Edgewood College celebrates another year of outstanding undergraduate research when it hosts “Edgewood Engaged” in late April, a yearly research and creative inquiry symposium. This year, the College also celebrates distinctive recognition for a project that was showcased at last year’s event.
Maggie Brzezinski’s 2015 presentation, under the guidance of Art History Professor Melanie Herzog, was selected to represent the College at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research 30th Annual Conference, held at the University of North Carolina-Asheville April 7-9, 2016.
Brzezinski’s project, “Capturing Consciousness: An Evaluation of Local Community-Based Artwork with regard to Individual and Community Expression,” displayed a depth of interdisciplinary knowledge, and employment of an impressive breadth of research methods. Professor Herzog, a prolific scholar who is widely published in art history, said “the success of this project is evidence of Brzezinski’s intellectual capacity, curiosity, insight, tenacity, and fearlessness in posing and pursuing answers to difficult questions.”
Brzezinski’s project began with an internship at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, where she assisted in the creation and installation of work for the Spring 2015 exhibition Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century. These artists work collaboratively to develop a visual language with which they interpret various communities’ values and identity in monumental-scale abstract paintings, presented as the fruits of a unique community-based artistic practice. Based on this experience, Maggie proposed an independent study with Herzog, in which she intended to explore diverse approaches to community-based art, and the ethical questions about voice, representation, and artistic expression that underlie these practices.
Based on this inquiry, her 2015 presentation recounted the formation and development of her project as it emerged from her ChanSchatz exhibition experience, explained her research process, and summarized what she learned from this multifaceted investigation.
For Brzezinski, presenting at the national level was “one of the most enlightening and memorable experiences” of her time in higher education. “Partnering with such passionate and involved faculty members was an honor, and a profound growing experience both educationally and personally,” Brzezinski said.
Maggie graduates Magna Cum Laude in May 2016. She she hopes future students take advantage of faculty relationships and similar programs, pushing themselves to get the most out of their education.
(Maggie with Director for Student Research and Art Department faculty member Shad Wenzlaff.)