








Jjenna Hupp Andrews, The Second Grace:  Purity,

Steel fence, water bottles, justice scales, Flint water, 30 pieces of silver, Installation.









Jim Cheek, Protecting the Innocent,








Leon Collins, Flint River: Damn Bars,

Digital photograph with oil paint filter, $50.







Leon Collins, Flint River: Pollution Green Sludge,

Digital photograph with oil paint filter, $50.






Leon Collins, Flint River: Red Drinking Water,

Digital photograph with oil paint filter, $50.






Leon Collins, Flint River: Contamination, Hope for the Future,

Digital photograph with oil paint filter, $50.






Leon Collins, Flint River: Bar Code Red,

Digital photograph with oil paint filter, $50.








Tracy Currie, She Flint,










Robert Downer, Down the Drain,

Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 in., $150.









Robert Downer, No Bathwater,

Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 in., $150.






Pauly M. Everett, The Great Wave (Flint Remix),

Mixed-media on wood panel, 30 x 40 in., $200.






Pauly M. Everett, Native Girl,

Mixed-media on wood panel, 30 x 40 in., $200.








Gale Glover, Genocide,











Gale Glover, Rebirth,










Rhonda Jones, Scattered Voices 1 (blue), Scattered Voices 2 (red), Scattered Voices 3 (yellow),

Mixed-media, 15 x 16 in., $50 each.








Criss Kelly, Trapped,

Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 30 in., NFS










Criss Kelly, Submerged,

Acrylic and ink wash on paper, 12 x 18 in., NFS







Janice McCoy, Free Water,

Acrylic wash, charcoal, Flint water on canvas, 18 x 24 in., NFS









Carrie Riley, The Real Crisis,










Ashley Thornton, Ambition,

Acrylic on canvas, 3 x 5 ft., $850.






Artists Treading Water is an exhibition representing the artists featured in a chapter of the upcoming book release of “Flint: The Death & Rebirth of a City” by Gale Glover, a current student at the University of Michigan Flint.

Gale's Event poster




Photographer Takes a Stand

Kimberly Weymers_flyer

The UCEN Fine Art Gallery at UM-Flint proudly presents a very moving exhibition by Kimberly Weymers, titled, “The Scars Left Behind” which confronts the viewer with an important social issue that most of us have experienced at one time or another during our lives.

Weymer’s focus is on children and teens is described in her Artist Statement.  Her presentation of this issue struck me, in particular, with the way she placed the ‘hurtful words’ distinctly at eye-level.  I found this to be a very provocative choice in her curation because it evoked that “in-your-face” feeling that essentially duplicates the experience that these children and teens have when these words are said to them.  The images and quotes are heart-piercing, they are large and hung in such a way that one gets that sense of being surrounded, much like these kids do when they cannot escape the continual bullying.

Weymer’s has taken a social issue and put it in our faces to make us aware.  She has given us real faces to relate to and she successfully communicates her poignant message that words are not simply words….the have meanings that cut deeply and become a pain that can linger for a lifetime. This Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition has brought us to a new level for what these exhibitions can provide.  This artist has used the opportunity to create an experience for social change.  I invite you to see it and let it change you as well.

Kimberly WeymersArtist Statement

This ongoing series of portraits were made shortly after one of my son’s friends from school committed suicide.

Since the inception of this project, he has currently lost three more friends and a family member all under the age of sixteen.  As teenage suicide becomes more prevalent, it became apparent that I had to create something to bring awareness to how bullying profoundly affects everyone, young and old.

When someone is bullied, the scars it generates will haunt them for the rst of their lives, as they are left behind in the unconsciousness of our minds.  The hurtful and insensitive words can penetrate even the most mundane of activities until you reach a breaking point.  Children are not mentally ready to appropriately cope with the continuous name calling and insults thrown at them on a daily basis.  Therefore, they succumb to depression, cutting and in extreme cases, suicide.

