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Issue 11, Fall 2020

Dear Art and Museum Studies Students, Faculty, and Alumni,

I hope everyone had a happy, healthy and restful holiday.

As you can imagine, this fall was very different from any other in our program’s history. We started the semester fully online. The fall internship was made optional, although we did have three students who were able to undertake internships. Sofia Olenchek interned at the Freer|Sackler Galleries in the Development Office, where she researched and presented a proposal on virtual galas. Sofia will continue on at the Freer|Sackler in the same department this spring. Alisa Polischuk was the graduate intern for the Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Galleries, where she managed social media accounts, researched the history of the Walsh Building’s Hall of Nations as a punk rock venue for an upcoming exhibition, and assisted in the preparation of a Letter of Intent for a grant. You can follow this link to see one of her projects, her Spotify playlist, Past Sounds of the Hall of Nations. Olivia Lichens interned with the U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) where she helped plan and host their black-tie gala "Virtual Celebration of World Heritage."

Although holding classes almost exclusively on Zoom was difficult, one advantage was that it allowed us to get a great slate of guest speakers for our classes, including Harry Cooper, Senior Curator and Head of Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art, who spoke quite candidly about the Philip Guston exhibition in the Curatorial class, W. Ryan Dodge Head of Digital Experiences at the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum and Effie Kapsalis, Senior Digital Program Officer, American Women’s History Initiative, Office of the Under Secretary for Museums and Culture who both spoke about digital programs in the Museums and Digital Media course, and Melanie Adams, the Director of the Anacostia, who spoke about Critical Race Theory in the Foundations class. A highlight of the semester was a lecture and virtual tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Conservation Laboratory by Georgetown alumnus and conservator Shawn Digney-Peer. 

With Georgetown’s galleries closed, students in Prof. McNamee’s Museum Education class proposed and led two virtual events hosted by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, one on The Art of (Social) Distance, and the other on Representations of the Body in Art. Kenlontae Turner, MA ’19 Curator of Collections at the Hampton University Museum of Art was spotted attending both events (thanks, Tae!).

Andrea Chavarín, Prof. Lisa Strong and Alisa Polischuk at SAAM in Fall 2020.
The Curatorial and Foundations classes were able to get in a few socially distanced museums visits before the museums closed again in late fall. Professor Miner’s Curatorial class visited Glenstone and the Kreeger, and the Museum Studies Foundations class visited the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Alisa Polischuk, Mary Kathryn Alexander, Sofia Olenchek, Andrea Chavarín, Abigail Sites, and Kennis Pieper in the Richard Serra at Glenstone in Fall 2020.

One of the things the online format allowed us to do in the fall was host a joint class with peers at George Washington University. Students from GW’s Museums and Social Justice met with our students one on one in breakout rooms and then shared drafts of their final project presentations.
Zoom screenshot of GWU-GU class
Our semester culminated with a Zoom alumni cocktail hour. We had attendees from 2013-18 as well as quite a few from the class of 2020. We used Zoom breakout rooms to create more intimate groups and conversations ranged from the impact of the pandemic, to museums of the future, to the recent election.

L to R, Top to Bottom: Sarah Henzlik, ‘20, Emily Aufuldish, Department Coordinator, Katie Leavens ‘14, Nina Frank, ‘18, Maiji Castro, ‘18, Tisha Greenwood Breda, ‘15, Maire O’Donnell, ‘20, Anna Boatwright, ‘13, Luke Perez, ‘17, Maddy Nave, ‘20, Elisabeth Speal, ‘20, Inji Kim, ‘20, Gretal Menzies, ‘20

This spring, we will have two students studying at SIA New York and the rest here at Georgetown. I will be teaching a course on Museums and Social Justice in a hyflex format, with some students in the classroom and others online. It will be an adventure. I am certainly looking forward to trying something different and hope that the new technology will offer possibilities for hyflex internship meetings and capstone seminars in the future.

