Art professor relates to students through history and culture


Megan Fabry

UNO professor Amy Morris
Morris focus on teaching and studying Northern Renaissance art. Photo courtesy of Amy Morris

Art History is a topic that is often hard to understand, but for Professor Amy Morris, Ph.D., she thrives in the complicated and intricate stylistic contexts.

As a young woman, she attended college at Kent University and began her higher education experience as a fashion major. She received a degree in advertising but realized her true passion when she took an art survey course at the end of her undergrad. After going back to school, she received a master’s degree in Art History and her doctorate degree at Indiana State University.

Morris has been a professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for almost eight years. Her concentration is in Northern Renaissance art, which is 15th and 16th century art that is featured outside of Italy and north of the Alps in countries such as France, Germany, Austria and England. She even wrote her dissertation around a German altarpiece that was created in 1432 which depicts the life of Saint Mary Magdalene, a biblical figure that is said to have traveled with Jesus Christ and witnessed his crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

“I love art history research because it is so interdisciplinary,” Morris said. “It reflects the culture in which it was produced so you learn about history, religion, politics and so on. Because I worked on a print of a German mercenary soldier, I had to learn a great deal about their costumes, station in life and weapons. I never thought that I would learn about that.”

Morris teaches two to three classes each semester that range from Renaissance courses and 17th-century Baroque art to a British Art survey study abroad course where she and her students spend two weeks in London.

“Several of our students have gone to graduate school in Europe,” Morris said. “Others have important positions at galleries and museums. For a small program, we have had amazing success with getting students in important positions. I also love that many of our students have gone on study abroad trips. They experience the world and grow in incredible ways.”

Along with educating, Morris works in art curation and enjoys putting together exhibitions. Currently, she is writing and collecting research for the new Joslyn collections catalog.