Drawing inspiration from my own children who have been greatly impacted by the endless barrage of bullying allowed to occur in our public school system.  I would like to give a voice to those who have suffered as my children have.  I asked each participant to write their most hurtful “bully” word on a white board for the world to see and to face the camera.  I asked them to think about how they felt when someone called them this word.  Looking at the images, you are immediately aware of their pain and can recognize the discomfort in their eyes.  This raises the question, “Why are we, as humans, inclined to wound one another in this way and how can we stop it?”————-Kimberly Weymers

See more of her work at:  kimberlyweymers.weebly.com





Student Awards!

The University of Michigan-Flint’s Annual Student Art Exhibition presented the following awards on May 13, 2016: 

  • Janice McCoy – Outstanding Achievement in Visual Arts – The recipient of this award is an extraordinary student who not only is a master in one medium, but also demonstrates excellence in other media; or, a student who demonstrates excellence in a combination of art and art historical acheivement.  Recipients of this award have also exhibited a passion for the visual arts.
  • Lena Gayar and Mary Kelly – Excellence in Civic Engagement – The recipients of this award balance academic performance with significant contributions to local or regional communities.  Helping non-profit organizations, collaborating with charities, might be examples of this kind of achievement.



 AWARDS IN ARTISTIC DISCIPLINES – Visual Arts achievement awards celebrate students of high academic achievement who have demonstrated creative / academic excellence in an award category. These artists are exemplary in their field.

  • Heidi Hals – Excellence in Design
  • Alexander Theodoroff – Excellence in Media Design
  • Alicia Music Shaver – Excellence in Photography
  • Ashley Thornton – Excellence in Painting
  • Kerry Ann Morey – Excellence in Drawing
  • Symantha Foreman – Excellence in Ceramics
  • Rachel Pappas – Excellence in Sculpture
  • Emily Legleitner – The Martin Anderson Excellence in Printmaking


aaa STRIPAWARDS IN FIELDS OF STUDY – Recipients of the awards in art history and art education are leaders in their fields both academically and in terms of overall achievement in the discipline.  Such students demonstrate a love of learning for the discipline, and a talent for its study. *Academic awards are based on recommendations from faculty in art and art history.

  • Cheyenne Serrato – Excellence in Art Education
  • Taylor Fritz – Excellence in Art History



ACHIEVEMENT IN RESEARCH –  In recognition for their successful presentation at this year’s symposium.  Each presented undergraduate or graduate research of the highest caliber to the Flint community at the Flint Institute of Arts.

  • Angela WhitlockTony Shafrazi and Guernica:  How Museums Can Benefit from Acts of Vandalism and Prevent Future Incidents
  • Mary KellyOverlooked Ornamentation:  Italian Devotional Paintings as Images of Power
  • Leon CollinsModern Day Renaissance Men
  • Marta WattersChardin:  An Innovative Mind


aaa STRIPJURIED AWARDS – Juried awards are selected by representatives from the academic offices, or by this year’s external juror Donovan Entrekin, Director of the Art School at the Flint Institute of Arts.


  • BEST IN SHOW – Sarah Coulter, “Map,” Cast Glass.
  • EXCEPTIONAL MERIT – Janice McCoy, “Carousel in Motion,” diptych, Oil on Canvas
  • ARTIST’S VOICE – Emily Legleitner
  • PATTY MORELLO MEMORIAL AWARD – Nicole Fenech, “Octavia,” Mixed Media Sculpture
  • BEST ART-HISTORICAL RECREATION AWARD – Kerry Ann Morey, “Cleopatra Recreated,” Oil on Canvas
  • ARTS IN LEGISLATURE Award – Breanna Kerrison, “Bits and Pieces,” Digital Print
  • CHANCELLOR’S CHOICE Award – Rachel Pappas, “Magical Forest,” Stained Glass and Wood
  • PROVOST’S CHOICE Award – Wendy Brown, “Imagine, Believe, Achieve,” Digital Print Collage
  • DEAN’S CHOICE Award – Linsey Cummings, “Lego Logan,” Digital Print
  • LIBRARY COLLECTION CHOICE Award – Sarah Coulter, “Map,” Cast Glass