Yours truly,

Lisa Strong

Director and Professor of the Practice

Faculty News

Professor Al Acres, beginning his last year as Department Chair, taught a seminar on Albrecht Dürer in the Fall. The highlight of the course was class meetings (via zoom, naturally) with four distinguished curators in Washington and beyond. Student projects included explorations of Dürer’s work in terms of dreams, illness, travel, identity, power, and more. He also continued work on the Steering Committee for a new program in Medical Humanities at Georgetown. His main scholarly project is a book in progress on Jan van Eyck, due for completion in 2021. In December he joined the Rev. Dr. James Hawkey for a contribution to an online seminar series ("A Great and Mighty Wonder") for Advent hosted by Westminster Abbey, London. 

Professor Andrea Gallelli Huezo is teaching a new seminar this semester titled Race & Color in Latin American Art. The course examines the history of portraiture and casta paintings—a unique pictorial genre that appropriated as its subject the issue of race and miscegenation—in Latin America from the late sixteenth through the early nineteenth century. Placing particular emphasis on historical, social, cultural, economic, and political aspects, the course introduces students to major theoretical concepts of belonging, inclusion, and exclusion. Moreover, the seminar aims to understand the construction of racial identity in the viceroyalties and challenge the intersection of art, race, and class in Latin America.

Professor Alison Hilton has been following international developments in museums from a distance, thanks to zoom conferences and online articles. She reviewed an article on museums and the 19th century Bulgarian National Revival for the journal ZWAM (Annual Review of Museum Anthropology) published in Krakow, Poland.

Professor Elizabeth Prelinger was elected the new Chair of the Art and Art History Department this fall. She will begin her tenure in Fall 2021.

Professor Stephanie Rufino is leading a new architectural history course which investigates Ancient to Baroque building examples from across the globe. Dr. Rufino is also working with local architecture firm StudioMB on map illustrations for her Georgetown campus architecture book project. In addition, Dr. Rufino provides business consulting services to ADR Techworks, a data analytics company. 

Professor Lisa Strong partnered with her counterpart at George Washington University, Laura Schiavo, Program Head of Museum Studies and Decorative Arts and Design History, to host a meeting of their two classes. Their goal was to help students build a sense of community and establish new peer mentor relationships. Professor Strong and Professor Schiavo will present their project in a panel on Best Practices and Lessons Learned from the Digital Shift to Prepare Students for Professional Success at the College Art Association Conference in February.

Professor Michelle Wang taught a new seminar titled “Art and Crisis” that addressed responses to the COVID-19 pandemic from three perspectives: religion and Buddhist material culture, the adaptive strategies of artists and arts institutions, and the art of protest. Student research projects addressed responses to various historical crises: how museums responded to World War I and the 1918 flu pandemic; rapid response collecting in the wake of 9/11 and Black Lives Matter protests; artists’ documentation of the ongoing U.S.-Mexico border crisis; and the uses of social media by museums in China to create community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with Dr. Soyoung Lee (Harvard Art Museums) and Prof. Patricia Berger (UC-Berkeley), she spoke in December in a roundtable organized by the Institute of Fine Arts on “The Future of Asian Art History.”

Featured Alumnus — Caroline Byrd

"My graduation from Georgetown’s Art and Museum Studies Program in 2017 coincided with my acceptance of a job in Seattle, Washington. I was planning to move to the Pacific Northwest, so needless to say I was ecstatic to do so with both a degree and job in hand.

I began at the Frye Art Museum in September 2017 as the Volunteer, Ticketing, & Development Associate. I had graduated with a focus in Museum Education, so while a job in the Development Department was not in line with my career goals, I was just happy to be there. As an institution, the Frye met what I valued in a museum—hosting a unique

familial collection of 19th century paintings alongside local and global contemporary artists, offering opportunity for robust dialogue and completely free to the public. The size of the staff was small enough to support departmental collaboration. My year in the Development Department was heavy with administrative tasks, but, after a year, a position in the Education Department opened. I felt confident in my abilities and reputation at the Frye over the past year, as well as my educational studies from Georgetown. There had been significant turnover in this position for the past two years, with a range of titles and salaries based on applicants. I highlighted my experience and dedication as leverage in asking for a higher title and pay increase. In the end, I was told that educators simply wouldn’t make as much as other museum staff, and I accepted a significant pay cut and title demotion in order to get into my preferred field.

As the Education Programs Assistant, I supported our three Education Managers, whose program focus ranged from PreK students to older adults. In addition to program and administrative support, I oversaw our docent program, managing onboarding, trainings, and tour development. I was even able to assist with hands-on teaching. While I loved the work I was doing in the Education Department, I did not feel my pay nor title recognized the level at which I was performing. I was frustrated and disillusioned at the amount of work I was doing and the lack of recognition. As a team, we were excelling at day-to-day management, but we lacked a department director and, therefore, high-level advocacy.

In August 2019, the Frye hired a new Director of Education & Community Partnerships. This director came from a large New York institution, bringing with her  much needed organization and direction to the entire Museum. For the Education Team, she helped us set long-term goals, make impactful program changes, and connect with the Seattle community. Personally, she took the time to observe my role, listen to my interests, and understand my value. As Director, her advocacy in the first three months at the Frye resulted in me receiving a new title and significant salary increase.

As the new Education Coordinator, I have been given autonomy and flexibility within my role to better serve our community and grow professionally. I am implementing trainings and strengthening tour formats for our docents, while working with our university partners to update our internship program. I expressed an interest in creating tours, so I now develop and lead tours for our patrons with dementia and their care partners, as well as our school groups. While quarantine has halted these interactions, I have been working on digital artwork discussion videos to reach our audiences from a distance. I still support the department with administrative tasks, but we hope to hire a part-time support role in the future, which would allow me to focus on teaching and new program development, an especially exciting aspect of my new role.

Like many of us, coronavirus has impacted my role at the Frye. The majority of our staff is currently furloughed, and the Museum remains closed to the public. While the future remains murky, I am grateful for the professional growth I experienced over the past three years—even the moments of frustration and self-doubt. In the end, hard work, self-advocacy, and the vocal support of my colleagues resulted in measurable change and a professional confidence I never thought I’d have. I am grateful for this platform to share my continued journey and offer an honest view at the complexities of this field. And remember to trust yourself and your capabilities….

If you're interested, here are two of the artwork discussion videos I made:"

Alumni News

Caroline Byrd, MA ’17 was promoted from Education Assistant to Education Coordinator at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle last year.

Grace Dubuque MA ’15 was promoted to Senior Account Manager, Valuations at Sotheby's in September.

Emily Edwards MA ’16 was promoted from Curatorial Associate to Assistant Curator, Dallas Contemporary this month.

Sarah Henderson MA ‘17 published “An Unconventional Museum Education: Prioritizing Community Need” on this month’s American Alliance of Museums blog. Sarah is Associate Director of Lifelong Learning at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Sarah Henzlik MA ’20 has been involved with the newly formed online publication and graduate student organization, the Coalition of Master's Scholars on Material Culture since September. In November, she helped plan the organization's inaugural biannual symposium, "History Should Make You Uncomfortable." Additionally, she serves as Social Media Coordinator, managing day-to-day social media strategy, analytics and interfacing.

Charlotte Hord MA ’18 was promoted to Event Planning Specialist at the National Gallery of Art in October.

Inji Kim MA ’20 was featured in the "Spotlight of the Month" for a newsletter sent out by the Barbican Centre in recognition of her work as Assistant Curator at AORA (a virtual gallery based in London)

Gabrielle Kinney MA ’17 became Programming Coordinator at the Utica Public Library last January.

Ashton Langrick MA ’19 celebrates a year as Archive Specialist at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs this month. The museum opened to the public last July.

Julianne Levin MA ’17 took a position as Special Events Manager at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in July.

Scarlett Moberly, MA ’17 left her position as assistant editor at Art New England Magazine in Boston and moved to her hometown of Littleton, New Hampshire to open an art gallery called Nightshade Contemporary ( Additionally, her article “The Magic of Orientalism: Myth and Witchcraft in ‘Morgan Le Fay’ by Frederick Sandys'' was published in the Spring 2020 issue of The British Art Journal, volume XXI, no. 1. 

Catherine Nuzum MA ’14 was promoted from Curator of Special Projects for the National Society of Colonial Dames to Curator of Dumbarton House in October.

Luke Perez MA ’17 starts as Digital Collections Technician at the Smithsonian Latino Center in February.

Lia Trangucci MA ’16 became Global Exhibitions Coordinator at Pace Gallery last January.


Flashback to 2017: Julianne Levin with Luke Perez, Sarah Henderson, Sedona Heidinger, and Abby Simmons.
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