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Alumni Spotlight: Victoria Nerey

A Q & A with Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts, School of Art Alum, Victoria Nerey.

Q: What was the year and degree you received from The University of Houston’s College of the Arts? 

A: 2018: BA in Art History and 2020: MA in Art History 

Q: Where has your [arts] career taken you since graduation? 

A: Since graduating in Spring 2020, I have started my PhD at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Additionally, I have started an art history podcast that focuses on Latin American Art History. 

Q: Is there one thing that has surprised you about a career in the arts that you didn’t expect? 

A: It is incredibly fast paced! The New York arts scene is quite different from what I was used to in Houston. I am also in awe of the many different facets of the art world, particularly in museums and art criticism where so many different departments and specializations overlap to produce remarkable exhibitions and literature. 

Q: What accomplishments in your career do you feel most proud of? 

A: While still a student last year, I curated my first exhibition on campus and completed a graduate fellowship at The Menil Collection. On a recent trip to The Menil, I actually saw some of the objects that I provided research for on view and it was quite the surreal feeling to see a semester’s worth of work available to the public! I am also incredibly proud of getting into my current program. It is one of the most competitive public programs to get accepted into and I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am now without my mentors at UH, particularly Drs. Dorota Biczel, Rex Koontz, and Roberto Tejada 

Q: Are there specific skills or things you learned at the McGovern College of the Arts that you find valuable in your career now? What are they? 

A: The art history courses in partnership with the MFAH gave me the skillset to work in museums, specifically curatorial departments. I learned how exhibitions are designed as well as how curators critique, question, and pose arguments with works of art. The individual works themselves become like the words to an essay and ultimately compose a central thesis. Additionally, I learned how curatorial departments work in partnership with the conservation and education departments to create a cohesive exhibition that can reach a wide audience while still maintaining the integrity of the art. 

Q: Has there been any press coverage that you would like to share? If so, list links in your answer with any helpful descriptions. 

A: Although it is not exactly press coverage, the University recently uploaded my latest research project to the Library’s thesis repository: 

Q: What is coming up for you in the future that we should watch for? 

A: Right now, I am focusing on my podcast, Art Watch (@artwatchpodcast on Instagram and Twitter). The podcast discusses Latinx and Chicanx art history and I hope that it can be used as supplemental teaching material for art history classes while still being entertaining and thought provoking for those interested in the arts. However, I am also preparing to begin dissertation research and teach at Brooklyn College in the Fall.  

Q: What advice would you have for incoming students who are focusing on a career in the arts? 

A: I would tell incoming students to take advantage of the many wonderful opportunities that UH and the CoTA offers. Without the classes, professors, and programs, I would not be as successful as I am todayAdditionally, work with students outside your major. I partnered with some of the amazing Painting MFA students to curate my first exhibition and received funding from the SoA curatorial grant. 


The CoTA has shaped my research and professional career by providing me with unique opportunities such as courses at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, fellowships at Blaffer Art Museum and The Menil Collection, as well as study abroad courses that refined my research. Through the Art History program, I found my bearings as an emerging art historian and began to formulate my voice as a scholar. The unwavering support of the Art History faculty members and that of my fantastic cohort allowed me to succeed both on and off campus.   


Instagram and Twitter Handle: @artwatchpodcast