Meet Our Summer Interns: Sarah, Xiran, Jamie, Kelly

Our summer interns introduce themselves and share what they have been working on over the past few weeks. Fall internship applications are now open through Friday, August 21!

Sarah Hoffman, Kenyon College

“I just graduated from Kenyon College in May. Because of the pandemic, I am working remotely from my home in Lexington, Kentucky. On the one hand, the shift to remote was disappointing because it meant that I wouldn’t get to spend my time in the physical museum space and connect with my colleagues in person. On the other hand, I think that our internship coordinator, Levon Williams, and others involved in running the program have done a fantastic job adapting the program to our current circumstances. Everyone at the Phillips is very supportive and generous with their time, so even though I’m multiple states away from most of the people at the Phillips, I still feel very involved. My project as the Marketing and Communications Intern is rewriting the history section of the website, so I’ve been doing lots of research on the collection, the Phillips family, and how the museum has changed over time. I’m also compiling a historical timeline of significant exhibitions, events, and developments to go along with the history. I also pitch events to publications, work on press kits, create social content, help with the website redesign process, and do other related tasks. I think this internship strikes a good balance between developing skills related to your particular department, the art museum field, and professional skills in general.”


Xiran Lu, Indiana University

“I’m from China and a current graduate student at Indiana University in Arts Administration program. My favorite artist is American land artist Robert Smithson. His famous artwork is Spiral Jetty, which is a landscape artwork done on a salt lake in Utah in 1970. For a long time after its completion, this work disappeared due to the rising water level. But in recent years, as the water level dropped again, Spiral Jetty has reappeared. And its appearance also has some changes. It makes me feel like although landscape art is something we can never collect; they always can remind us to think through whether art must really be immortal. I was learning graphic design and design history when I was in China. After I graduated, I gradually found out that I prefer dynamic research with actual working and practice. The internship at The Phillips Collection can fully utilize my knowledge and experience, and at the same time allow me to keep going on my own research. This summer, I am working as the Visitor Experience intern on the redevelopment of our volunteer program, which includes virtual meetings with volunteers, potential virtual roles for volunteers, volunteer surveys, and data collection. At the same time, the project for the DEAI department that I am working on is a research report regarding the talented and influential women in The Phillips Collection. ”


Jamie Carkenord, College of William & Mary

I am a junior at the College of William & Mary studying American History. Originally, I am from Farmville, Virginia. When I have visited DC earlier in my life, I was always excited to explore the National Gallery of Art. My internship at The Phillips Collection is giving me the chance to focus on its complex curatorial strategy and the unique strengths of a smaller museum. This summer, I am working within the Public Programming department and Art & Wellness. Because all of the events at the Phillips must be carried out virtually due to social distancing guidelines, I am assisting the Phillips staff in hosting Zoom events for adults, families, and artists. Over the coming weeks, I will be working to develop a family program featuring women artists in the collection. After my internship, I will continue my studies at William & Mary and seek out opportunities to further my interests in art, public history, and education”


Kelly Palmer, Coppin State University

“My name is Kelly Palmer and I am from Washington, DC. I recently graduated from Coppin State University majoring in Urban Arts and minoring in Nonprofit Leadership and Youth Development. My favorite museum is the Botanical Gardens in DC. I love everything about plants, nature, and gardening so I find great joy in an entire building devoted to exotic plants and their history. I plan to learn more about the plants native to DC in the near future. I decided to intern at The Phillips Collection this summer because I wanted more experience working in positions related to arts administration and management. This summer, I have been working with the DEAI department. I have been tasked with continuing The Phillips Collection Intern & Fellow Catalogue, and showcasing the cohort of interns from Summer 2020. Since I have recently graduated from Coppin State University, I am excited to begin working hands on with those in need. There is a need in almost every space, and I am aiming to serve my community in any way necessary.”

Meet Our Summer Interns: Addison, Evan, Maya, Vanessa

Our summer interns introduce themselves and share what they have been working on over the past few weeks. Fall internship applications are now open through Friday, August 21!

Addison Tobias, University of Buffalo

“I am from Buffalo, New York, and am currently pursuing a masters degree in Critical Museum Studies and Arts Management from the University at Buffalo. I immediately wanted to intern at The Phillips Collection after my first visit to DC this past year with one of my Arts Management classes. My favorite museums besides The Phillips Collection are the Albright-Knox Art Gallery as it was the first gallery I ever went to, and the MoMA in New York City. This summer I am working in the DEAI department and have been conducting research on the various ways The Phillips Collection can implement a Supplier Diversity Program in the near future. I am also working on a project that looks into the diversity of the various artists that The Phillips Collection has had over the years, and the stories that can be told from the similarities and differences across these artists.”


