Congratulations on receiving an Art History Honorable Mention/ Fall 2022 and best wishes ongoing to:
Mya Welch is a Sophomore at University of Michigan majoring in Anthropology and Museum Studies.
“My career goal is to work in collections in an archaeological museum. I have always been fascinated by the past, from the lives people lived to the food that they ate to the art that they made. So when I learned that there was an entire career devoted to working with the relics of humanity’s past and sharing that with other people, I just knew that was what I wanted to do. The ability to work in close proximity to objects that tell us about the past and preserve them for future generations is my dream.
In order to make that dream a reality, I will likely need at least a Master’s degree in museum studies and anthropology. I already have an Associate’s of Arts in Global Studies from Washtenaw Community College, which I attained while dual enrolled in high school at Washtenaw Technical Middle College, and the next step in my educational journey will be starting on my Bachelor’s in Anthropology, with a specialty in Museum Studies.
I have already started working in my chosen field; I have been volunteering in the Ypsilanti Historical Society’s archives weekly for quite a while now, and I enjoy it immensely. Recently I have been helping the archivist to sift through old newspaper clippings to make sure they are documents we want to keep, and that they are in the right place. Additionally, I spent last summer working as an exhibit cleaner in the museums of Mackinac State Historic Parks. That role involved me being in regular close proximity to historically significant artifacts, including pieces of fine art, and learning how best to maintain the security and preservation of those objects.”
Honorable Mention Scholarship Essay / Mya Welch
Compare and contrast the 2 paintings shown below:
The watercolor, “Manhattan Detail,” was painted in 1947 by Eileen Monaghan Whitaker. It depicts a city block with buildings, part of a park, and groups of people going about their lives. The forms and lines of the image are not particularly crisp, but there is a lot of complexity to each component. The color red is used to guide the viewer’s eye through the image, starting with the figure wearing a vivid red jacket near the bottom center, and continuing to a sign at the far right, another large sign in the center, the reddish hue of a building on the left, and finally the rusty brick of the tall buildings in the background. Overall the image gives off the vibe of a peaceful day in a comfortable life where things stay mostly the same over time. There is a sort of timelessness to it that makes the viewer want to relax into it like a warm hug.
Harlem Sunshine,” another 1947 watercolor, was created by Frederic Whitaker. It, too, shows a city block, though it lacks the quantity of people present in “Manhattan Detail.” There is only one figure in “Harlem Sunshine,” a woman in a green dress off to the right side of the image. She is very small in comparison to the buildings, and seems to be looking up at them in awe. There seems to be a mood of forlornness to the area, as if it is not much lived in or loved, a feeling accentuated by the lines of laundry strung between buildings and blowing in the wind. It has a harsh kind of beauty, with colors that should be playful instead appearing washed out in the glaring sun. There are a lot of hard lines and distinct shapes in the foreground, which get fuzzier as the eye moves further up and back in the scene, which gives the watercolor a more realistic and detailed feel.
Though both watercolors depict a similar subject, upon viewing the two images the most immediate and striking observation about them is the contrast in the usage of color. “Manhattan Detail” has a rather muted and warm color scheme of yellows and yellow-greens, which allows the more dominant reds to stand out. There is the effect of everything being on a similar plane, since there is little variation in tone. “Harlem Sunshine,” on the other hand, favors the cooler color scheme of pinks, purples, and blues. It has a very stark contrast between light and dark tones, which gives the work much greater depth of field. The varying color and tonal ranges certainly give each image an entirely different look, and invoke entirely different emotions in the viewer. “Manhattan Detail” looks tender and peaceful, while “Harlem Sunshine” seems to be empty and a little unsettling. However “Harlem Sunshine” has a more realistic appearance, in that it looks like one of those days that are so sunny it doesn’t seem quite possible. “Manhattan Detail” doesn’t have that realistic quality, but instead appears more like an idealized dream version of what the city looks like.