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  April 1, 2002

Art Professor Lands Hearst Fellowship
By Rachel Stein

A professor of art and art history has been awarded a William Randolph Hearst Foundation Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society for the fall semester.

Deborah Muirhead will conduct research at the American Antiquarian Society for a visual artists' book titled, "The Conjurer's Apprentice or The Legend of Yellow Mary: A Slave Girl's Tale of Survival by her Wit and Extraordinary Powers, as Written by Herself."

"I was thrilled when I received the fellowship," says Muirhead. "I get to research what I love to do for a semester at AAS."

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) is an independent research library founded in 1812 in Worcester, Mass.

The fellowships at AAS benefit individuals who are creating works of art or non-fiction that are produced for the general public, as well as for academic and educational audiences.

Muirhead will explore the ways African-American women lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. "When I first visited the AAS, I was impressed by the vast holdings of the library," she says. "The documents I scanned over were very compelling.

"Within the next year, I look forward to constructing a visual fictional book, based on the collected histories of the lives some individuals lived," says Muirhead.

A visual artist, Muirhead creates paintings, drawings, and art history books. She has been teaching painting and drawing at UConn since 1981.

Her work has been showcased at the G.R. N'Namdi Gallery in Chicago; the Mona Berman Gallery in New Haven, Conn.; the Housatonic Museum in Bridgeport, Conn.; and the Diggs Gallery in Winston-Salem, N.C. Her work is also displayed in the

permanent collections of many institutions, including: the Baltimore Museum of Art, Vanderbilt University, Pepsico, Southern New England Telephone, and Aetna Life Insurance Co.

Muirhead was awarded prizes for her work in 1986, 1987 and 1988 in the Art of the Northeast Silvermine Exhibition.

She has also received other major awards for her work, including a Connecticut Commission Individual Artist Grant in 1991, a New England Foundation Fellowship for the Arts in 1996, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship 1997.

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation was founded in 1948 under the name California Charities Foundation. In 1951, the name changed to William Randolph Hearst Foundation in honor of the founder.

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