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 one year. 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 $15,000 to $30,000 per semester. 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.



Who is Eligible?

The program is open to scholars holding a PhD (or equivalent) as well as to PhD 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 that seek to expand boundaries of research or traditional categories of investigation are particularly encouraged.


Applications for 2017-2018 are open October 15–January 13.

  • 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.


2016-2017 Tyson Scholars

Jennifer Camp
Current Project: “Stories in Pictures: The Woodcut Novels of Lynd Ward and Visual Narrative in Depression-Era America.”
Camp is a PhD candidate in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Virginia. She studies 20th-century American Art, with a specific interest in the intersections of art, politics, and visual culture during the Great Depression. Her dissertation analyzes the “picture books” of New York City-based printmaker Lynd Ward within the context of an emerging enthusiasm for visual storytelling among leftist and socially-engaged artists during the 1930s.
Klint Ericson
Current Project: “Sumptuous and Beautiful, As They Were: Architectural Form, Everyday Life, and Cultural Encounter in a Seventeenth-Century New Mexico Mission.”
Ericson is an art history PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His interdisciplinary dissertation explores cultural encounters in 17th-century New Mexico, focusing on the material expressions of everyday life among a community of Spanish Franciscans and Zuni Indians at the Purísima Concepción mission of Hawikku Pueblo. As a Peter Buck Fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, he has studied the archaeology of this site and worked collaboratively with the Zuni community. He is also a practicing studio artist with roots in the Ozarks, where he completed his undergraduate studies in 2006.
Michael Gaudio
Current Project: “Soundings: Art and the Aural Imagination in the Americas, 1590-1900.”
Gaudio graduated from Stanford University in 2001 and is currently a Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota. He is interested in how the visual arts mediate knowledge. His publications have ranged across a wide temporal span, from the 13th to the 19th centuries, and include studies of visual ethnography, landscape representation, natural history illustration, cartographic practices, and the reception of religious prints. Currently, he is completing a book which investigates the significance of aural experience in relation to prints, paintings, and films created and circulated within the colonial Atlantic world.
Craig Lee
Current Project: “Skyline Spectacular: Architecture, Aesthetics, and Outdoor Advertising in the American City.”
Lee is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Delaware. His dissertation examines the aesthetic politics of outdoor advertising in 20th-century America, especially as it played out in the urban skyline. A secondary area of research investigates modern architecture in South Africa. He received an MA from the Bard Graduate Center and a BA from Dartmouth College.
Jennifer Padgett
Current Project: “Made for ‘Modern Surroundings’: Intersections of Fine Art, Decorative Arts, and Design in America, 1920-1940.”
Padgett is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis. Her dissertation explores how modern artists worked across boundaries of fine art and design to envision a more dynamic interaction between aesthetic experience and everyday life in the early 20th century. She has previously held internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and has most recently received fellowships at the Wolfsonian-FIU and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

2015-2016 Tyson Scholars

Amy Torbert
Amy Torbert is a PhD candidate in art history at the University of Delaware. Her dissertation studies the business of publishing prints in England and America from 1750 to 1840 and how representations of American rebellious acts in print shaped changing conceptions of nationhood. Her research has been supported by the American Antiquarian Society, Huntington Library, John Carter Brown Library, Lewis Walpole Library, National Portrait Gallery (Washington, DC), Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and Winterthur Museum and Library.
Susanneh Bieber
Susanneh Bieber’s area of expertise is modern and contemporary American art in an international context. She is particularly concerned with the relationship between art, architecture and the built environment, and has a professional interest in curatorial practices and museum studies. Before completing her PhD at the Freie Universität Berlin, she worked as curator at the Tate Modern in London and the Fresno Metropolitan Museum in California. Bieber is currently completing her book manuscript, Construction Sites: American Artists Engage the Built Environment, 1960-75, and will use her fellowship time to work on a second book that focuses on American Regionalism in art, architecture and urban planning. Her scholarly work addresses the social role of art within the broader field of visual and material culture.
Corey Piper
Corey Piper is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Virginia. His dissertation project, Animal Pursuits: Hunting and the Visual Arts in Nineteenth-Century America, traces the ways in which representations of hunting functioned across diverse areas of nineteenth-century life, including the natural sciences, Western expansion, and refined urban recreation, and examines how such imagery structured humans’ relationship to the natural world and furthered a range of political and social ideals. Corey previously served as curatorial associate for the Mellon and European collections at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and has published research on a variety of topics including British sporting prints, Currier & Ives, and Édouard Manet
Leslie Reinhardt
Leslie Reinhardt holds a PhD from Princeton University. She will be working on a manuscript adaptation of her dissertation, Fabricated Images: Invented Dress in American Portraits of Women. The study will focus on the work of John Singleton Copley, who used invented dress in about half of his portraits of women. The study will offer close analysis of dresses in images, which often yield specific evidence of how an artist worked, the sources and models he used. In addition, as invented dress often "anticipated" actual developments in fashion, the study shows how art often ended up shaping what women later really wore. This study contextualizes this Anglo-American practice within contemporary discourse on the ideal woman. Texas native, Harvard graduate, Reinhardt has most recently been Senior Fellow at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, and currently teaches Art History at George Washington University.

