Smart Scholars Program

The Smart Scholars program supports research opportunities at the Smart Museum of Art resulting in an original creative work (of visual art, music, dance, writing), public program, or scholarly essay. 

Posted August 30, 2022

Call for Proposals

The Smart Museum of Art’s Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry supports excellence in undergraduate education at the University of Chicago by expanding opportunities for object-centered inquiry. The Smart Scholars program is designed to foster an expanded range of scholarly and creative expressions for undergraduate researchers interested in the visual arts. Third- and fourth-year undergraduates from any major may apply for one, two, or three-quarter scholarships. Each scholarship carries an optional $1,500 research fund requiring a budget and schedule at the time of application. This fund can be used to support research travel, artistic materials, publishing costs, etc. Smart Scholars will be mentored by the Smart Museum’s Collections Research Preceptor, who will assist students in the program with building a research plan. 

Principle Responsibilities
Academic research (library, database, archive, conservation, materials science laboratory, or other museums) into one or more objects within the Smart Museum’s collection; regularly meetings with the Collections Research Preceptor, other mentors, and fellow students within the Smart Scholars cohort; successful completion of proposed project. 

Third- or fourth-year undergraduate in good standing at the University of Chicago. Open to all majors. 

Preferred Skills
Excellent research and communication skills, time management skills, some training or experience in the proposed area of creative expression. 

Recommended Training (optional)
Art History 101 

Skills that will be Gained from this Experience
Smart Scholars will experience the creative and intellectual satisfaction of seeing their research into works of art come to fruition in a public forum through display, readings, and performance. 

Time commitment 
One, two, or three quarters; approximately 10 hours per week.

Successful proposals will be awarded a $1,500 stipend per academic quarter 

Application requirements:
CV, 350-word project proposal (including list of one or more focal works from the Smart’s art collection) names of two faculty references (one of whom should be willing to act as an academic advisor for the proposed project), unofficial transcript, budget and timeline for travel (if proposing travel) 

Application submission
Please submit your application to Any questions can be directed to Aneesah Ettress, Academic Engagement Coordinator,  

Application Deadline
Materials will be reviewed beginning the week of October 3, 2022

Smart Scholars is an initiative of the Smart Museum of Art’s Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry made possible in part by generous funding from the Smart Family Foundation of New York. Additional support has been provided by the University of Chicago’s College Center for Research & Fellowships (CCRF).