Davis Art Prize for Writing

Please join the Davis staff in congratulating Eleanor Mallett '22, winner of the 2022 Davis Art Writing Prize! 

Mallett wrote her essay "Ashes to Ashes: An Ethnography of The Steps at Wellesley College" for Professor Justin Armstrong's Anthropology course, "True Stories: Ethnographic Writing for the Social Sciences and Humanities." In it, she responded to the Davis's 2014 exhibition "Like a Great Roman Ruin": The College Hall Fire and Anne Whitney at 100, and the many images from the Wellesley College Archives that it included. The judges found Mallett's poetic comparison of Wellesley students' experiences of the College Hall Fire and the COVID-19 pandemic moving and memorable. Many thanks to Associate Professor of Art Liza Oliver, Assistant Curator Nikki Berlin, and Koerner Senior Curator Amanda Gilvin for serving as judges.

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, 2022


  • This competition is open to all Wellesley College students.
  • Papers written during the Spring 21, Fall 21, and Spring 22 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.

How to Enter:

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 Amanda Gilvin, Ph.D., Sonja Novak Koerner '51 Senior Curator of Collections and Assistant Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Davis Museum 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:

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