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Elizabeth Kowalchuk

Associate Professor
Primary office:
785-864-8218
Chalmers Hall, room 320


My teaching broadly focuses on preparing individuals to be productive members of their community. This community includes people who shape and interpret our visual world and who teach others about art, local history and community.  My goal is for students to gain an understanding of how museums and the arts interact with other forces to influence and enrich our lives. Consequently, the thrust of my instructional endeavors involves guiding students toward professional competence, where the importance of art and community is recognized and investigated. I hold a joint appointment in Museum Studies and in Visual Art.  In Museum Studies, I teach courses for undergraduates on the purpose, practice and place of museums in society and graduate seminars focusing on education and local museums.  In Visual Arts, I teach courses in art education focusing on teaching, curriculum, and studio instruction. 

My current research interests center on museums, material culture and the arts.  Specifically, I seek to make connections between how museums and the arts function in communities, create a sense of place, and contribute to civic engagement.  I'm interested in these issues both from the point of view of how teachers use their arts knowledge and local resources but also how museums contribute to community vitality, particularly in rural areas. I am currently studying the rich history of the arts and museums in Kansas including artists and collectors who have contributed to our state.  I frequently give talks and workshops about the importance of art in community, the broader society and everyday life. 

Originally from Miami, I grew up in South Florida and started my teaching career in Palm Beach County.  I taught art in the public schools for six years before returning to graduate school at Ohio State University. Coming to Lawrence from a faculty position at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, NY, I have been a faculty member at KU for over 20 years. During this time, I have been active in campus and community affairs including service on the Lawrence Arts Commission and volunteer work for the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library.


Read the latest MUSE News!

Find out what KU's Museum Studies Program and our alumni are up to:

September 2017 Newsletter
January 2017 Newsletter
 

 

Museum Events

FILM - Out of State Saturday, December 09 | 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St. Kansas City, MO
In 2007, the state of Hawaii outsourced the care of roughly 2,000 male prisoners to a private, for-profit prison in Arizona. Exiled thousands of miles from their island home, a group of indigenous Hawaiian inmates have discovered their calling on the inside: teaching each other their native language and dances. As several of the men complete their sentences, the film follows them as they reintegrate in Hawaii. Out of State explores questions of cultural and religious identity; the overabundance of native Hawaiians and minorities in the prison system; the cycle of criminal behavior and its impact on the family; and prisoner entitlement. Join us for a moderated discussion led by Native-Hawaiian filmmaker and Out of State’s director, Ciara Lacy, and member of the Osage Nation, Jimmy Lee Beason II, M.S.W.

Meet the Experts: Christmas Crèches​
Sunday, December 10 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
The National Museum of Toys/Miniatures, 5235 Oak St. Kansas City, MO
Get to know the experts at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures through this monthly exploration of special topics. On December 10, enjoy special displays of Christmas crèches from the Bud and Jan Koupal Collection. Hear a talk about the history and tradition of holiday crèches, and stay afterward for cider and cookies. The program includes a lecture and museum visit. Included with museum admission.

TALK - Civic Leader and Art Collector: Sallie Casey Thayer and an Art Museum for KU
Thursday, December 14 | 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317 Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 1301 Mississippi St.
A hundred years ago, Kansas City philanthropist Sallie Casey Thayer donated her extensive collection to the KU, forming the basis for what is today the Spencer Museum of Art’s collection. Celka Straughn, Director of Academic Programs, discusses this eclectic collection, from Japanese prints and American paintings to sumptuous textiles, ancient artifacts, and even valentines. This series of informal gallery talks is designed for senior citizens but open to everyone.

TALK - Slow Art Sunday: Presepio 
Sunday, December 17 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317 Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 1301 Mississippi St.
Slow down at the Spencer and spend time getting to know one great work of art. Slow Art Sunday features one work for visitors to contemplate and converse about with Museum staff. In December, get to know our 18th-century Italian Presepio.

TALK - Home for the Holidays 
Sunday, December 24 | 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Mississippi St.
Every year, Spencer Museum Director Saralyn Reece Hardy spends an afternoon in the galleries welcoming visitors and leading informal tours to celebrate the holiday season. This year's tour centers on the origins of the Museum and collecting and sharing art as a form of civic engagement. Tours begin at 12pm and 1pm. Join us and make this Spencer Museum tradition your own. These tours are presented in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the Museum’s collection.

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—ALA
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