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Department of Art

Apr 24 2015 - 10:12am

The Student Summer Research Award is sponsored by the Austin Peay State University Department of Art & Design and the Center of Excellence in the Creative Arts. It was established to create opportunities for selected art students to conduct studio research during the summer when they might not be registered for classes. The award provides $2500 to two students who propose a well conceived and intriguing body of work. The award will culminate in an exhibition on the campus of APSU in the fall after the award. This is the first year of the award.

The 2015 Summer Research Awards were granted to Amber Briggs and Amy Dean.

Amber Briggs will  use the funds to create a body of collaborative works based on her family dynamic. In her proposal she stated “Truly at the heart of this motivation are motherhood and my relationship with my four year old son, Parker”.  She is inspired by her son’s creativity and way of looking at the world.

Amber Briggs APSU Art & Design

Amber Briggs, “Wax Blanket Reprise”, Photograph



Amy Dean will use the award to travel to New York City to gather images to advance her work. Experiencing a crowded, urban, multicultural environment will help put her paintings and drawings into a specific context. In her work, Dean explores her emotional experience of life and the particular way that she sees the world.

Amy Dean APSU Art & Design

Amy Dean, “At the Beach” 27″ x 20″, india ink, gouache, and watercolor

Apr 24 2015 - 9:17am

APSU art students Macon St. Hilaire, Matt Watkins, and Nicole Santoyo each received Presidential Research Scholarships. Details on their projects are below.


Macon St Hilaire received a scholarship to complete research for her art history project “<Opus Anglicanum>: The Work of the English, Preserving the Bequest of Medieval Embroidery and the Craftswomen Who Made Them.” As an artist, Macon’s artwork has explored legacy and success using the study of Art History and historical studio practices. Research into the Bayeux Tapestry, an example of 11th-century embroidery illustrating the events leading to the Norman Invasion of England, led her to other embroidery works collectively called <Opus Anglicanum>. Translating to the “Work of the English”, <Opus Anglicanum> were expertly crafted embroideries that became highly sought after in church collections creating an economic commodity for the crafters. Her research will uncover the role women had in the creation of <Opus Anglicanum> and how they were exposed to the aesthetic they utilized in the creation of the embroidery that closely resembles other examples of surviving Medieval and Gothic artwork. She plans to travel to London next year to conduct first-hand object and archival research.






Matt Watkins intends to make sculptural models of knots for his PRS project. Knot theory is a field of mathematics that he has been researching independently. Through the process of sculpting knots Matt will be able to visualize mathematical data currently being developed by knot theorists in three dimensions. Courses specializing in knot theory are not currently offered at Austin Peay State University and the opportunity to participate in the Presidential Research Scholar program allows him to further investigate this field.

Matt’s project also gives me an opportunity to work collaboratively with Dr. Ramanjit K. Sahi
​ in the Mathematics Department. We will be co-mentoring him on this project


Nicole Santoyo‘s project “Southern Epic” attempts to examine the peculiarities and strange beauty of Tennessean life without resorting to romanticized cliches and stereotypes. This project aims to be the antidote to the sanitized works of the American Regionalist artists of the 1930s, and provide a fresh and dynamic look at the contemporary South. A series of paintings will be presented as the result of exploring the community and gathering visual imagery and experience.

Apr 23 2015 - 2:48pm

APSU Art and Design

From the artist…

I am searching for my own place and how the work that I do and the person I am will fit into the wider world. The restless urge I have to travel is combated by my strong desire to understand where I have come from and what traits I have inherited. My artistic practice explores the connections between ancestry, traditions, legacy, and place.

This series of work, icons of the 27 club, came about when I realized after turning 28 that I was now older than Jim Morrison when he died. This realization spawned personal reflection in to my own successes, failures, and legacy. I found a connection in the way that we revere pop cultural figures and skew their lives while living or in death, and the use of Icon paintings of martyrs and saints in medieval and byzantine ecclesiastic settings, this led me to research the art historical tradition of icon paintings and look for a way that I could translates them to reflect contemporary subjects and materials.

As an artist with a strong connection to the past, Marcel Duchamp’s concept of ready-made art reflects the modern availability of artist materials. I am interested in understanding how the material components of an artwork are created. I have conducted and continue to research art historical practices used to manufacture art materials such as pigments, binders, and painting supports. There is an artistic tradition in making all aspects of an artwork that is lost when using manufactured art supplies. I am interested in preserving the inherent traditions of artists and being closer to my work through all steps of art production. I have worked to manipulate the techniques of art tradition with contemporary suburban materials and found objects; this was most successful in my work utilizing Kool-aid drink mix as a pigment for egg tempera paint.

For more information how I made these paintings, please visit:

Apr 21 2015 - 8:19am

APSU Art and Design

Art Education major Allison Hamilton presented a paper “Objects of Beauty and Destruction: The Art of Tlingit Warfare” at the Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council Conference on Saturday April 18, 2015 hosted this year at APSU (here pictured at the Q&A with two artifacts on loan from Ashley McClelland). She also exhibited a poster on the topic.