Davis Art Prize for Writing

Please join the Davis staff in congratulating Alex Cahn '24, Mirka Estrada '23 and Uvin Ko '23, winners of the 2023 Davis Art Writing Prize! ⁣

⁣Alex, Mirka, and Uvin co-authored their essay "Decolonizing the Davis Museum:  An Exploration of Decolonial Approaches in Shaping Narratives and Power in Space'' for Professor Peggy Levitt’s seminar “De-centering and Re-centering: Social Theory Across the Globe.” Drawing on decolonial theory,  they examined how power functions within the space of the museum and proposed new installations in three galleries:  “African Identities,” “19th-Century American Landscapes,” and “Early American Portraiture.”  The judges found Alex, Mirka and Uvin’s co-authored work impressive for its use of different modes of writing, which included a research paper and both new and revised labels. They offered creative exhibition ideas that showed careful attention to diverse visitors' engagement with museum space. 

Congratulations to Alex, Mirka, and Uvin! 

Many thanks to Erin Royston Battat (Writing Program), Nicolaus Gutierrez (Cinema & Media Studies), Amanda Gilvin (Davis Museum), and Yuhua Ding (Davis Museum) for serving as judges.

Decolonizing the Davis Museum:  An Exploration of Decolonial Approaches in Shaping Narratives and Power in Space.


How to Enter:

Wellesley students are invited to compete for the Kathryn Wasserman Davis ‘28 Art Prize for Writing by submitting a paper about any object or event associated with the Davis Museum. Topics may include:

  • Objects from the permanent collections or exhibited during temporary exhibitions
  • Any aspect of Museum programming
  • The Davis Museum itself

Papers will be judged by a panel of faculty and staff members representing the Davis Museum, the Art Department, and the Writing Program. The panel will award $300 for the winning paper, and the name of the prizewinner will be announced at Commencement.

Deadline: April 3, 2023


  • This competition is open to all Wellesley College students.
  • Papers written during the Spring 22, Fall 22, and Spring 23 semesters, including those written for independent studies, are eligible.
  • Each student may submit only one paper.
  • Honors theses are not eligible. A paper being submitted for another prize (e.g. sponsored by a department) is also ineligible.

Entries must include the paper and a cover letter that contains your name, class year, and campus address; the name of the professor and course for which you wrote the paper; and a brief description of the assignment and the date the paper was submitted. Send submissions as e-mail attachments to davis-art-writing-prize@wellesley.edu by April 3rd.

Questions? Email Yuhua Ding, the Kemper Assistant Curator of Collections and Academic Affairs at davis-art-writing-prize@wellesley.edu. For resources to improve your writing, including tips for submitting a prizewinning paper, we encourage you to visit the Writing Program website.


Prize Recipients:

2022: Eleanor Mallett '22, "Ashes to Ashes: An Ethnography of The Steps at Wellesley College" for ANTH 277/WRIT 277: "True Stories: Ethnographic Writing for the Social Sciences and Humanities." Justin Armstrong (Writing and Anthropology).
Exhibition: "Like a Great Roman Ruin": The College Hall Fire and Anne Whitney at 100 (2014) 

2021: Annabel Brazaitis ’22, “Portraits, Pieces: The American ’90s and the Queer Collage,” for ENG 286: New Literatures: The Gay 1990s and Beyond, Octavio González (English).
Object: Nicole Eisenman, Happy Thoughts (Self-Portrait), 1996, Ink and collage on paper, Gift of Martina Schaap Yamin (Class of 1958) 2009.414

2020: Stephanie Fan ’22, “Connecting Tradition and Modernity: Yang Yongliang’s Artificial Wonderland II,” for ARTH 100: The Power of Images: Introduction to Art and its Histories, Margaret Carroll (Art)
Object: Yang Yongliang, Artificial Wonderland II—Travelers Among Mountains and Streams, 2014, Giclée print, AP 1/2, Museum purchase with funds given through the generosity of Linda Wyatt Gruber (Class of 1966) 2019.39