Arts and Humanities People and Community

Students debut art at Miami Art Week shows

South Florida’s biggest art scene—Miami Art Week—runs through Dec. 4 and University of Miami students Hannah Kuker and Sneha Akurati were granted the opportunity to display their work at two different events.
SCOPE International Contemporary Art Show
Undergraduate student Hannah Kuker’s art is currently on display at the SCOPE Art Show on Miami Beach through Dec. 4. Photo courtesy Hannah Kuker

Sophomore Hannah Kuker and senior Sneha Akurati have two very different lifelong goals. Kuker dreams of becoming a lawyer and Akurati a doctor. But coincidently, both young women plan to fuse their love for the arts into their future careers.

Both University of Miami students were chosen after a competitive juried process to showcase their art during this year’s Miami Art Week, a cultural celebration that attracts thousands of artists, tourists, collectors, and buyers from around the world.

“I feel so grateful to be a part of this welcoming and diverse campus that is so connected to the vibrant art scene of the city of Miami,” said Kuker, who is triple majoring in legal studies, finance, and studio art.

Kuker’s art, which features illustrations of eggs, tea, and bread to convey a symbolic metaphor of a lesson on unity and being open-minded to different perspectives, is currently on display at the SCOPE Art Show on Miami Beach through Dec. 4.

Hannah Kuker at SCOPE
Hannah Kuker at the SCOPE Art Show. Photo courtesy Hannah Kuker

“My professor, Amy Schissel, suggested I enter the EVOLVE open call from See Me, a gallery based in New York City with a goal to promote emerging artists and provide opportunities for them to expand their careers by telling their stories,” said Kuker. “My first day at the exhibition was a dream come true.”

As Kuker pursues her undergraduate degree, the third-generation legacy student and a member of the prestigious Foote Fellows Honors Program said she hopes to combine her various passions one day to reach her ultimate goal of becoming an intellectual property lawyer. 

“I attribute much of my success so far to my mentor, professor Patricia Abril,” said Kuker, who is in the process of co-authoring a research article which analyzes the legality of the ownership of art created by artificial intelligence with Abril, who is also the chair of the Business Law Department of the Patti and Allan Herbert Business School and associate dean of the Graduate School.

Akurati, a global health studies and studio art double major, has been creating art as far as she could remember. The talented student artist was selected to showcase her art in the inaugural gallery called “Art is Medicine” at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System and the Miller School of Medicine. 

The self-proclaimed “expressive by nature” student artist submitted her piece into the competition to be displayed at the exhibit for Miami Art Week.

“Art and medicine are two passions of mine,” said Akurati. “I was honored that my work was selected to be exhibited in a gallery that reflected my path. I feel that art has helped me in my science classes, and science has helped me in my art classes.” 

"The Nature of Us" Pastel on black paper
Sneha Akurati points to her work of art, "The Nature of Us," pastel on black paper. Photos courtesy Sneha Akurati

Her painting, alongside the work of 17 other artists, echoes a message for cancer survivors across the globe that art can be healing. 

“It was so beautiful to see all the other paintings from the other artists, to get feedback about what others think of my work and how they interpret the art,” said Akurati. “The images displayed were such calming messages to put into [Sylvester] and I believe it really helps the patient’s experience.” 

The senior said her skills have grown tremendously since her first year. She acknowledges that her time at the University has afforded her to meet many who she describes as “cool art professors” along the way—namely Gerardo Olhovich, a senior lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Art and Art History.

“He’s helped me hone my skills a great deal,” said Akurati. “I’ve taken almost all my art classes with him and am currently doing an independent study with him. He always gives me that artistic license to do what I want to do and really supports his students by giving his honest feedback.”