2014-2015 Tyson Scholars

Lacey Baradel
Lacey Baradel specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American art. Her current book project traces the emergence of geographic mobility as a central theme through which genre artists probed the politics of modern life in the United States after the Civil War. A portion of this research, which examines the tension between mobility and domesticity in Eastman Johnson’s The Tramp (1876-77), will appear in the Summer 2014 issue of American Art. Lacey’s work has been generously supported by the Wyeth Foundation/Smithsonian American Art Museum, Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art, and Baird Society of Fellows. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014.
Breanne Robertson
Breanne Robertson was recently Visiting Assistant Professor of American Art at Wesleyan University, where she taught courses on art and material culture in the departments of Art History, American Studies, and Latin American Studies. Her research interests focus on cross-cultural exchange between the United States and Mexico from the eighteenth century to the present. As a Tyson Scholar at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Breanne will complete work on her book manuscript, which analyzes pre-Columbian imagery in U.S. public art to elucidate U.S.-Latin American foreign policy and domestic race relations during World War II. A second project examines nineteenth-century artist George Martin Ottinger’s “Old America” history paintings and the beliefs and missionary efforts of Mormon Utah. Breanne received her PhD from University of Maryland in 2012, and has held fellowships from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.
Annie Ronan
Annie Ronan is currently a PhD candidate in Stanford University’s Department of Art and Art History, and formerly the 2013-14 Douglass Foundation Predoctoral Fellow in American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. A specialist in 19th-century American art and visual culture, her dissertation project, “Beauty and the Bestiary: Animal Art and Humane Thought in the Guilded Age,” examines how American artists like Winslow Homer, Astley D.M. Cooper, William Holbrook Beard, and Edward Kemeys represented animals at the turn of the century, an era during which humanity’s relationship with and responsibility to the natural world was being radically reevaluated.

2013-2014 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.
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
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.

2012-2013 Tyson Scholars

Jason Weems

Dr. Weems is an assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside where he specializes in American art and visual culture from the colonial period to the present. He’s held fellowships from the Huntington Library, the College Art Association/Terra Foundation for American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies.

As a Tyson Scholar at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Jason Weems will complete work on his current book manuscript, which examines the development of modern aerial vision and its effect on visual expression during the interwar years.

Matthew Bailey

Washington University in St. Louis

Matthew Bailey is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology and a Lynn Cooper Harvey Fellow in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He has also held dissertation fellowships from the Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies and the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library.

As a Tyson Scholar at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Matthew Bailey will continue work on his dissertation, which examines the way artists conceptually and physically interacted with paint in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Susan Rather

University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Rather is a tenured member of the art history faculty in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas, Austin. There since 1986, she has taught and supervised students ranging from beginning undergraduates to doctoral candidates. As a scholar, Rather first published Archaism, Modernism and the Art of Paul Manship. Her work then began to focus on artists during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with resulting articles on John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, Gilbert Stuart and others appearing in such leading journals as Art Bulletin, American Art, William and Mary Quarterly, and Eighteenth-Century Studies.

As a Tyson Scholar at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Susan Rather will complete her manuscript for a book examining in depth what it meant to be an American artist during the colonial and early national era.