Art History Fall Assembly: Caretakers of Identity

Art History faculty and students gathered at the annual Art History Fall Assembly. Upcoming internship, scholarship and study abroad opportunities were announced, followed by a keynote address by Art History alumna Laura Allred Hurtado, global acquisitions curator of art in the LDS Church History department.

PROVO, Utah (Sept. 17, 2015)—Why study art history? According to art history professor Martha Peacock, it’s one of the most practical humanities degrees you can earn.

At the annual Art History Fall Assembly, art history professors and mentors encouraged students to take advantage of opportunities that would make their art history degrees more marketable, such as a scholarship to study at Sotheby’s or a study abroad in Paris or London.

Peacock urged students to reflect on the applicability of their art history backgrounds to an array of professions outside of academia.

“You have learned to write well, to express yourselves well,” said Peacock. “You have learned to do incredible research, digging in archives and libraries. These are all great skills for whatever you go into. Assess what you’ve been able to learn, assess the skills you’ve developed.”

BYU alumna Laura Allred Hurtado, current global acquisitions curator of art in the LDS Church History department, encouraged students to take advantage of mentoring opportunities at BYU and recognize the value of curatorial work.

“Curators preserve the past by caring for collections, but they also shape what stories are told,” Hurtado said.

Hurtado added that though many people dismiss the study of art history as impractical or unimportant, curatorial work plays an essential role in society.

“The caretaker of the museum is the caretaker of the national and religious legacy which the museum represents,” she concluded. “The curator’s pursuit to exhibit, to research, to preserve and to collect helps shape truth for a collective audience.”

Sylvia Cutler (B.A. English/French ’17)