Tyson Scholars

Tyson Scholars

The Tyson Scholars of American Art Program is a residential program that supports full-time scholarship in the history of American art, visual and material culture from the colonial period to the present. The program was established in 2012 through a $5 million commitment from the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, Inc.

To support their research, Tyson Scholars have access to the art and library collections of Crystal Bridges as well as the library at the University of Arkansas in nearby Fayetteville. Scholars will have the opportunity to interact with Crystal Bridges’ curatorial and research staff, as well as the community, through lectures, symposia, and collaborations with the University of Arkansas.

Up to three Scholars may be in residence at a time, with terms ranging from six weeks to nine months. Housing is provided at the Crystal Bridges Farmhouse, within easy walking distance from the Museum via wooded trails and approximately 1.5 miles from downtown Bentonville. It features comfortable indoor and outdoor common spaces including an expansive yard, patio and swimming pool; scholars have private bed and bath rooms.

In addition to housing, Scholars are provided office or carrel space in the curatorial wing of Crystal Bridges’ library. Stipends are variable depending on the duration of residency, need, and professional rank, ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 for a nine month term. Additional funds for research travel during the residency period are available upon application. Bicycles, donated by Phat Tire Bike Shop of downtown Bentonville, are provided for use by Tyson Scholars during their residency.

Read the Tyson Scholars FAQ

Who is Eligible?

The program is open to scholars holding a Ph.D. (or equivalent) as well as to Ph.D. candidates. Applicants may be affiliated with a university, museum, or independent. Scholars will be selected on the basis of their potential to advance understanding of American art and to intersect meaningfully with aspects of Crystal Bridges’ collections, architecture, or landscape. Projects with a synthetic, interdisciplinary focus and that seek to expand boundaries of research or traditional categories of investigation are particularly encouraged.

To apply, candidates should fill out the application form and submit it along with the following additional materials.

Deadline for application for the 2014-2015 academic year is January 15, 2014.

  • A statement of purpose (limited to 1,000 words) outlining the aspects of the work to be accomplished during the residency period and the specific benefits that the residency program would provide. If you plan to use objects from the Museum collection and/or materials from the Museum archives in your research, please provide a brief listing.

Note: Pre-doctoral applicants should also include a detailed statement of their dissertation project outlining its contribution to the field, methodologies, and overview of relevant literature (limited to 1,000 words).

  • Curriculum vitae (limited to 10 pages).
  • Two letters of recommendation, to be sent directly to Crystal Bridges.
    • For pre-doctoral applicants, one of these letters must be from the applicant’s dissertation advisor or professor.

Download Tyson Scholar of American Art Application Form

2013-2014 Tyson Scholars


View Past Tyson Scholars

Emily C. Burns

Emily C. Burns is Assistant Professor of Art History at Auburn University. Her research considers visual culture and transatlantic exchange between France and the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her forthcoming publications relate to American artists’ clubs in late nineteenth-century Paris and the performance of American identity abroad. She received her doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research has been supported by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Baird Library Society of Fellows, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and the Walter Read Hovey Foundation.

Nika Elder

Nika Elder specializes in American Art from the eighteenth century through the present and holds a particular interest in the intersection between visual art and material culture. Her current book project analyzes the still life paintings of the late nineteenth-century artist William Harnett in light of contemporaneous understandings and uses of objects in the humanities and social sciences. A second project examines references to the material and visual culture of slavery in the early work of contemporary artist Lorna Simpson. Her work has been supported by the Wyeth Foundation/Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Center for the Advanced Study of the Visual Arts, and various departments and programs at Princeton University. Nika received her PhD from Princeton University in 2013. She is a Post-Doctoral Fellow/Lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program and has previously taught at Rutgers University.

Jason Hill

Jason Hill was recently 2011-13 Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in American Art at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris, where he taught courses on American art and media culture at the École Normale Supérieure, SciencesPo, and Université Paris Ouest Nanterre. He has published essays and criticism in such periodicals as American Art, Études Photographiques, Photography & Culture, and ˆX-TRA. He is presently completing a book on the 1940s New York tabloid daily, PM, which employed as journalists such important American artists as Weegee, Ad Reinhardt, and Ralph Steiner. With Vanessa Schwartz, Jason is also co-editing a volume on the art, history, and visual culture of news pictures.

Katherine Manthorne

Katherine Manthorne, a specialist in modern art of the Americas, earned her PhD from Columbia University.  She is currently Professor of Art History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.  Prior to that, she served as Director of the Research Center at Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and Executive Editor of the journal American Art. Previously focused on artistic exchanges across the Americas, she then shifted her attention to the role of women in the American art world in a biography of Eliza Pratt Greatorex. Her current project is “You Ought to be in Pictures”: Film and American Modernism, 1896-1939.

Melissa Warak

Melissa Warak is the Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Sam Houston State University. She earned her MA and PhD at the University of Texas at Austin. Warak was the 2012-2013 Vivian L. Smith Foundation Fellow at the Menil Collection in Houston