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Joseph Mandel, Kory Barksdale Featured in Global Michigan

Study abroad Joseph Mandel

Recently, Joseph Mandel (BFA 20) was featured on Global Michigan, a campus-wide portal for the University of Michigan’s international engagement. The article leads with a photo of Kory Barksdale (BFA 19) from the Photographing Paris course. With the most students studying abroad among the Big Ten universities and in the top 3 in the nation among all higher education institutions, the University of Michigan sought to gather student stories of international experiences from around the globe — including Mandel’s story.

For Stamps junior Joseph Mandel, study abroad was also an important stepping stone in his academic and professional path. In Florence, Italy, this sculptor learned about Renaissance art and connected with his Italian roots.

Florence is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance,” said Mandel, whose grandparents emigrated from Italy. It is special to be here to study renaissance art.”

Inspired by the region’s art, Mandel decided to carve the Old Testament’s giant, Goliath, in marble found exclusively in Carrara, Italy.

The David statue is so famous, but there’s never been a statue of Goliath, per se. So I decided to carve Goliath’s head, as if he’d been struck by a stone,” Mandel said.

Working in an unfamiliar place meant that Mandel had to rely on his instincts, which reflected in his work as well.

I find that it makes my decision-making as an artist stronger and my work is stronger as a result,” he said.

Mandel’s creativity paid off. He received the David Davidson Award by the Studio Arts College International for his work. It is the highest award given by the school to recognize the work of a student.

It was the first time I have been recognized individually for my art,” Mandel said. It made me proud of my work and my experience.”

Global Michigan | U‑M Study Abroad: U‑M Among Top 3 in the Nation