In this series, Education Specialist for Public Programs Emily Bray highlights participants in the 2016 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 19, 2016.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in rural Pendleton County, West Virginia. In 2011, I graduated with my BFA from Shepherd University. I moved to the Washington, DC area several years ago and enjoy living here. I’ve been with The Phillips Collection for over a year. When I’m not at the museum, I’m working at my other job at Gold Leaf Studios, a company that does fabrication, conservation, and gilding of frames and architectural elements.
What do you do at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique/interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?
I am a Museum Assistant and part-time Supervisor with The Phillips Collection. One unique aspect to working in the Security Department is that I get to interact with colleagues from every department in the institution. This is a great way to gain an understanding of how a museum operates and help build a community among the many departments it takes to make this museum successful. Being a member of the Security staff allows me to help both visitors and colleagues enjoy their time at the Phillips through service.
Who are your favorite artists in the collection?
Jacob Lawrence is one of my favorite artists in the collection. Nearly every time I’ve been posted in the gallery featuring The Migration Series, I’ve had meaningful and educational interactions with visitors. I believe his work is as critical and relevant now as it was when he created it.
What is your favorite gallery or space within The Phillips Collection?
My favorite space in the museum is the West Parlor on the first floor of the house. It has such a cozy feel to it and gets the most amazing dappled sunlight throughout the day.
What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2016 Staff Show (or your work in general)?
I have been doing hand embroidery for years. I love that it’s such a forgiving medium and there are really no mistakes! It’s a lot like painting in that, depending on technique, it can look very precise and calculated or quite gestural, like brushstrokes. The piece I currently have on view in the staff show, Satsumas, is the first time I’ve tried to make embroidery look three-dimensional with shadows and highlights. It was really an exercise more than anything else. I also constructed the frame for this piece.
The 2016 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view August 14 through September 19, 2016.