Class of 2016
Major: Individualized Art History and Museum Studies
Minors: Digital Media, Gender Studies
Hometown: Park Ridge, Ill.
Three additional credits. That was all Kevin Simonsen needed to fill up his schedule for the spring semester of freshman year. He decided to take an elective, and chose Ancient and Medieval Art History, taught by Nina Corazzo.
“I loved the course, but I loved the professor even more.” Kevin remembers. “I had so much fun being in class with Nina that I added an individualized art history and museum studies minor, just so I could take more classes with her.”
Inside and outside the classroom, Simonsen found that Valparaiso University had resources to help him pursue his newfound interest in art history and museums. By the end of sophomore year, he dropped his major in digital media and applied instead for an individualized art history and museum studies major. He also got involved with the University’s Brauer Museum of Art.
As a museum intern, Simonsen worked closely with Gregg Hertzlieb, the director and curator, and Gloria Ruff, registrar and associate curator. Kevin also worked closely with the artwork, often getting close looks at pieces that aren’t on public display.
When artist Jeanette Pasin Sloan donated her archives to the Brauer Museum, Kevin got an unusual opportunity. Professor Corazzo was making a catalogue of Sloan’s works and invited students to write essays for the catalogue.
“Thanks to my involvement in the art department, I was able to become a published author,” he says. Kevin’s essay on Pasin Sloan’s “Balancing Acts“ series is now available in the Brauer Museum, free to visitors.
That’s just one of Kevin’s legacies. As an art student, he was invited to submit work for a new juried permanent collection in Valpo’s Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources. Judges chose his photograph as one of four winning pieces, and it now hangs in the Christopher Center as a part of the permanent collection.
Kevin completed a second catalogue with Professor Corazzo, this one about Pasin Sloan’s works on paper. He also worked with another Brauer Museum intern, curating a show of Andy Warhol prints from the museum’s permanent collection.
“I had so many memorable experiences with the art department at Valpo,” Kevin says.
Looking back, Kevin sees that his Ancient and Medieval Art History course gave him so much more than three elective credits.