Valerie Hedquist is an associate professor of art history at the University of Montana. As a Fulbright Scholar, Hedquist researched the religious art of the Dutch 17th-century in Utrecht. During her academic life, she has also continued to explore and teach the art and architecture of Italy, a country whose language and literature she studied while an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota. In summer 2011, her book on the art and life of Montana artist, Fra Dana, was published and in fall 2011, she served as a Smithsonian speaker on a cruise with stops in Rome and Pompeii. Since 1975, she has explored Italy on eight separate occasions, from Palermo, Sicily to Asti in the Piedmont region.