Elizabeth Kaiser Schulte, an Atlanta expert on historic preservation, is one of 30 winners of the 116th annual Rome Prize Competition, awarded by the American Academy in Rome.
The prestigious fellowships, whose alumni include Aaron Copland, William Styron, Michael Graves, Wendy Wasserstein and Jenny Holzer, come with a stipend, a study, and room and board for a period of six months to two years in the Italian capital, along with the company of the other winners, among them historians, art historians, artists, architects and landscape architects.
An expert in works on paper, Schulte (at left) has applied her skills and cutting-edge technology to a broad range of artifacts, from papyrus scrolls to modern drawings, including the papers of Martin Luther King Jr., and the wallpaper at the Swan House. She is a Mellon conservator at the Michael C. Carlos Museum.
“This is a dream come true,” says Schulte. “I’ve wanted to apply for 20 years, but with family and work it was never a good time. I’m glad to be doing this as an older person. Now I can really absorb it all.”
Her fellowship project is titled “Changing Views of Rome Through the Eyes of Tourists and Mapmakers: Creation, Preservation, Education.” She will spend 11 months studying prints, drawings, maps and other records that visitors made of the Eternal City from the 16th to 20th centuries.
“Together, these views (vedute) and maps can be used to interpret Rome for modern visitors in a unique way, enhance our current understanding of place, and underscore the importance of preservation and conservation in safeguarding cultural heritage,” she wrote in her proposal.
Schulte is also looking forward to collaboration with the other fellows. “I’m sure the project will take paths I can’t envision based on our conversations.”