We are highlighting here an Appalachian Alumna who graduated with departmental honors, one of over 30 departmental honors programs at Appalachian State University. Veda Stocton Lane (’18) has been accepted and awarded a full scholarship to Sotheby's Institute of Art in London where she begins this upcoming Fall 2019 semester. Lane is the recipient of the Sotheby's Institute 50th Anniversary scholarship, which will cover full tuition and traveling expenses. From Appalachian, Lane earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with departmental honors in art history and curatorial studies with minors in French and Francophone studies. She shares,
“App state and the honors program have been incredibly helpful. Although I came into the program late and took a not-so-conventional path with my studies, I was able to really get what I needed from the program. A lot of those needs were fulfilled in the fruition of my thesis, but the intensive study abroad trips offered through the honors program gave me indispensable tools as well. Hindsight and realizing how much I have matured with my research and my goals has absolutely been the most rewarding. I can look back at my time going to App and know that I did everything I could with what the university offered.”
For her honors thesis, Indelicate Philosophies: the Convergence of French and Japanese Erotic Arts, Lane shared, "I wanted to work with something that I'm passionate about, combined my second language with my research, and made me laugh." Her research focused on the disenfranchisement of the powerful through erotic imagery. She argued France and Japan produced erotic representations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that laid the foundation for further artistic influence on one another in the nineteenth century. Lane worked with mentor, Dr. Mira Rai Waits, assistant professor of art history, and with Dr. James Toub, professor of art history, as her second reader, both from Appalachian's Department of Art. Additionally, Lane worked with Dr. Jean-François Fournier, assistant professor of French in Appalachian's Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures. Lane reflected on her thesis and mentoring experience,
“Mira was an absolute dream to work with. She destroyed my drafts and was my devil's advocate the entire way through. I also worked with Jean-Francois Fournier in the languages department. He was gracious enough to meet with me after class and help me translate 18th century French engravings of Marie Antoinette. My committee and those sitting in [on my defense] questioned my process, my argument, and strengthened this project as a whole.”
At Sotheby’s, Lane will be studying Art Logistics, a pioneering program validated by the University of Manchester. Lane intentionally sought a post-graduate program combining art theory and business practice with an emphasis on hands on learning. As she explained, “I am specifically interested in collections management, technology, and the legal and ethical aspects of provenance and conservation.” The Sotheby’s Art Logistics program website states,
"The MA in Art Logistics curriculum provides an in-depth understanding of the ins-and-outs of collections management, registrar and inventory systems, signage and labeling, and legal and ethical issues arising out of provenance and conservation. Students will study under our faculty of academics, art world practitioners, and experts, with privileged access to some of London’s most prestigious and world-renowned art institutions. Students will become familiar with the power of positive disruption through technology and the growing use of big data and digital applications in business practice. The program will also allow students to gain real-world experience through a work placement elective and a practice-based dissertation – developing an innovative new model and business plan."
Lane reports that she will complete her master of arts at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in one “very intense” year. Her coursework will include an art law class and an ethics class. After completing her M.A., she reports,
“I am truly hoping to delve into the art market while also promoting ethical art practice, conservation, and restitution. Logistics will give me a solid foundation to enact positive change in the art market… My plans are all over the map, from wanting to be an art crime lawyer to making fancy earrings and owning a gallery; I'm very flexible and it really just depends on where I end up. I am definitely hoping to remain in London, but I would also be happy traveling most of the time. The study abroad trips through App were infectious and gave me a taste for picking up and just going somewhere unknown.”
There is much to learn from Lane’s story of perseverance and hard work. She shared, “The day I graduated, I was also sending out job applications everywhere. I sat in the back of my parent's car and used my phone as a hotspot. I started with galleries in Charlotte and continued applying in Los Angeles throughout the summer. I got an internship with the Shain Gallery in Charlotte, which I highly recommend to any student wanting some experience in art galleries. Sybil and Eli are phenomenal and have laid the foundations for my knowledge about operating a successful gallery connected to the community. I also did some volunteering with the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum and the Bechtler Museum of Art in Charlotte.” September 2018 following her graduation, Lane moved to Los Angeles where she began working for an art gallery in Manhattan Beach. Within two months she attained the full time position with an international contemporary art gallery where she continues to work.
Lane noted the best take away from her honors experience at Appalachian was her working relationship with faculty. She said, “There are professors that I haven't mentioned here that have made an indelible impact on my studies and I am very grateful to them and their dedication to students.” As for advice for current honors students, Lane shared, “I would definitely say make connections and forge professional relationships with professors and students. Those connections are so important. Do everything you can while you're in school. If you're passionate, really go after it. And if you don't know, go ahead and try it. It's all scary, tedious, and annoying, but more often it's essential to moving forward towards the things you are passionate about.”