Alumni Spotlight

A major in Art opens opportunities in many fields. Critical thinking skills honed in our studios or classrooms serve students going on to careers in arts-related fields and beyond. Some of our graduates choose to continue their studies in graduate school, including some of the country’s most prestigious institutions. The Art Department strives to maintain connections with our graduates, including through an Art Department Facebook group, which encourages continued networking. The department organizes periodic roundtable discussions with alumni, which provides current students a sense of the diverse career paths available to them.


Yasmeen Abdallah
Yasmeen Abdallah graduated magna cum laude from UMass Boston in 2013 with a double major in Art (studio focus) and Anthropology, along with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. In 2012, she completed an Honors thesis in Art, which culminated in an exhibition at the Harbor Gallery. While at UMB, Yasmeen also was a student curator of the 2013 UMB Film Series and completed archaeology field schools in North Stonington, CT (in partnership with the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation) and in the Hassanamesit Woods in Grafton, MA (with the Nipmuc Nation).  
After graduating from UMB, she attended the Pratt Institute in New York City, receiving a MFA with distinction in 2015. Since graduate school, she worked at various galleries and as a studio assistant for several artists. She has also been an instructor at One River School of Art + Design in NJ, Open Source Gallery: Koko, and at Project Art, serving as Resident Artist for the Art & Social Practice Residency program. At Greenspace NYC, she has taught workshops, delivered artist talks, and exhibited her artwork. She has also given artist talks at Columbia University Teaching College, Pratt Institute, and Sarah Lawrence College. 
Yasmeen currently works as an artist, educator, and independent curator, examining  aspects of history, ephemera, tangibility and space. Finding potential in discarded materials, she applies her anthropology background to her artistic process, treating these remnants as artifacts of our immediate present and transforming them into reanimated objects. Her work has been exhibited at various venues, including the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, El Museo de los Sures, Space 776 Gallery, and K&P Gallery. In 2016, Yasmeen was selected for the 2nd Annual Pratt Alumni Exhibition. She has recently begun working as an independent curator, co-curating exhibitions at Brooklyn's Up Projects and Long Island City's Local Project. 
reviewed Spring 2017


Jeremy Ackman
Jeremy Ackman graduated with a BA in Art (studio focus) in 2012. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, he served in the Ohio National Guard in order to fund his study of art at Bowling Green State University. However, his education was put on hold during deployments to New Orleans, Kosovo, and Iraq. In 2009, he and his wife Rachel moved to Boston, where he enrolled at UMass Boston. Jeremy is currently pursuing a MFA in Photography at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Since beginning his graduate studies, he has exhibited his black and white photography in galleries in New York, Boston, and Minneapolis. His work has also been featured in Black and White magazine; and he has produced artist books, including Subway Portraits (2014).

Click here to see more on Jeremy Ackman's photography 

Amanda Bock
Amanda Bock graduated summa cum laude in 2006 with a BA in Art (art history focus) and a minor in Anthropology. In her senior year, she was the recipient of the Paul Hayes Tucker Prize for art historical research and writing. In 2007 she began her graduate studies in art history at Princeton University, where she specializes in the history of photography. In 2010 she was awarded the prestigious four-year Horace W. Goldsmith Curatorial Fellowship in Photography at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she researched and catalogued a newly-acquired archive of over 3,000 photographs by the American modernist Paul Strand. She also co-curated a major retrospective exhibition of Paul Strand’s photography and film which was on view at the Philadelphia Museum in the fall of 2014 and is presently traveling to the Fotomuseum Winterthur (Switzerland), Foundation MAPFRE, Madrid (Spain), and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (UK). She was co-author and editor of the exhibition catalogue of the same title, Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography, published by Yale University Press. She also curated several smaller exhibitions at the PMA, including Artificial Light: Flash Photography in the Twentieth Century (2014) and Family Portrait (2013). Amanda is presently completing her dissertation, Staging the Social Document in the Progressive Era: Jacob Riis, Frances Johnston, and Lewis Hine, and is a part-time research assistant in the Department of Photographs at the Princeton University Art Museum.

