Summer of 2005 was very special for me. I spent several months following my passion while advancing my major. This opportunity was given me by the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. In the Spring semester I crossed my fingers and submitted a research proposal to the Office of Undergraduate Research, in competition with a number of other students. When I was chosen to receive a SURF award I (metaphorically!) threw my hat in the air. It was a tremendous feeling to be embarking on a well-financed self-directed project that excited and intrigued me. My interests? The stories that paintings tell about their contexts and their artists, and research that would draw attention to the neglect of women artists in the his-stories of Art. My project? To learn how to research the provenance of artworks by retracing their histories. Serendipitously, following a UNC class in Women in the Arts which introduced me to artists I hadn’t known, I came across a painting that gave me the raw material for my search, a locally owned copy of an Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun original. Using this picture as my subject I spent the summer communing with art, books, experts, museums and those whose lives had been entwined with this painting. I was a total art geek! I have produced a brochure for the museum that owns the painting, and to prolong the fun, I plan a later trip to European museums to see Vigée Le Brun originals.

I was particularly confident knowing I was supported in this venture by an advisor, Prof. Mary Sheriff, who has special expertise in the artist, and by my enthusiastic graduate mentor, Sally Tomlinson.

Allie Scales, BFA Degree-Seeking Continuing Studies