Dr. Laura M. Amrhein

Interpreting Historical Art

Dr. Laura Amrhein works tirelessly in pursuit of direct observation and research in the study of ancient non-western culture and the interpretations of art and artifacts. Her professional activities and associations have been acknowledged on five continents.

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During the last five years, the associate professor of art history in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences has conducted research, delivered papers before international professional organizations, and taught students onsite in 11 countries. “She is selfless in encouraging colleagues and students to accompany her,” said Win Bruhl, chair of the Department of Art.

Last year, Amrhein led a contingent of students and a colleague to the Yucatan and Chiapas, two Mexican states where the Mayan culture can be significantly examined.

“She will return with additional students this summer,” Bruhl said.

Her observations and study of classic Maya iconography is pending publication by the University Press of Colorado, including a chapter published last year that spurred invitations to participate in 19 conferences as a presenter or session chair.

She was recently awarded a supplemental grant from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to support her research in New Delhi, India, which focused on Indian environmental artists and their impact on global awareness.

She has received 14 grants in 12 years to support her research, including two from Fulbright-Hays, two from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and one from the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies.

Colleague Gary Cawood said, “This reflects on a great deal of confidence in her abilities from a variety of professionals. Her travel in pursuit of her research projects far exceed even the considerable support she has received. Her willingness to fund extra travel from her own limited resources reflects a passion for research (that is) extraordinary.”

Amrhein joined UALR nine years ago. She earned a B.A. degree in art from James Madison University in 1992 and a Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2001.