For immediate release April 8, 2024

The Phi Beta Kappa Society Announces 2024 Winner of the Walter J. Jensen Fellowship 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Phi Beta Kappa Society has chosen Katherine Brion, Associate Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at New College of Florida, as the winner of the 2024 Walter J. Jensen Fellowship in recognition of her exceptional work as a scholar and teacher of French art and culture. Established in 2001 by Professor Walter J. Jensen (ΦΒΚ, UCLA), this award provides this year’s winner with a stipend of $17,000 and round-trip travel to France for six months of continuous study.

Brion (ΦΒΚ, UC Berkeley) earned her Master’s degree and PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and also received a Diplôme Spéciale de Muséologie from the École du Louvre. She has received several grants and fellowships including an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellowship at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, five Andrew Mellon-funded New College of Florida grants focused on developing community partnerships, and the George Lurcy Foundation Fellowship.

She intends to use the Jensen Fellowship to support research and writing for her book project, Art for the Working Classes: Aesthetic Education Initiatives and the Democratization of the Visual Arts in France, 1894-1914. Brion will examine a range of Belle Époque initiatives to make the visual arts available and accessible to popular and working-class audiences, in order to highlight the complex interplay between social constraint and transformation in these efforts to democratize aesthetic experience and education. Her previous work on the Belle Époque preoccupation with “decorative” posters and paintings as public art, as well as the democratization of artistic and aesthetic education, led to this current focus on art produced for and/or by “the people.”

Brion plans on using her time in France to collaborate with Dr. Catherine Méneux of the Université Paris 1’s Centre de recherche universitaire Histoire culturelle et sociale de l'art (HiCSA). Dr. Méneux has invited her to present her research at a scholarly seminar with HiCSA faculty and graduate students and participate in the organization of a symposium/study day (journée d’étude). Brion will also use this time to increase her capacity to serve her institution’s French program and identify suitable study abroad opportunities for students. Upon her return, she plans to present a synopsis of the research in the context of New College’s International and Area Studies lecture series and finalize her manuscript for submission to the publisher by December 2025.

For more information on the Jensen Fellowship, please contact Mary Schommer.


About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at over 290 colleges and universities in the United States, nearly 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 42 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 150 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit