Art, Art History, and Visual Studies Program Names Guarisco Merit Scholars

Pictured above: Watchers, by Gabriel Williams

The Art, Art History, and Visual Studies Program has announced the winners of the Peter V. Guarisco Merit Scholarship for the 2024-25 academic year. Kate Shackelford, C’25, was awarded the Guarisco Scholarship in Art History in recognition of excellence in coursework, writing, and engagement with questions of art history. Gabriel Williams, C’25, was awarded the Guarisco Scholarship in Art for excellence in coursework, creative production, and engagement with the visual arts. The scholarships provide both recipients with tuition for their senior year and funding for a postgraduate career preparation experience.

Kate Shackelford is a junior art history and international and global studies major from Memphis, Tennessee. “Kate is an outstanding student in the art history program. Over the course of her time at Sewanee she has shown her dedication to art history and Asian studies through her work in the classroom as well as in her position as a department research assistant,” says Associate Professor of Art History and Chair of Asian Studies Alison Miller. The work that Shackelford engaged in as a research assistant, notes Miller, is now featured on the Japan Past and Present online platform, a global resource for Japanese Studies that is housed at UCLA. Shackelford is currently studying abroad in Seoul, and is interested in pursuing graduate studies in Korean art history. 

Gabriel Williams is a junior art major from Salt Lake City, Utah. A painter, Williams noted in his artist statement his interest in exploring the roles of and relationships between painter, subject, and viewer. “I choose subjects that have real stakes in my life,” said Williams. “The goal of these works is to capture energy from my intimacy with others and present it with pluralistic authenticity from both me and the subject.” The selection jury was impressed by Williams’ creative output, stating, “Williams’ work and writing are substantial. The studio dedication is visible in the painting, and the personal narrative is equally compelling.”

An important feature of the Art, Art History, and Visual Studies Program, the Guarisco scholarship “encourages engagement in our program and motivates our students to invest in their studies and studio practices in the years leading up to their senior year and beyond,” says Associate Professor of Art Jessica Wohl. As Guarisco scholars, both Shackelford and Williams will serve as ambassadors for the arts in addition to continuing their academic and creative pursuits. Says Wohl, “We're hoping that Gabe will continue to inspire his fellow students by being a strong presence and role model in and out of the studio.”

The Guarisco award is given to two rising seniors each year, one from art history and one from art. Sewanee’s art history faculty selected Shackelford to receive the Guarisco scholarship. Williams was selected for the Guarisco scholarship by a jury of external artists that included Associate Professor of Sculpture Jason Brown (University of Tennessee-Knoxville), Creative Director Cathy Cone (Cone Editions Press), and Foundations Coordinator and Professor of Drawing Andrew Scott Ross (East Tennessee State University).