Kit Coty


I received my PhD in art history from the University of Washington in 2022 and graduated in 2023. My research focuses on expressions of regional identity in landscape design, and the use of both local materials and sculptural/architectural techniques in the villas and gardens of early modern Tuscia, a rural corner of Italy nestled halfway between Florence and Rome. I hold an MA in art history from the University of Washington (2013), and a BA in art history and drama from Seattle University (2007). Over the course of my graduate studies, fellowships that have significantly impacted the scope and direction of my research include a Junior Research Fellowship in Garden and Landscape studies from Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in 2019, and a University of Washington Rome Center Alumni Fellowship from the Northwest Institute of Architecture and Urban Studies in Italy in 2011. My articles have appeared in “Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes” (2021) and “The Three Natures: Gardens and Landscapes of the Italian Renaissance” (Brepols, 2023). I have also served as a board member for the Civita Institute, a research organization in Civita di Bagnoregio that was established by the founder of the University of Washington’s Rome Center.


Maniera Etrusca: Gardens, Vernacular Landscape, and Regional Identity in Sixteenth Century Tuscia


Tuscia, a volcanic region of central Italy between Florence and Rome, is home to a veritable cohort of interrelated designed landscapes, which until now had never received their own regional study. Three of these sites are well known to scholars of art history and landscape architecture—Villa Lante in Bagnaia, Villa Farnese in Caprarola, and the Sacro Bosco in Bomarzo—and figure prominently in studies of central Italian villeggiatura during the late Renaissance. However, our understanding of these sites has ultimately remained divorced from their surrounding cultural and topographical landscape. My dissertation is a recontextualization of these designed landscapes through a specifically regional lens, and I frame these sites as products of a lively and ongoing dialogue between their patrons concerning gardens, villa culture, and the distinctive nature of Tuscian landscape. As the patrons’ conversations about art, nature, and local identity evolved, so too did their gardens, and across the chapters of my dissertation I demonstrate how these sites appear to have responded to each other throughout the mid- to late sixteenth century.


My dissertation approaches the patrons’ designed landscapes from a material and experiential perspective, shifting the dialogue away from what is represented within the gardens and onto the matter of how landscape was organized and how its constituent elements were utilized. Intervening against iconographic, programmatic readings of the sites that focus on discourses of pastoralism, epic literature, and Roman antiquarianism, I propose a new perspective that privileges the gardens’ relationships with the surrounding territory over emblematic meaning. Through this lens, my research ultimately reveals what I have termed the maniera etrusca, a uniquely regional school of art that emerged in sixteenth century Tuscia, which celebrated local vernacular culture and Etruscan heritage.


A film is a mosaic forged by time. Adamska Elizaveta Rakhilkina’s films exist in the chasm between two empires—the United States and Russia, and their colonial pasts. Tomorrow Was War is a short film that envisions a dystopian police state of Russia to-be while painting a disquieting portrait of a stealth transgender man, Shura, who is drowning in the environment of total surveillance, paranoia and reactive conformity.


Stuart Lingo

Estelle Lingo

Thaisa Way

Ann Huppert

Welcome Note

For this particular graduate class, the years at the UW have been marked by oh so many unforeseen challenges. So much of the all-encompassing and precious experience that graduate school affords was disrupted by forces brought upon all of us during these particular times. I am especially grateful and proud to have watched this cohort rise to meet these extraordinary challenges with creativity, grace and pro-active determination. The successful completion of their degrees has been fulfilled with passion and the thoughtful consideration of the issues, ideas, and experiences that permeate the world we live in.

A sense of completion, achievement, and reflection is palpable in the works brought together in this Graduate Showcase. More so than ever, this journey has not been a solitary endeavor, but rather is made possible by an essential and supportive community that includes fellow students, family, friends, distinguished visitors, staff, and faculty. I especially want to acknowledge the support and mentorship offered by our faculty and staff who are so committed to creating an educational environment where our graduate students are able to thrive.

I want to recognize and thank Shin Yu Pai, Rock Hushka, Stefan Gonzales, Sadaf Sadri, and Heidi Biggs, for their efforts and insights gleaned during their interviews with the Art and Design grads.

Thanks so much for the collective and enthusiastic support of the entire Henry Art Gallery team, with special thanks to Sylvia Wolf, director, along with exhibition designers and preparators Rachel Ann Kessler and Eric Zimmerman. The opportunity for our graduate students to exhibit their thesis work in such a special space is a fitting capstone to their graduate careers.

I hope you enjoy exploring this online showcase where you will discover how each graduate student transformed their ideas, passions, and skills into a body of research that reflects and addresses the opportunities, challenges, wonder, confusion, and joy of the world we all inhabit.

On behalf of the School of Art + Art History + Design, congratulations to the Graduate Class of 2023!

Jamie Walker
Director, School of Art + Art History + Design
Wyckoff Milliman Endowed Chair in Art