aaa STRIPACKNOWLEDGEMENTS – Certificates of Appreciation for Community Partners


  • Greg Fiedler, President of the Greater Flint Arts Council
  • Buckham Art Gallery
  • Flint Institute of Arts
  • Flint Public Art Project
  • Megan McAdow of the Applewood Estate
  • Mary Black, Jacob Blumner, and Mona Younis at UM-Flint University Outreach
  • Neighborhood Engagement Hub & Friends of Max Brandon Park
  • Ryan Kelsey of Davison Community Schools
  • Thumb Correctional Facility Program Director Wendy Conner



Exhibition Poster DesignHeidi Hals

Exhibition Program Design – Emily Legleitner in collaboration with Heidi Hals


Exhibition Organizers

  • Cristen Velliky, Associate Professor of Art;
  • Jessica Schatko, Master of Arts Administration Graduate Assistant



An Extraordinary Evening

Tim and Dr. L_4It was no ordinary, windy evening in Flint.  Downtown, ArtWalk had drawn people out for numerous events, restaurants were poised for hungry customers, signs had appeared on sidewalks and buildings. a wedding party had just stepped outside of a church for photos and a band was setting up at the GFAC Gallery.  It was here, that UM-Flint students, faculty, guests, friends, family and ArtWalk enthusiasts gathered to get a look at what the art, design, and art history students have been working on throughout the year. It was one event on a long list among others.  Looking down Saginaw street, people passed along the sidewalks, some dressed in their everyday clothes, others dressed in formal attire, all with places to go and things to see.  The wind blew them about, persuading them toward the gallery where something special was taking place.

Inside, people stood nearly shoulder to shoulder admiring the work, balancing their refreshments on small plates and hoping not to spill their drinks as they nudged their way through.  Their conversations merged and the space brimmed with a hum that increased in volume and movement as faculty members formed a line alongside of the lucky few who had claimed seats facing the stage.  It was no small feat to gain the attention of the crowd.  Many ArtWalk enthusiasts were unaware of this special night.  The faculty-formed border surrounding that space carved out for the Awards Ceremony to recognize Student Achievements and Juried Awards for the exhibition.  Those in the crowd who understood the significance of these Artshow-Posterapplauded and cheered as each award and name was announced.  Cellphones were raised from every angle to capture the elated smiles of the students who came forward.  The crowd was urged several times to quiet and the hum lowered to some degree, as the program continued, but among them, embedded in this throng, were students….students who had been sworn to secrecy!

“Why” you ask?  (Don’t deny it, I heard you.)  What happened next was something that had never happened before at the Annual Student Art Exhibition.  It’s purpose is to recognize students after all. But, this year was different.  This year a group of students and alumni got together, on their own, and decided it was time to recognize two faculty for continually going above and beyond to benefit the students.  It took numerous discussions, the tossing of numerous ideas back and forth until, they came up with something that expressed the heart-felt gratitude they have for these faculty members, Tim Kranz and Dr. Sarah Lippert.

Tim Krantz_Awards  Each of them were presented with a Certificate of Award, in appreciation for their selfless dedication and commitment to the art students at the University of Michigan-Flint, given by the students of the Visual Arts Program.  In addition to this, Tim Kranz and Dr. Sarah Lippert now have Stars named after them.  Yes, there are now stars in the actual sky that now bear their names!  They were both presented with star certificates which bear the ‘coordinates’ of their stars in space, complete with their registry number and a star-chart for locating them.  These two faculty were then presented with journals in which students signed their names and wrote personal messages to describe the impact that Tim and Sarah have made indelibly upon their lives.

The evening of May 13th was a most memorable evening, filled with excitement, anticipation, and a blustery sensation that something different was in the air.  It was the annual high-point for students to showcase the best of their work and be recognized, but more than that, it was an opportunity for them to come together in one voice, to give something back….and what they said in that one voice was loud and clear.

They said, “Thank you, Tim Kranz and Dr. Lippert, for giving us your best.”