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Columbia College Chicago
Fellows and Contacts

Fellows and Contacts

Dr. Amy M. MooneyDr. Amy M. Mooney

Critical Encounters Faculty Fellow 2011/2012
Associate Professor, Art History Department


Dr. Amy M. Mooney, Associate Professor of Art History at Columbia College Chicago is the Critical Encounters Faculty Fellow for the academic year 2011-2012. Her commitment to service and diversity has informed her work at the College in a myriad of ways, from chairing the curriculum committee of the School of Fine and Performing Arts to collaborating with community partners for lecture series and symposia such as the ground-breaking “The State of Black Art.” Her commitment to developing strategies for visual literacy has not only had a significant impact on the art history curriculum at the College, but also has led to substantive contributions to curricular guides and professional development programs used by Chicago Public Schools, Every Art, Every Child, and the Terra Foundation of American Art’s Teacher Lab.
As a scholar, Amy has contributed numerous publications to her field, including a widely cited monograph on Chicago painter Archibald J. Motley.  Her expertise on the Harlem Renaissance led the Milwaukee Art Museum to invite her to deliver the keynote address for The Big Read of Zora Neal Hurston’s epic novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Recent lectures at the University of Maryland and the University of Texas, Austin drew from her current book project that investigates how the portrait was utilized by social reformers to assimilate migrant and immigrant populations in the U.S. from the late 1890s through the 1950s. Research on this project was facilitated by a fellowship at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, where Amy searched the collections of the Library of Congress, Howard University, and the National Archives looking for examples of portraits that altered perceptions and impacted public policy in the United States.

chelsea m

Chelsea Middendorf
Critical Encounters Undergraduate Fellow
Programs and Curriculum, Spring 2012

Chelsea is currently earning her BA majoring in Art + Design with a minor in Cultural Studies at Columbia College Chicago. She moved to Chicago and began at Columbia as a freshman and has been here for almost four years, minus a small detour to Rome for a semester abroad in fall 2010. Living in Italy, along with exploring Chicago and prior life lessons gained growing up on a small farm has inspired her to study art for its ability to tell the story of a culture and create a new one.

Chelsea has collaborated in some important art installations such as BUILT Festival in the Wicker Park area in Chicago, IL, and Art on Track on a CTA train in downtown Chicago. For nearly four years, she has also been involved with the Student Alumni Alliance at Columbia, which seeks to bridge the networking gap between students and alumni of our college. Currently she works with a new group called Potluck: Chicago, collaboratively formed with the help of the Critical Encounters team and the UK artist group motiroti. Together, they work to develop social and community connections through valuing difference and collaboration; a foundation for change that Chelsea hopes to always maintain. 

Darren Wallace


Darren Wallace
Critical Encounters Graduate Fellow, Programs and Curriculum

Darren Wallace is a second year graduate student studying film and video at Columbia College Chicago. He obtained a degree in Mass Communications, Theology and Creative Writing from Xavier University of Louisiana creating a synthesis between the disciplines in hopes of developing a unique and personal voice dedicated to a passion for cinema. Bearing witness to New Orleans as it attempts to rebuild, he finds the basic necessities of human life and dignity transcend political ideologies and foreign context. Consequently, he is creatively fascinated by the social dynamics, realities, characters and relationships formed within impoverished communities. He hopes to lead a career writing and directing films which serve as a testament to untold narratives of structuralized injustice and human dignity.



Kathi Beste

Kathi Beste
Critical Encounters Graduate Fellow, Design and Marketing

Kathi Beste is a curator, performer, photographer, designer, performance presenter, and book artist. She is the Director of the Flamenco Arts Center on Chicago, performing and presenting flamenco for over 20 years in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Miami, and Boston. Originally from New York (by way of California, Madrid, and Boston), she is currently pursuing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago. During her first year at Columbia, she was one of the two Offset Fellows for  2010-2011 at the Center for Book and Paper Arts. She is interested in seeking out collaborative ventures and experiences, bringing the strength and talents of people together to makes concepts and ideas into positive realities.

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