This exhibit was the collective work of the ten students enrolled in Professor Sand's Fall 2021 Early Christian and Byzantine art history course at Utah State University. These students each undertook individual research projects according to their interests, but also worked in teams of two and collaboratively as a whole group to design and produce the exhibit, with support from Becky Thoms, Head of Digital Initiatives for USU Libraries, and her team. The art history program at USU emphasizes hands-on experience, with curatorial, creative, and research projects embedded into coursework at all levels.
Shaylee Briones is a junior at Utah State University majoring in History and Art History with a Museum Studies certificate. She took her first art history class in high school and fell in love. Everything she did (essays, art projects, speeches, and every conversation) after that class became centered around art history. Her most treasured artwork in history is Caravaggio’s The Musicians, (Links to an external site.) which she states, “was love at first sight.” Her passion for the Late Antiquity, Medieval, and Renaissance periods led her to join Alexa Sand’s class. Shaylee currently works at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art on Utah State campus and is expanding her knowledge in the museum field. Although she has not curated any shows, Shaylee is very proud of her recreation of Judith Leyster’s self-portrait. Along with recreating famous works of art, her passions include soccer, running, board games, and winning.
Olivia Brock is a senior at Utah State University majoring in art history and mathematics/statistics. As a high school student, Olivia became interested in art history after taking AP Art History and realizing she was much more inclined towards writing and thinking about art than making it. Once a college freshman, an excellent introductory statistics course inspired her to become a math/statistics major as well. As an Undergraduate Research Fellow, Olivia’s interests lie in the history of mathematical instrumentation and understanding how these instruments can be understood not just as scientific tools but also objects of social, cultural, and political importance. Her past research has focused on astrolabes, medieval computational instruments that developed in the Islamic world and how these objects served as scientific and artistic objects. Additionally, she co-curated an exhibition in USU’s Special Collections and Archives focusing on the power of manuscripts and books in the medieval and early modern periods. As well as doing research, Olivia serves on the Honors Student Advisory Board and Caine College Council on Student Research along with working as a Writing Fellow, Undergraduate Teaching Fellow, and math/stat recitation leader. In her free time, Olivia enjoys puzzles, cute animal videos, historical fiction novels, and motorcycle riding.
Samantha Castro is a junior at Utah State University majoring in drawing and painting and minoring in sociology. After taking an art history course that examined art from the Ancient to Medieval age, she grew interested in the art and society of the Early Christian & Byzantine period. She worked as a research assistant for a sociology professor from Fall 2020 to the end of Spring 2021, researching 105 school desegregation cases before Brown v. Board of Education (1954). She is currently working as a research assistant again, looking at surveys about the tech industry's work environment concerning women, non-binary individuals, and people of color. She has a passion for creating things that mean something not only to herself but to others similarly situated, whether this is writing about Chicano struggles for equal education or creating art representing her intersectional identity. Besides art and activism, she enjoys hanging out with friends, hanging out with her dog, eating out, playing video games, and watching movies.
Delphine Dah is currently a sophomore majoring in Psychology with a minor in art. She ended up taking this art history class because she was originally majoring in interior design which required art history, but I eventually switched to psychology, so she had already taken two Art History courses prior to taking Byzantine Art History. What drew her to this course was of course to fulfill my university studies, along with the fact that she finds medieval, Greek, and Roman art fascinating. So essentially, she got drawn to this class, because of the interest I have gained through her past art history classes Her creative interest in art history is textiles from the Bronze Age. Some of her hobbies include oil painting, roller skating and running. She runs for the Utah State University Track team as a 400m sprinter, and in 2021 earned academic all-Mountain West Conference honors.
Emma Duffin is a junior in the art history program at Utah State University. She is a Sterling Scholar, a Utah State honors student, and a recipient of USU academic scholarships. She fell in love with art history while taking a survey class for the interior design program at USU. After just the first day of class, she knew she needed to make a change, and she hasn’t looked back. Her creative interests lie in antiquity—the older the better—as well as exploring stereotypes and cultural appropriation in art. She is very passionate about musical theatre and the performing arts. You can usually find her performing with Four Seasons Theatre company.
Sallie Hull is a senior at Utah State University, studying Costume Design in the Caine College of Arts, and she is also minoring in Art. She ended up taking Early Christian and Byzantine Art not only as a class needed for graduation, but curious to see the earliest depictions of Christianity and how they inform Christianity today. As a Costume Design student, research plays a major role in what she does every day. Her work involves researching different fabrics, sewing techniques, and time periods, vital information needed to create characters and meet the needs of her theatrical and design clients. Other interests include: reading, drawing, painting, traveling, and gardening.
Aly Hutchinson is a junior majoring in art history with a minor in anthropology. She ended up in art history because she has been drawn to the arts for as long as she could remember. Her family is very art-oriented; she has been around artists her whole life, whether in visual arts, music, dance, or fashion. In addition, she lived in Germany for four years, allowing her to visit most of Europe and experience all of its rich art and architecture. She was drawn to this Early Christian and Byzantine Art course because after taking many art history classes in her academic career, this is the one stylistic movement that she has the slightest knowledge of. Her creative interests lie primarily in Baroque and Renaissance art; however, she has gained significant interest in Indigenous art history, focusing on Polynesian art. In the spring semester of 2021, she contributed an artwork to a digital exhibit that would re-tell the story of the science of the Anthropocene and how the world became what it is today through change. She is currently a member of the Kappa Delta sorority here at USU and holds the position of secretary on the Arts Council of the CCA. While it is evident that she enjoys creating visual art (painting/drawing), she also enjoys travel, baking, live music, true-crime podcasts, and skiing.
Shelby Johnson is a senior at Utah State University, majoring in history with a double minor in art history and anthropology. She was a recipient of the Hansen scholarship in 2020. She became interested in art history after taking an introductory class that would change the way she was the world. Her passions in history started when she was young, encouraged by her father to pursue it as a career. She plans to study ancient Greek and Roman history, using her minors in art history and anthropology to complete museum research, working with archives and special collections. Her hobbies include reading, painting, and hiking.
Lilly Jones is a junior at Utah State University, studying Marketing and Graphic Design. She fell in love with history and art at a young age and art history was the perfect intersection of the two. Her interests include the works themselves and stories of the people that created and revered them, specifically the Gothic and medieval works and architecture. She is also enthusiastic about gymnastics and coaches children from ages 3-15 part-time at a gym in Logan. She enjoys working with kids because of the spice they add to the job. When Lilly is not working or studying for school, she loves to be outside enjoying nature, reading a book, or creating her own works of art. Lilly designed the header for this exhibition, in addition to to curatorial work.
Mallory Wootton is a Junior at Utah State University and recipient of the USU Dean’s Scholarship. Interested in receiving the college credits, she decided to take her high school's AP Art History class in 2016. By the end of the school year she realized that art history had blossomed into a newfound passion of hers. And, although she ultimately decided to pursue a degree in STEM, she hopes to receive an art history minor and loves to read art history related books and articles in her free time. Her other interests include chemistry, musical theatre, and making art of her own.