CCAD Art History major Reg Zehner gets prepped for grad school with MURAP 

The Columbus College of Art & Design student was selected for a program that prepares students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds for graduate education.

Each summer, 20 rising junior and senior undergraduates in the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts are chosen to participate in the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This year, Columbus College of Art & Design student Reg Zehner (Studio Art with an Emphasis in the History of Art & Visual Culture, 2020) was selected to take part in the program, living on campus and working closely with a faculty mentor on a rigorous research project.

Reg Zehner hopes to one day be a curator working to bring attention to marginalized artists. They’re well on their way to achieving those plans.

At MURAP, students are paired with a faculty mentor to undertake a rigorous research project. In Zehner’s case, they worked with Associate Professor Michael Palm, PhD, to research black horror films. “I wanted to participate in MURAP because I wanted to gain more academic experience and as well see what learning could be like with other students of color,” Zehner says.

It’s beneficial to know, Zehner says, that a CCAD student can choose multiple career paths and to try new opportunities if they come their way. Below, Zehner discusses their time at MURAP, their academic and creative pursuits, and what the future holds.

Can you share some details about the research project you focused on during MURAP?
My research titled “Phantom Geographies: The Spatial Hauntings of Black Characters in Film” explores the ways black characters navigated the landscapes of different movies which had elements of haunting. Some of the movies I researched were Night of the Living Dead, Candyman, Eve’s Bayou, and Blacula.

What benefits did you gain from participating in the program?
Some of the biggest benefits I gained were through my cohort and the support I had from my mentor/faculty in the program. I was able to complete my research and learn what graduate school could be like if I choose to go. It opened my eyes to potential career paths.


reg zehner's work
reg presenting


How did your CCAD studies help you prepare for your participation in MURAP?
CCAD has given me an interdisciplinary way of creating that helped me with my research project, which overlapped with different theories and literature.

Do you want to attend graduate school after graduating from CCAD? What are your longer-term career aspirations?
Yes, I do plan on going to graduate school after CCAD. My long-term plan is to become a curator where I uplift marginalized artists as well sustain my own writing and art practice, wherever that may be. 

Can you describe your artistic practice?
My artistic practice combines metalwork and fiber. I often use found images to transfer onto fabric and dye the fabric to simulate a painting conversation whilst at the same time, not be a painting. I then use metal to disrupt space and activate more sculptural elements.

Have there been any recent shows of your work?
Yes, I had a group show at 934 Gallery titled Homegrown last year with alum Dejiah Archie-Davis (Fine Arts, 2019) and a residency with other CCAD students—Julie Green (Studio Art with an Emphasis in the History of Art & Visual Culture, 2020) and Grace Oller (Fine Arts, 2020)—at the Second Sight Project in Franklinton. I am also currently co-running an artist space called Friend Studios.

Anything coming up?
I just took down Where We Meet, a show I curated at Friend Studios. Right now, I am preparing for the second show at Friend Studios and other smaller programming there while I work on my thesis show, which will be up in April 2020.

Follow Friend Studios on Instagram or Facebook.

Learn more about the Studio Art with an Emphasis in the History of Art & Visual Culture major at CCAD or apply here.