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Crystal Bridges Announces Inspiring Group of Fellows in the 2023-2024 Tyson Scholars of American Art Program

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will be closed Monday, May 13, to prepare for the visit of Antiques Roadshow. We will return to normal hours of operation Wednesday, May 15.

The program was established in 2012 and supports investigation into American art through visual and material culture   


Photos are available here. 

Today, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art proudly announces the 2023-2024 cohort of Tyson Scholars. The Tyson Scholars of American Art Program is a research and residency program that helps promote the study and understanding of American art. 

Tyson Scholars of American Art program encourages and supports full-time, interdisciplinary scholarship that seeks to nurture professional development, mentorship, and the exchange of ideas related to a variety of historical periods, fields, and methodologies. In its first decade, the Tyson Scholars of American Art program has become a respected and sought-after fellowship for the American Art scholarly community, attracting applicants from across the country and internationally. 

“It’s a delight to welcome the 12th class of Tyson Scholars to the 2023-2024 residency and introduce the next class of distinguished fellows,” Mindy Besaw, Director of Research, Fellowships, and University Partnerships said. “These scholars bring new perspectives to American art through their investigations of topics across time and place that address socially engaged art and practices, environmentalism, built environments, photography, performance and more. They are challenging boundaries of American art both literally and figuratively and we are thrilled to encourage and contribute to their research.” 

The 2023-24 residency cohort includes: 

  • Lily Allen, “Macdonald-Wright, Date, Okubo, Alvarez: Four L.A. Pacific Modernists and the Contours of Asian American.” Allen is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in American art at the University of California, Riverside whose home base is Los Angeles. Her research investigates the pan-Pacific social and artistic milieu of L.A. in the 1920s and 30s, and the modernist painting that arose from it, through the lives and works of artists Benji Okubo, Hideo Date, Mabel Alvarez, and Stanton Macdonald-Wright. 
  • Ricardo Chavez, “The Lost Utopian Classroom: Radical Pedagogies in American Art.” Chavez is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Art History and Education program at the University of Arizona. Ricardo’s research focuses on the art of American social movements from the 1960s and their influence on the participatory and socially engaged art of the present. 
  • Amy Crum, “Beyond the Wall: Strategic Intermediality and Social Practice in L.A. Chicanx Muralism 1971-1981.” Crum is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles where she specializes in contemporary art of the Americas. Her dissertation examines a number of experimental mural projects in Los Angeles and Mexico by Chicanx artists beginning in the 1970s in dialogue with the emergence of practices like installation art, institutional critique, and social practice art. 
  • Willa Granger, “Constructing Old Age: Race, Ethnicity, Religion and the Architecture of Homes for the Aged, 1870-1970.”  Granger is a historian of modern American-built environments and Assistant Professor of Architectural History at Florida Atlantic University. Broadly, Willa’s research is concerned with histories of social welfare, and specifically with how the political economy of care takes on spatial and material form within healthcare facilities and their design. 
  • Theresa Leininger-Miller, “Re-Presenting Freedom Seekers and Abolitionists in Charles T. Webber’s the Underground Railroad” (1893). Leininger-Miller is a Professor of Art History at the University of Cincinnati. She has curated eight exhibitions of illustrated sheet music.  National awards include those from National Endowment for the Humanities; Georgia O’Keeffe Museum; Kress Foundation, Henry R. Luce Foundation; Smithsonian Institution; and Auburn University.   
  • Melanie Nguyen, “Embodied Ecologies: Performance Art and Environmentalism, 1970-1990.” Nguyen is a PhD candidate in art history at the University of Maryland, specializing in contemporary art and the environment. Her dissertation, “Embodied Ecologies: Performance Art and Environmentalism, 1970-1990,” re-narrates the history of U.S. environmental art, demonstrating how women and artists of color—often performing with their own bodies—offered an expansive and socially embedded notion of ecology absent from canonical histories. 
  • Sehyun Oh, “The Seattle Camera Club: Picturing the American Landscape, the Pacific Bioregion, and the Japanese Diaspora, c. 1920-40.” Oh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History & Archaeology at Columbia University. Her research centers on modern and contemporary art within a global context, with a particular focus on photography and film. Sehyun’s dissertation examines the art of first-generation Japanese Americans in the early twentieth century through the interdisciplinary lens of diaspora and ecology. 
  • Florencia San Martín, “The Idea of America in the Art of Alfredo Jaar.” San Martín is an assistant professor of art history at Lehigh University where she teaches and writes about contemporary art in the Americas, decolonial methodologies, and theories on gender, photography, politics, and globalization in the neoliberal present. Her publications include The Routledge Companion to Decolonizing Art History, co-edited with Tatiana Flores and Charlene Villaseñor Black (Routledge, 2023); and the co-edited volume Dismantling the Nation State: Notes on Contemporary Art and Culture in Chile (Amherst College Press, 2023). 

Research residency programs provide pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and senior scholars the opportunity to focus on large-scale projects without the interruptions of their regular professional duties. With the Tyson Scholars of American Art program, Crystal Bridges joins other national institutions in supporting research that contributes to American art history. 

As of 2022, the program has supported 66 scholars. Based on research and writing while in residence, the scholars have collectively published 10 books, completed 13 dissertations, and submitted three articles. More scholars are publishing art criticism, and curating exhibitions based on their time in Northwest Arkansas.  

Since participating in the program, three scholars have since moved to the region to continue their careers and help shape the community of scholars in Northwest Arkansas. Matthew Bailey is the gallery director at the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith, and Jen Padgett is the Acting Windgate Curator of Craft at Crystal Bridges. Jennifer Greenhill accepted a position at the University of Arkansas as Endowed Professor of American Art and inaugural director of graduate studies and museum partnerships with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The University of Arkansas is launching its new master’s in art history program in Fall 2023, developed in partnership with Crystal Bridges.  

The fellowship program was established in 2012 through a $5 million commitment from the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, Inc.  

 “Just as the field of American art has broadened and expanded, so has scholarship supported by this program,” Olivia Tyson said. “Our hope through supporting fellowship and research of new perspectives is that we will contribute to a more equitable and inclusive history of American art. These scholars bring the critical perspective and understanding needed to make that happen.” 

More information on this year’s scholars and the Tyson Scholars Program can be found on the Crystal Bridges website. 


About Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Since opening in 2011, the museum has welcomed more than 6.2 million visitors, with no cost for admission. Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 as a non-profit charitable organization by arts patron and philanthropist, Alice Walton. The collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from early American to current day and is enhanced by temporary exhibitions. The museum is nestled on 120 acres of Ozark landscape and was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A rare Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house was preserved and relocated to the museum grounds in 2015. Crystal Bridges offers public programs including lectures, performances, classes, and teacher development opportunities. Some 300,000 school children have participated in the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit program, which provides educational experiences for school groups at no cost to the schools. Additional museum amenities include a restaurant, gift store, library, and five miles of art and walking trails. In February 2020, the museum opened a satellite contemporary art space in downtown Bentonville called the Momentary (507 SE E Street). For more information, visit The museum is located at 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712.