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Betsy Towns, Art History (2008)

Betsy Towns teaches UNCSA’s surveys of art history from prehistory to contemporary, and offers courses on Modern Art, Animal Representation, Art of the African Diaspora, and Contemporary Art. Ms. Towns completed undergraduate work in English and Studio Art at UNC-Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar. She earned her Ph.D. at UNC in 2007 as a Pogue Scholar. Her career combines art historical research, studio art practice, and teaching in equal measures. Current writing projects include a book-length work on Martin Johnson Heade's Hummingbird Paintings, an article on Alphabet Books of Ornithology, and a essay investigating of the role of birds in African American art, each of which unravel the inescapable and nonsensical ways that we classify knowledge. Ms. Towns also works as a sculptor and public artist. Her current project, "All Work and No Play," sets ceramic actors into playground spaces, investigating connections between the natural world, poetry, narrative, and play. Recent grants include master planning and design of a multi-million-dollar children’s outdoor learning center at the North Carolina Zoo, a UNC Teaching and Learning Technologies Grant (a collaboration with colleague Bob King) to redesign the Art History courses at UNCSA, and two Charlotte Arts and Science Council grants for public sculpture.