Last weekend, we welcomed over 4,000 visitors for Jazz ‘n Families Fun Days to try out instruments, make artwork and crafts from recycled materials, hear stories in our library, and of course listen to some live jazz! Thanks to the DC Jazz Festival, all of the participating DKMC Walk Weekend museums, and everyone who attended.
In preparation for tonight’s Phillips after 5, DC-based artist Dan Steinhilber visited the museum yesterday to test out his interactive Interface artwork in the galleries. Steinhilber’s work, which was recently featured at G Fine Art, invites visitors to enter into the piece and create a unique experience for themselves and other participants. Comprising five inflatable, bag-like sculptures (made from plastic stretch wrap, wood, and computer fans), Interface is a riff on our addiction to the Internet, instant yet remote communication, and virtual reality. The wearable aspect of these works—visitors insert their “talking-heads” inside the sculptures while their hands remain outside—offers an estranged and disembodied experience.
In this series, Education Department Coordinator Emily Bray profiles volunteers within the museum. The Phillips Collection volunteers are an integral part of the museum and help in many ways: greeting and guiding guests through the museum, helping with Sunday Concerts, assisting patrons in the Library, helping out with Phillips after 5 and special events, and so much more. Our volunteers offer a wealth of expertise and experience to the museum, and we are delighted to highlight several them.
Lois A. Engel, Art Information Volunteer
What year did you start volunteering at The Phillips Collection
What do you see as the most valuable aspect of your volunteering?
Providing a gracious welcome to visitors and engaging them in conversations about art in general and their visit to the Phillips in particular. I especially enjoy interacting with our many international visitors.
What do you do when you are not volunteering at The Phillips Collection?
I am an independent public policy consultant focusing on workforce development issues. I am also a published freelance writer whose articles have appeared in The Washington Post and online literary journals.
What is your favorite room or painting here?
My favorite painting is Chagall’s The Dream because to me it juxtaposes heaven and earth: the lovers in bed, the angel overhead, and the rooster in the barnyard.
If you had to choose one word to describe Phillips, what would it be?
Share a fun fact about you!
I’m a devout fan of the now-defunct Sopranos TV series and now enjoy it via multiple DVD sets.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I am grateful to serve as the “face” of the Phillips when I greet our visitors. I brought my now-grown children here as little ones and their interest in art endures in adulthood. I enjoy getting to know the Museum Assistants and learning about their art studies and interests. The Phillips has been a small but special part of my life for over 30 years and volunteering has given me the opportunity to continue that journey.