Evan Wang, Indiana University

“My name is Evan Wang, I come from China. I am a master’s student at Indiana University, studying Arts Administration and Public Affairs. I have several museums in my mind that I like, such as the Met, the British Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, and a few small art museums. As for the artists, Van Gogh and Anne Magill are my favorite for now. I am working in Public Programs with Miguel Perez, working on a research project which focuses on what museums are doing for low-income communities. Another project is to develop a hypothetical public program for Community Engagement. And I really wish I could go to the Phillips and have real contact with all people who work there.


Maya Wilson, Harvard University

“My name is Maya Wilson, I’m from DC, and I’m currently on a year off before I start college at Harvard this fall. I’ve been very fortunate to do some traveling this year and one of my favorite museums I visited was the Acropolis Museum in Athens; it really opened my eyes to the power and nuance of curatorial studies and museum studies in general. I’m very grateful to be a part of the Public Programs department, in a moment where public programming presents some very urgent and exciting challenges. In addition to brainstorming, developing, and helping to facilitate a variety of virtual programs, I’ve been doing research on different strategies cultural institutions across the nation use for teen outreach, in the hopes that we might be able to adopt some of these practices for more adolescent programming at the Phillips. Suffice it to say I’m sure this internship would’ve been a very different experience had we been able to meet in person, but I welcome the opportunity to get a little bit more familiarity working in the virtual space, especially considering we’re probably going to be working remotely in some capacity for the foreseeable future. 


Vanessa Kemajou, Towson University

My main project as the DEAI Intern was to create an employee training manual and Powerpoint presentation on microaggressions in the workplace. This was an exciting project on a conversation I am passionate about. Interns should expect to gain new skills that can be transferable to any field even if it is not museum related. Through the different assessments and evaluations, you learn your strengths and weaknesses and learn what type of employee you are in the workplace. Interns should expect to gain a unique experience, especially working virtually. After my internship, I will complete my last semester of undergrad, pursue my masters next and by God’s grace be a family and marriage therapist and psychotherapist. In the future, I plan on owning a private practice for therapy.

Red Dirt Studio: A Community, School, and Home

Director of Community Engagement Nehemiah Dixon III shares his experience as member of Red Dirt Studio, a new Phillips Collection partner.

A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a talk with The Phillips Collection’s Contemporaries group. The invitation came from Margaret Boozer, the founding Co-Director of Red Dirt Studio of which I have been a member since the spring of 2015. So I sat with my studio mates and we talked with the Contemporaries about the work we do and the art we make.

What I shared is that the art I make is unquestionably linked to the times we live in. What started as my response out of frustration and grief from the blatant disregard for the life of Trayvon Martin has echoed over the years as an immutable recurring nightmare. My Hoodies represent what others see of me and of the fear I have of navigating a world that does not respect my life. They represent the hollow attempts of mitigating racism, police brutality, implicit bias, and the stereotyping of over policed brothers and sisters I call family. My Hoodies are my pain in the form of sculpture.

Working at Red Dirt on my Hoodies sculptures created with epoxy and resin

Suits of Armour installed in Foggy Bottom as part of the Foggy Bottom Sculptors Biennial

Red Dirt Studio sits on the border of Washington, DC, in a small town called Mt. Rainier, nestled in the Gateway Arts District which is home to many artists, makers, and community shakers. Finding this community has been my school after school and my artist home away from home for over ten years. The education I have gained from friendships and community building that takes place there has been paramount to my career as an artist and administrator.

Red Dirt is where I make art but much more than that it is where we develop each other and push each other to work harder and smarter. It is where we meet on Saturdays to have Seminar (now on Zoom called Zoominar) to share, critique, and create business. It is where—when safe to do so—we hold community events such as our yearly Open Studio Tour, fundraisers, and gallery shows. It is grad school without pocket-busting tuition and an incubator for ideas, projects, and goals. Red Dirt is home for 30 artists, arts administrators, sculptors, photographers, landscape architects, painters, and more.

A pre-covid in-person Seminar

This summer, the Phillips’s Education and Community Engagement Department has been partnering with Red Dirt Studio to present a series of free online workshops every other Saturday called Hands-on with Red Dirt. The artists hone their presentations in Seminar and then meet with the Community Engagement team to further develop the concepts for the event. Each week the series features an artist who walks participants through an activity, which has ranged from creating your own chakra color wheel to creating your own shadow boxes using found objects.

If you would like to experience what being at Red Dirt Studio is like, sign up for a Saturday workshop!