is a graduate student who is working toward her MA in Decorative Arts, Design, History, and Material Culture at the Bard Graduate Center in New York. Her Qualifying Paper and research area is Familiar Narratives and Clothing Caricatures: The Realities of Tex Avery’s Imaginary Universe (1908-1980).
Ms. Smith uses Tex Avery’s (1908-1980) “Red Hot Riding Hood” cartoon series as the entry point for understanding racial, social, gender, and class stereotypes in 1940s American popular culture. She grounds the study in reception theory to establish the argument that Avery was building on audiences’ existing expectations and humor theory (specifically incongruity theory) to illustrate the breakpoints of normative behavior for these groups, which in turn, are reinforced through the laughter of viewers. The case study is especially rich since each of the cartoons in the set of seven has a literary basis (“Little Red Riding Hood,” Uncle Tom’s Cabin
, “The Song of Hiawatha,” etc.), incorporates hit songs, reflects contemporary fashion trends, and pulls from popular films.
The author’s MA thesis at Dartmouth, Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words: The Depiction of Women in American WWI Propaganda Posters, shows how wartime recruitment posters for women created by illustrator Howard Chandler Christy (1890-1952) promulgated social change over the course of World War One. Drawing on insights from the field of propaganda studies, she supplemented this visual inquiry with literary analysis of popular fiction from before and after the war, as well as memoirs of women who served in the auxiliary expeditionary forces to contextualize the broadening roles for women made visible through Christy’s posters in conjunction with lived experiences.
Sarah Goethe-Jones is a costume designer and fashion historian with a diverse background in theatre, film, styling, and museums. She holds a degree from Parsons New School of Design in New York City, and is currently studying art history at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She is working closely with the Norman Rockwell Museum and Norman Rockwell Archives to conduct new research on the work of fashion illustrator Jean Ratley Cunningham (1931-2018), whose midcentury fashion drawings and designs are prominently featured in the Museum’s collection. In addition, this artist’s work will be placed within a broader context of fashion illustration history and of other noted practitioners in the field. Writing entries and providing access to this expanded information and the field through the Norman Rockwell Museum’s Illustration History website will be a significant outcome of this fellowship.
Lenore D. Miller is associate professorial lecturer at The George Washington University where she has been in a leadership position in the visual arts for 43 years. “Tony Sarg, America’s Puppet Master: Commerce and Fantasy in Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture” is her research topic. An associate professorial lecturer in the Department of Fine Arts and Art History, she is also a free-lance writer for various art publications, which have included ARTnews, KOAN, Camerawork, New Art Examiner, Metalwork, and Washington Print Club Quarterly. In October 2017 she curated and wrote the catalogue for a two-person exhibition at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C. Her academic degrees include B.A. in Art and Art History and M.F.A. in Printmaking.
Rene Mills has been an accomplished New York City educator at the Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School, where she teaches English, Speech, and Communications, for the past thirty-three years. She is the recipient of undergraduate/graduate degrees from Northeastern University (BA, Theater and Communications) and Brooklyn College (MA, Speech Education), has served on the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild, and in the Peace Corps, where she worked on a Navajo reservation. Her project, The 4 Freedoms for All, engages students and teachers from the Edward A. Reynold’s West Side High School and the with artistic and historical research and themes relating to the Four Freedoms, as put forward by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and illustrator Norman Rockwell. A paper and curriculum outlining connections for high school students between the arts and civics will be a result of this fellowship.
This project is an outgrowth of the following events:
In 2013, students and teachers from the Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School on the upper west side of New York City visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. The school’s mission is to provide an enriching educational environment that assists students who have not progressed in traditional high school settings. Following their visit, students form the Norman Rockwell Place Committee (NRPC), in recognition of Norman Rockwell’s roots in their neighborhood. An action plan to commemorate Rockwell’s birthplace is developed and submitted to the local community board in support of the street sign Norman Rockwell Place. This campaign was student led with Ms. Mills as an advisor, and was carried through New York City community boards, and eventually, to the City Council.
In 2016, Mayor of New York Bill DiBlasio signs into law the placement of a secondary sign at West 103rd Street and Broadway/Norman Rockwell Place, with students of Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School and Norman Rockwell Museum staff present.
In 2018, in collaboration with the Norman Rockwell Museum, students and teachers dedicate a plaque on the site of Norman Rockwell’s West 103rd Street birthplace. A student and teacher-led Jamboree commemorate Rockwell’s interpretation of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, in honor of their 75th Anniversary. Students led workshops emphasizing the importance of protecting freedom, and visited Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms, Norman Rockwell Museum’s traveling exhibition at the New York Historical Society.
In 2019, students began work on a Quality of Life Innovation Program, which asks student to identify real-world issues and problems within their society, and develop unique solutions to them.
Because creativity, critical skills and solution-based thinking are key characteristics in problem solving, the Quality of Life Innovation Program provides a platform for students to work in support of the protection of democratic ideals and the Four Freedoms.