Meet the Majors

Sofia Canale-Parola ’22J

Art History, Museum Concentration

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About Sofia

2022J

Hometown: Cambridge, MA

Art History, Museum Concentration

Past Houses: Sessions, Wilson, Capen, off-campus; Most recently: Friedman Apartments – Machado D

Using only a gif, describe your major.
Somewhere between this and this.

What are your clubs, sports or other activities?
Student liaison for the art department; a media and cataloging assistant at the Imaging Center and involved with Smith's chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.

If you could go anywhere in the world after you graduate, where would you go?
Since I'm a J Grad, I've been lucky enough to have some time pre-graduation to travel—I got to see the American southwest for the first time, visited my family in Milan, and spent some time with some Smith friends in Montego Bay! That being said, I've always wanted to go to Cuba; the architecture is stunning, and the museums seem really interesting.

Looking ahead a decade (or two) from now, what's something you'd like to have achieved?
In a decade, I would like to have established my own studio space (or at the very least I would like to think I've continued my artistic practice), and I like to imagine that I'll be writing about and displaying the work of some of the fantastic artists and creators I've befriended at Smith!

What’s one piece of advice you’d like to share about your time at Smith?
That it's actually very cool and interesting to be unabashedly and earnestly excited about the things you love. Also, the pizza at the CC Café is really good.

It's actually very cool and interesting to be unabashedly and earnestly excited about the things you love.

Describe one class moment that particularly sticks with you.
I did the Smithsonian internship program my junior year, and part of that program requires that you produce a thesis-length independent research project. Prof. Christen Mucher of the American Studies department was our internship advisor, and she taught our biweekly course that helped us formulate our research topics. It was our second-to-last class, when all of my classmates were presenting their months-long research, when I suddenly had the overwhelming feeling of "Oh my god, we actually did it! I did it!" The work I did in that program ended up informing my capstone project for the museums concentration, and also for independent research later on.

What has been your favorite spot on campus to study? What spot will you miss the most?
My absolute favorite place to study is the woefully underrated Josten Library in Mendenhall. Nothing beats that spot, it's just so cozy and odd! I'll definitely miss my Friedman—Machado D—the most, because I loved living with my lovely roommates Brooke, Paige, and Loren (all class of 22J. Hi, guys!)

What’s your all-time (big or small) favorite Smith memory?
During the finals period of the 2021 fall semester, my friend Paige Bosler (who was a WOZQ party DJ) decided to remodel the WOZQ DJ practice room in Mwangi, and I and a few of our friends got to help her clean, repaint and reorganize a super cool space that I had no idea existed. We made a pretty awesome MTV Cribs-style tour video when we finished, and I rewatch it whenever I miss those guys! That, or the time I got to see Professor Kellum's cat, Cleo, over Zoom.

If you could tell an alum something about your own personal experience at Smith, what would it be?
I would probably say that, while my time at Smith was sometimes turbulent (Neilson construction, COVID and my own personal frustrations), the friends I made at Smith were the reason I was able to keep going. I was lucky enough to find some truly excellent people who I will hopefully have in my life for a very long time.

How has your Smith major brought out the change-maker in you?
Being an alum of the Smith College Art History department alongside some real legends—I'm particularly thinking about Thelma Golden '87 at the Studio Museum—makes me feel incredibly lucky that I have an entire legacy of table-shaking curators, artists, and thinkers for me to learn from. Personally, a lot of my work in the Art History department has been focused on alternative archives and accessibility, and I am lucky to have had such excellent advisors who have helped me do this research. A big shoutout in particular to my advisor, Frazer Ward, without whom I don't know where I'd be!

What do you think has been the most “Smithie” thing you’ve done in life so far?
Hmm, probably writing fan mail (I mean literal pen-and-paper fan mail here, by the way) to an artist and countercultural historian who I heavily cited in both my capstone project and independent research work because I liked his writing so much.

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