Art & Art History students at UMKC come from all over the world and explore diverse interests. Get to know our students, and you’ll learn what our programs are about.
Cara Nordengren is a Nelson-Atkins Scholar
Art History | College of Arts and Sciences | 2019
What do you do as a Nelson-Atkins Scholar?
I’m doing independent research in the Nelson on a special exhibition that came through, Luxury: Treasures of the Roman Empire. And I’m doing work with the permanent collections and then research about Roman glass and Roman marble and carbon techniques.
What do you want your legacy to be after graduation day?
Positivity – I think that’s what I’d like my legacy to be. Positivity and community.
I would love to become an art curator. Being able to bring the world of fine arts to more people. I feel like people get intimidated about art. I want people to be able to have more of an access to art. Art just has such a calming influence on my life. I feel like more people should be able to have access to that. I’d also love to travel more and see the world and learn about people. I love learning, so getting to know how different parts of the world work and how different people think would be great.
How do you feel UMKC will help you achieve your goals?
Definitely the people here. Most everyone that I’ve interacted with has been really helpful and out to make sure that you really succeed. Also giving me introductions and access to the right people. Because where I’m at in my life right now I definitely would not be if I hadn’t come to UMKC and taken the right classes and shook hands with the right people. Connections.
Myles Cheadle Experiments with Jazz-Inspired Quilts
Why did you choose Art History?
I love art! I was pursuing studio art as a career and had my first show at the American Jazz Museum. The curator, Sonié Ruffin, saw my potential and took me under her wing. I am currently working as an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in the photography department at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Between these two organizations, I have worked with amazing scholars and learned basic museum operations, performed research and cataloguing, and worked on exhibitions.
What are you currently working on?
My work focuses on 20th century American photography. I presented a paper at a conference in Minneapolis about Gordon Parks’ photography for Life magazine in the 1950s. I’m also working on a photography exhibition at the Nelson, and received a research grant that will allow me to travel to New York this summer and visit The Gordon Parks Foundation to continue my research.
In my studio art practice, I’ve been experimenting with jazz-inspired quilts. There are a lot of qualities in jazz that correlate with quilting: improvisation, asymmetry, rhythm, color, etc. I listen to different songs like Miles Davis’ “So What,” and design quilts that aesthetically respond to certain characteristics of the song.