For the New York Times review of the Paul Strand exhibition co-curated by Amanda, Click here

Gillian Canavan

Gillian Canavan graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Art in 2010, focusing on art history and printmaking. She interned at the Peabody Essex Museum and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, before moving to New York, where she began writing for the Guggenheim Museum. In 2015, she graduated with an MA in the history of art from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. As an MA candidate, she presented at the Institute's 2014 China Project Workshop symposium; traveled to South Korea on a research trip with the support of a Shelby White and Leon Levy grant; and presented a paper at Concordia University's 2015 Art History Graduate Student Association Annual Conference in Montreal. Her graduate thesis explored artist recreations of architectural spaces in soft material, identifying the structures as sites of nomadic habitation and containers for a fluid concept of belonging. Gillian currently works at Pace Gallery in New York as a Staff Writer in the Research and Archives department, where she writes research-based texts in support of the gallery's artists and for exhibitions. She was recently involved in collaboratively writing the winning submission for the Illuminated River International Design Competition, a major public art project for the River Thames in London. Gillian also works as a freelance writer and editor, and continues to pursue her visual arts practice.
reviewed Spring 2017

Charlie Jo Crowell

Charlie Crowell graduated magna cum laude in 2013 and is a visual artist living and working in New York City.  He has done cultural production and arts intervention work as a production coordinator for VOLTA NY 2016 and as a production assistant for Creative Time in 2015. Additionally, he has worked at Pace Gallery, MoMA PS1, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design doing preparator  and art handling work. As an arts producer, Crowell has worked very closely to realize many large scale artworks with artists and curators ranging from Nato Thompson and Simone Leigh to Derrick Adams and Mary Walling Blackburn, among others. Crowell takes great pride in supporting the work of artists and arts institutions championing positive social change and promoting free and accessible arts programming. As a practicing artist, Crowell works across media, focusing on the interplay of time, memory and the evolution of emotions.
reviewed Spring 2017

To learn more about Charlie Crowel, visit his website at


Liz Doles
Liz Doles graduated summa cum laude in 2007 with a BA in Art (art history focus) and Japanese Culture. While at UMass Boston, she was the recipient of the Art Department’s Sam Walker Scholarship (2006) and the Ruth Butler Travel Scholarship (2006). When she completed her UMass Boston studies, Liz was a fifty-seven-year-old single mother in an empty nest. With nothing to keep her home, she set out with a pinhole camera to find and photograph places of spiritual significance. She has supported her travels with various grants and sometimes by teaching English as a Second Language. In 2009, she taught English to young Tibetan Buddhist monks at the Royal White Monastery in Kathmandu. She was artist-in-residence at Red Gate Gallery in Beijing in 2009-2010. In 2011, she went to Sri Lanka on a Fulbright Fellowship to document that country’s architectural heritage with pinhole photography. In addition, she made photographic portraits of Sri Lankans from all walks of life, a project which was exhibited at the American Center in Colombo (part of the American Embassy). These pinhole images have also been shown in Boston’s Open Door Gallery and the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York. In addition, they have been collected in a book entitled Resplendent Sri Lanka.  In 2013, Liz settled down in Trenton, New Jersey. Currently, she is working on a photo essay about Trenton and teaching ESL at Latinas Unidas, a program assisting Trenton’s Latino immigrant population. Beginning in September 2015, she will depart for Morocco, where she will serve as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching art and English in that country’s Youth Development Program; and of course, she’ll be busy making photographs.


Nicole Farland
Nicole Farland graduated summa cum laude in 2011 with a BA in Art (studio focus) and a minor in Anthropology.  During her final year at UMass, she completed an honors thesis that combined her sculpture, printmaking, and installation work, and culminated in an exhibition at the Harbor Gallery.  Following graduation, Nicole attended the 3D Fine Arts graduate program at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and graduated in 2013 with an MFA.  She has since taught classes in textile art processes at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Eliot School.  She has also worked in education and visitor services at a number of historic and cultural sites, including the Old North Church and Historic Site, the Old State House, and the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, MA.  Nicole currently works as a professional seamstress and knitter, specializing in creating custom garments and repairing heirloom textiles.  She also maintains an active studio practice, making sculpture and installation work that incorporates traditional textile processes and mass-produced objects, exploring connections between the handmade and the readymade. 
reviewed Spring 2017

To see more of Nicole's work, visit her website at

Skyela Heitz
Skyela Heitz graduated in 2006 with a BA in Art (studio focus). While a student at UMass Boston, she was director and curator at the Harbor Gallery from 2004 to 2006. After graduating, she worked at the front desk of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. It was there that she became interested in the behind-the-scenes responsibilities of the museum’s Registrar Department, where she volunteered to help install various artworks by artists such as Tara Donovan and Rachel Perry Welty. These experiences led to her current position as Registrar at the Barbara Krakow Gallery, one of the most important galleries of contemporary art in Boston. The gallery features art in all media by emerging and established national and international artists, with a special focus on minimal and conceptual art. The gallery represents the estates of Sol LeWitt and Fred Sandback and regularly exhibits work by Josef Albers, John Baldessari, Tara Donovan, Mel Bochner, Alex Katz, Ellsworth Kelly, Julian Opie, Richard Serra, and many others. Skyela’s position involves a range of skills from cataloguing and writing condition reports to working with artists and clients. She especially enjoys the intimate, up-close access to artworks, many of which are by artists whom she studied while at UMass Boston. “Receiving artworks in the gallery is like receiving special gifts. I care for each one as it was my child -- very carefully and with a lot of love!  My education in UMass Boston’s Art Department first opened my eyes to these artworks and gave me the ability to appreciate them fully.”

