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Department ofArt and Art History

Recent Alumni Updates

Where have all our alumni gone?

Here are the most recent stories of our Art and Art History alumni and what they have been up to. We would love to hear from you!

Courtney Haney, Art History major, 2010

As a television programming executive, I owe my career success all to my Art History education; where I not only gained exceptional critical reasoning skills, but more specifically the ability to communicate about visual art forms (in my case, tv shows) in a persuasive way.
Executive Director, International Programming & Editorial Strategy for Starz

Persia Liu, Art History major, 2022

My name is Persia Liu (Art History ‘22), and I am currently working a ten-week Spring term internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York! I am in the Department of Asian Art assisting the Collections Management team and my main task is to scan catalog cards and update the collections database. Amidst my other tasks, I attend weekly moderated discussions hosted by the museum Education Department, and through these discussions, I and my fellow interns meet people across departments in order to gain glimpses into the myriad career paths possible within museum institutions.

Museum of Art NY

During my final year at SCU, I worked first as an intern and then as a student employee at the de Saisset Museum on campus. My role was essentially a student research assistant position, but I was able to gain valuable skills and experiences working with all members of the museum's permanent staff as well as other student interns and employees. It is these skills I learned through practical application at the de Saisset in addition to my coursework in the Art History Department that prepared me for my current internship, my enthusiasm for museum work, and ultimately, my love of art.

Brittany Benjamin Amante, Art History major, 2010

In May 2021, I completed graduate school with my Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy with a specialization in art therapy. My background in art history was a huge asset in working towards my art therapy degree. More than anything, it taught me how to find meaning in art and how to employ visual thinking strategies in order to look deeper and ask more questions.

Rhiannon Janeschild, Art History major, 2020

In October 2021 I am displaying my work as a part of Santa Cruz Open Studios. Open studios is an opportunity for local Santa Cruz artists to open up their studio workplace to the community and showcase their art. My studio is located at 235 first avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, open 11-5. All are welcome. It was during my time at Santa Clara within the art department where I found a deep passion for painting. The encouragement, critique, and thoughtful dialogue I experienced within the department gave me a strong base of ideas and skills to begin exploring my own artistic path.

Aley Even, Art History major, 2020

I am currently in my second year at Boston College Law School! My sophomore year art history proseminar class felt like it was the hardest class I'd ever take. I remember struggling through the readings and getting lost in discussions. But it was also by far the most rewarding class because I came out of it with the ability to really think critically about really complex subjects. When I decided to go to law school, I was nervous because knew most people would have pre-law majors like political science and philosophy but now that I'm here, I feel like every class is prosem! Before you start law school, everyone you meet (especially lawyers) constantly tells you how hard it is and how much reading you will have and how scary the professors are when they cold call you in front of the whole class. They were right on all counts of course, but I ultimately feel really prepared to read convoluted fact patterns and discuss complex legal theory largely thanks to the art history classes I took at SCU. I am so grateful to the incredible art history professors and their thoughtful, fascinating classes that some how landed me in law school. Even though I did not continue in the art field, I am so glad I studied art history!

Ricardo Cortez, Studio Art major, 2007

Returning to Santa Clara University (which has always been my goal) as a Director of Marketing at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. After graduating and the economic downturn of 2008 I found a job in Gilroy at a newspaper company creating advertisements and working on website designs. After a year I landed a marketing role which was heavily focused on community design and website maintenance with the City of San Jose Parks and Recreation department. I worked there for 10 years and gained my Masters in Digital Media from SJSU where I began a more intentional art practice. Prior to my MFA I was doing freelance design work website building and some creative work for the local lowrider community. The skills that I learned at Santa Clara carried throughout my career with Parks and Rec. and successfully allowed me to expand my creative process during my MFA where I applied graphic design, web, and mixed media skills to all of my work. Without the fundamental knowledge I gained at SCU I would have never had the artistic skill set to succeed. Now, I am back at SCU honing my skills as a marketer while pushing the envelope of design to a global community and helping amplify the mission of Miller Center and SCU Jesuit values. My art practice has evolved to a local art figure within the lowrider / chicano community and abroad having exhibited my artwork nationally, awarded for art achievements, and have been published internationally. It feels great to be back home where it all started for me. This is where I found my artistic spark, had it not been for an advisor, I probably would have flunked out of the school. I am forever grateful.

Sam Nelson, Art History major, 2015

I am in into my second year of graduate program in Nonprofit Management at Columbia University, where I am focusing on building my management and fundraising skills to be a future arts leader in New York. I am particularly interested in the area of grant support, specifically for arts education programs at fine art museums.

Persia Liu, Art History major, 2022

This October I visited the Venice Biennale! I limited my visit to the two main venues, Arsenale and Giardini, enormous locations which house both historical and contemporary artworks by artists across the world. I dedicated one day to each venue and made sure to read every label and wall text. The main exhibition of the Biennale is held every second year in the two main venues, and pavilions across the city showcase arts from specific countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Palestine, Scotland, and the United States. This year’s exhibition was entitled The Milk of Dreams, inspired by a children’s book by British-born Mexican painter Leonora Carrington, and explores themes regarding the body, relationships between and amongst bodies, and bodies’ interactions with both nature and technology. The show was curated by Cecilia Alemani and is on view from April 23 until November 27, 2022.

Hannah Baker, Art History major, 2016

During my senior year at Santa Clara, I was unsure of my professional path. I had loved my last art history courses, but I was not sure if graduate school was the next step. I had toyed with serving in the Peace Corps for a few years and ended up starting the application process in early 2016. By graduation time, I knew I would be joining and by the end of the summer, I knew I would be serving in Jamaica. Spending 27 months in a foreign country was a privilege and helped connect me to a new culture. During the first year my post-Peace Corps plan began to reveal itself and eventually I knew I wanted to apply to graduate school, specifically to study Jamaican art. It was through the Peace Corps website that I found the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. This small school not only makes room for, but encourages interdisciplinary practices, which fits my approach to education, and the Jesuit approach to educating the whole person. My time at SCU, specifically with the Art History program, gave me a solid educational foundation for graduate study and discussion. My art history professors taught and encouraged me to question what I see and experience, and I am now in an educational program that demands it. I have had about two weeks of classes here at Gallatin/NYU. These courses are already challenging me to think differently about matters of class, race, art, theory, and education. It is not always comfortable. Peace Corps was not always comfortable. Santa Clara's Art History program set me on the path (and gave me the tools) to embrace that which is uncomfortable as a marker of learning, rather than failure. Thank you, SCU Department of Art and Art History!

Ciaran Freeman, Studio Art major and Art History major, 2015


Recent Achievements: Articles in America Magazine and the National Catholic Reporter

After graduating SCU, I was awarded a year-long journalism fellowship to work with America Media in New York City. At America Media I worked in audio/video and print production, while writing on art and culture. I had the opportunity to publish articles reviewing retrospectives on Andy Warhol and David Wojnarowicz, the 2019 Whitney Biennial, a monograph by Jenny Saville, and I interviewed Carlos Vega. After finishing my fellowship, I returned to the classroom—this time as a teacher at Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C. I put my studio and art history degree to use every day in the classroom, educating young artists how to make, look at, and talk about art. In addition to teaching, I continue to publish thoughts on art and culture. You can check out my latest reviews of "The Dialectics of Art" by John Molyneux in the National Catholic Reporter and of Douglas Stuart's "Shuggie Bain" in America Magazine.

Addi McClure, Studio Art major, 2010


Recent Achievements: Illustrated the Major Arcana (tarot deck) and launched the deck via Kickstarter, reaching full funding in 48 hrs and over 500% by the end of the project. Currently working on completing the Minor Arcana to release as a complete tarot deck. Regularly participating in art walks, craft fairs, and even Silicon Valley Comic Con. Work featured in several group shows, and designed poster for 2019 JTown Artwalk.

While art is not currently my main source of income (I also work as an office admin for a tech company), I've been steadily working as an artist for about 5 years now. I've had booths and tables at craft fairs, comic conventions, participated in group and solo art shows, collaborated with local businesses, and leveraged my art to raise money for causes I care about (something especially important to me during 2020 when the need for so many was dire). Something that always stuck with me was the opportunity to hear from alumni and professionals in our field when I was a senior. Most notably, someone at the art director level who negotiated having Fridays off rather than a raise, so she could focus on making art. This was the illuminating moment for me; I realized that time and energy was a valuable resource for me as an artist, and it helped shape the conversations I had with my own day job to negotiate a flexible schedule. Having a day job that I love grants me a lot of stability so that the focus for personal art is sustainable.

Kika Francisca Jonsson, Studio Art major and Art History major, 2001


Recent Achievements: I currently have a solo exhibition on view at periscope projects in Salzburg, Austria. Running from October 17 to November 9, Trace Path is an exhibition of drawing and installation about border fortifications. Here is an excerpt from the press release:

“Border fortification” is a term used to describe man-made walls, fences, and other barriers which are built to keep certain people in or out of a defined area. A feature of some border fortifications is a “trace road,” a path between two walls or fences that is made of fine, sandy material. Instead of serving the normal purpose of a road, the trace road is intended to reveal footprints and show whether anyone has crossed it. The upcoming exhibition, Trace Path, at periscope:project:space, by Berlin-based artist Kika Jonsson (USA) uses large scale drawings and construction elements to expand on this concept and to examine how we define borders.

In October 2019, I began the Masters program at Kunsthochschule Weissensee in Berlin.

Jen Norton (Duris), Studio Art major, 1987


Recent Achievements: I am currently publishing a book with Ave Maria Press featuring my Stations of the Cross artwork, related painted bible verses and reflections. It will be out in fall, 2020. I'm including a sample of a scene and verse from that book here.

My SCU experience taught me to think abstractly and set me up for life-long learning. I spent 10 years as a graphic designer with a firm specializing in high tech marketing before returning to my painting roots after my daughter was born. My Catholic foundation established my prayer life, which flourished especially during my daughter's teen years when I often was left with nothing but prayer! It was during that time that I began to focus on my religious heritage in my work. I paint the Joy found in Christ through our Catholic practice, bringing together our ancient traditions with more modern sensibilities.

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