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Student Spotlight October 2011

Katharine Salomon

Katharine Salomon’s academic journey began at Transylvania University where she received a Bachelor in Arts degree. She double majored in Psychology and Studio Art. A few decades later she earned a Master’s degree in justice administration from the University of Louisville. After completing her MS degree, she immediately started in UofL’s Interdisciplinary PhD program. She designed a course of study that combines the disciplines of justice administration and art history to focus on the study of Art Crime, which encompasses art theft, art vandalism, art forgery, and museum security.



Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):

My specific area of research is art crime. To date I have conducted research on a “suspected” forgery at the Speed Art Museum and a qualitative study of art vandalism using those crimes reported in the New York Times. Art is something most people do not think about as being harmed or stolen. But it happens more often than we think. Art is an original, a one of a kind piece of work that is created, in part, from the artist’s soul. It greatly upsets me that someone would think it is acceptable to damage or steal something so unique and special.

What made you go into this field of study?

I first read about art crime in a fictional novel. I was immediately hooked on the topic. I researched it extensively and discovered that there has been very little scholarly research on art crime. Not only is this area fascinating, but I have the opportunity to break new scholarly ground.

Awards, honors, publications:

In 2006, I was awarded the “Service Above Self” distinction from the International Service Learning Program at the University of Louisville. In 2007, I became a member of the Golden Key organization. Lastly, in 2008, I was recognized as the “Employee of the Quarter” in District 4 of Probation and Parole. For this honor, John Rees (former Kentucky Department of Corrections Commissioner) recognized my efforts in the prisoner re-entry initiative by awarding me a “Commissioner’s Award of Superior Performance”.

What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the prison art exhibit (Bars to Walls: Inmate Art Expressions) I curated at UofL’s Hite Art Institute. This project combined my experiences in corrections with my current studies in fine arts. This exhibit helped the public understand what constructive and creative pieces of work inmates from Kentucky’s prisons are capable of. It is also good for the inmates to have the opportunity to display their work outside of the prison walls in a well-known gallery. Through this experience, I learned how to work with many different agencies and how to curate an art show.

Long term goals/ aspirations:

My long term goal is to continue working in the area of social/legal justice in some capacity as a project manager/program director. I would also like to consult and conduct research on art crime on a regular basis.

How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?

This degree will open the door for employment opportunities as well as put me in a credible position to make a difference in the world through research and advocacy.

What was your favorite part of the graduate school experience?

My favorite part of my graduate school experience has been meeting and connecting with professors that are excited about my ideas and have served as inspiring mentors. Entering graduate school and having an unusual course of study can be scary. The folks I have on my team are supportive in so many ways even outside of the academic realm.  


Fun Facts

A talent you have always wanted: To be able to sing. I’m absolutely tone deaf.
Favorite book:
I don’t have a specific favorite book. My favorite genre of books is mysteries.

Favorite quote:
I have three favorite quotes that keep me in check and motivated.  “Just do it”-Nike, “Well behaved women seldom make history”-Laurel Ulrich, and “Be who you are, say what you feel, those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”- Dr. Seuss.

Pet Peeve: Laziness

If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now?
I’m a project person. If I was not in school I would be volunteering at different social service agencies and working on art projects that have never left the pages of a sketch pad.


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