Interview with UAFS professor of art history, Dr. Sophia Farmer

Sophia Farmer, Ph.D., recently joined the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith as a new Professor of Art History for the Department of Art and Graphic Design.

Dr Farmer, could you give us some general information about yourself?

I obtained my bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto in 2012, as well as my master’s degree in 2014 and my doctorate. in 2019 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have received pre- and post-doctoral fellowships from the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, the Wolfsonian-Florida International University in Miami, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University in New Haven, and the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York. After living in so many places for my research, I can’t wait to move to Fort Smith!

What role does the study of art history play in the development of visual artists and designers?

It is essential for the development of visual artists and designers. Students often find their inspiration in art from the past and present and, more importantly, it helps them recognize the power of art. Works of art and design that cross linguistic boundaries provide an opportunity to understand communities and peoples very different from our own.

The history of art covers a wide range of subjects. What attracted you to your research?

When I was an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, I spent a year abroad at the University of Siena in Italy. I have taken many courses but have been particularly intrigued by the dark history of the fascist state. Using aesthetics to promote regime ideology, Fascist Italy supported a diverse cultural and artistic production of both modern and traditional styles and subjects. While these works of art remain controversial, I believe their study provides a better understanding of oppressive political regimes and can help us combat them today.

What prompted you to choose UAFS as the place to continue your education?

As an undergraduate student, I did a double major in art history and visual studies (art practice), and I am drawn to the idea of ​​merging the two disciplines in my practice. teaching. The Art and Design department not only gives me the opportunity to do this, but as the sole art history teacher, this position gives me the freedom to teach a wide range of courses.

Would you like to add anything?

I look forward to being a part of the UAFS faculty and community and look forward to getting to know the campus and the region better!

This column is produced by the River Valley Art Coalition, whose mission is to inform citizens and visitors of art exhibits and educational opportunities in Fort Smith and the surrounding area, while shining a light on the people that make the local art scene such a dynamic and important element. from the community. To send feedback or for more information on the River Valley Art Coalition, contact [email protected].


Fort Smith Regional Art Museum

1601 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith

(479) 784-2787

  • “David Malcolm Rose: The Lost Highway”: Miniature models of businesses and paintings of long forgotten properties along the Lost Highway; playing September 24.
  • “Selections from RAM’s Permanent Collection” on view until September 26.
  • “Dr WE Knight Porcelain Gallery” in memory of Dr Henry Udouj.
  • Visit RAM’s online store at
  • Visit RAM YouTube Channel for courses, conferences and virtual exhibitions.
  • Visit to view video tours and listen to podcasts from various artists.

Windgate Art & Design at UAFS

5210 Kinkead Avenue, Fort Smith

(479) 788-7290

  • Permanent collection visible Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Art and education center

104 N. 13th St., Van Buren

(479) 474-7767

  • “Atmosphere”: August gallery.
  • “Clay Play”: pottery projects for adults and children aged 5 and over; August 23-27, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • To see the courses and workshops available and to register online, visit .
  • Visit to see virtual tours, artist demonstrations, community events and summer art classes for kids.

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