September 2, 2015//
Meet Marissa Del Toro. This art history graduate student has traveled the world to experience important moments in art and art's impact on culture. Now, she brings her perspective to the field of art history.
I believe my time at UTSA has expanded my interests in art, art history and other fields. I am grateful to belong to a university that offers extensive support, encouragement and knowledge.”
– Marissa Del ToroThird-year master's of art student and curatorial assistant intern with the Department of Art and Art History
Del Toro is a third-year master's of art student and curatorial assistant intern with the Department of Art and Art History. In the course of her academic career, she has walked the rainy streets of Berlin to tour the German art scene, traveled to Peru to study pre-Colombian historical sites, colonial architecture and contemporary artwork, and this summer she spent five weeks working at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Del Toro was one of 14 fellows with the Smithsonian's Latino Museum Studies Program. Working with the National Museum of American History in the home and community life division, she assisted in the acquisition of items for the museum's Mexican Folk Art collection.
"It was an amazing experience seeing the hard work and dedication that goes toward making a museum as renowned as the Smithsonian function day-to-day," Del Toro said. "Working with the National Museum of American History reinforced my beliefs on the importance of art and material culture in the representation of diverse narratives within museums. This experience has fueled me to dedicate my life to that cause."
Art has been a part of Del Toro's life since she was a child, growing up in the city of arts and innovation, Riverside, Calif. In high school, when she took her first art history course and learned how art connects cultures and touches society, she decided to work toward bringing her voice as a Latina and Chicana to academia.
Del Toro came to UTSA to pursue her master's degree because of the university's diverse student body and the art history program's strong focus on Latino and Latin American art.
"The Department of Art and Art History has a focus on the types of art that are important to me," said Del Toro, adding that she has enjoyed learning about San Antonio's vibrant art scene. "UTSA has strong ties to the local art community, which is down-to-earth and different from other art scenes, and that's opened up many opportunities for me."
Del Toro also works as a curatorial assistant intern for the department. She has worked closely with several UTSA professors to curate several art exhibitions around campus. Most recently, she assisted Associate Professor Scott Sherer with an exhibit focusing on the socioeconomic and health issues facing active duty, veterans and family members of the U.S. military, titled "Uncertainty of a Life in Security: Veterans Back Home." The exhibit is open at the UTSA Art Gallery on the Main Campus through Sept. 30.
Del Toro expects to graduate this spring. She is in the process of completing her thesis – an examination of artists Tilsa Tsuchiya and Francisco Toledo's individual works, and how their art has been exhibited and received in the last three decades. She credits being a part of UTSA for completely transforming her goals in life and helping her map out her career and academic trajectories.
"At UTSA, you're not just another number," she said. "I believe my time at UTSA has expanded my interests in art, art history and other fields. I am grateful to belong to a university that offers extensive support, encouragement and knowledge."
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