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Patti Akesson's acrylic piece "Landscape Yellow" is one of the works to be featured in the August 7 Summer Art Show at Mount Saint Mary's - a show spotlighting L.A. female artists, organized by a pair of University undergrads.

Research project sparks idea for summer art show featuring L.A. female artists

Undergraduate research is heating up this summer at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles.

Ten Athenians in the University’s baccalaureate programs are conducting research in a variety of fields — and two students have already taken their shared project to unexpected heights.

Liliana Resendez ’16 and Valerie Nava ’16 have spent much of their summer interviewing female artists for a documentary that will highlight the artists’ experiences within the L.A. art scene. In the course of their interviews, Resendez and Nava realized a consistent theme — the need for more showcases promoting art from a woman’s perspective. So the students decided to do something about it.

Resendez and Nava organized a one-day Summer Art Show, featuring many of the local female artists they interviewed for their documentary. The show will take place August 7, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Mount Saint Mary’s Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery on the University’s Chalon Campus.

“The idea of an art show came about when talking with the artists and getting to know their stories,” Nava says. “Many of them mentioned that there are not enough opportunities for women artists to be shown in galleries or institutions. Our goal is to provide a place where these women can come together, promote their art, share it with the Mount community and network with one another.” 

Both the show and the documentary will feature artists whose work touches on topics such as personal struggles, the importance of communities and the female perspective.

“I think this show is a great idea,” says Paul Green, PhD, an associate professor of philosophy and the Mount’s undergraduate research coordinator. “This is something they did of their own initiative after connecting with some of L.A.’s underground artists.”

Resendez is a child development major with a minor in sociology, and Nava is a psychology major with an emphasis in applied psychology. They are among 10 baccalaureate students who are engaged in research projects with faculty mentors this summer. Resendez and Nava worked in tandem with professors Kelby Thwaits and Charles Bunce, of the University’s Film, Media & Communication department.

The research is sponsored by part of a $500,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. Studies have shown that early exposure to research experiences is tied to positive student outcomes. Thanks to projects like these, Mount Saint Mary’s students don’t have to wait for graduate school to pursue advanced research opportunities that fit their passions.

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