Click here, for more on the Barbara Krakow Gallery.


Maggie Kessel 

Maggie Kassel graduated in 2007 with a BA in Art (studio focus) and a minor in Anthropology.  Before enrolling at UMass Boston, Maggie spent the majority of her life in Nigeria and Kenya. After graduating from high school at the International School of Kenya in Nairobi, Maggie moved to Boston to focus on her education in art. While at UMB, she was the recipient of the Ruth Butler Travel Scholarship, which funded her artistic study of the Hindu culture of Bali, Indonesia. In addition, beyond her interest in studio art, she discovered her passion for Medieval and Renaissance art history.  In 2012, Maggie received her Masters in Education from Montana State University, focusing on teaching Art for K-12 students. After living and working for five years in Kinshasa, Congo, she is now teaching at Colegio Maya in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The joy she finds in traveling and teaching art and art history to students of all ages has become deep a passion.  Beyond teaching, she is busy raising her son Itamar and taking care of a variety of pets.
reviewed Spring 2017

Lisa Fishbone Leger
Lisa Fishbone Leger graduated UMass Boston in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art-Art History track and a minor in Environmental Studies. After graduation, Lisa first worked in real estate as a supervisor in leasing, accounts and corporate sales, then At Sun Life Insurance as a small business sales coordinator. Recently, Lisa has shifted her career towards managerial work for nonprofit organizations. At WGBH she helped secure corporate sponsorship for educational programming. Currently she works at The American Cancer Society as the Senior Coordinator, Division of Mission Support and sits on the Advisory Committee of The Marble Collection, an arts nonprofit based at UMass Boston. In 2014, Lisa returned to school for her MBA in Nonprofit Management at Endicott College (Beverly).


Holly Moye
Holly Moye graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Art (art history focus) in 2012. She completed a MA in Art History at Boston University in 2014. While in Boston, she served as the Director of Summer and External Programs at ArtsBridge, a multi-disciplinary consultancy connecting students and performers with educational and growth opportunities in the visual and performing arts. In 2014, Holly was selected as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC), which helps artists realize their potential through education, exposure and funding. Organized in 1988, OVAC is a nonprofit organization that supports visual artists living and working in Oklahoma, in addition to promoting public interest and education in the arts. In her new position, Holly’s experience in arts education will help her lead the growth of the organization and ensure success in programming, finances, and operations.
reviewed Spring 2017


Click here for a profile of Holly and an interview about her work.
Click here for more on OVAC.

Minhae Shim
Minhae Shim graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Art (studio focus) in 2013. She began her undergraduate work at Dartmouth College. At UMass Boston, she was awarded the Chancellor's Scholarship and the Art Department Book Prize. In addition, she was a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. After graduation, Minhae worked as an associate producer on several documentaries and feature films. She also edited and illustrated the film industry book The Independent's Guide to Film Distribution, which was published in 2014. She currently works at WGBH as a researcher for the PBS series Nova. In fall  2015, she will begin graduate studies in the Master of Architecture program at the University of Miami.

Nick Zaremba
Nick Zaremba graduated with a BA in Art (studio focus) in 2001. His constantly evolving and morphing artwork ranges from small framed drawings to site-specific 3D installations and large scale commissioned murals. In addition, he often translates his handmade designs to digital graphics appropriate for products such as snowboards, apparel, and packaging. He combines an interest in psychology and semiotics with a lifelong enthusiasm for skateboarding, graffiti, and DIY culture. He has exhibited extensively on the East Coast (New York’s Gladstone Gallery) and globally from Hong Kong to Montreal. He was featured as one of the "40 Artists You Should Know" in the nationally juried publication New American Painters. His commercial design clients have included Toy2R, Converse, Neiman Marcus, and Pepsi. Since graduating from UMass Boston, Nick has also worked as an Art Handler at the MIT List Center, the Boston Athenaeum, the ICA Boston, and currently at the Barbara Krakow Gallery, where he is Head Preparator.

For more on Nick’s artwork, see: