Volunteer Spotlight: Natalie Hall

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray profiles volunteers within the museum. Phillips 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.

Natalie Hall, Art Information Volunteer

Natalie Hall (left)

What year did you start volunteering at The Phillips Collection?
I began volunteering in 2008 after I retired from my position as an administrator at an independent school in Alexandria. We were members of the Phillips so volunteering was an easy extension of that interest.

What do you see as the most valuable aspect of your volunteering?
I love to interact with guests who have a range of questions from the mundane but important “Where’s the restroom?” to discussion of Duncan Phillips’s life and ideas as a collector.  The exhibit Moving Forward, Looking Back in the first gallery has really sparked curiosity about the Phillips family and the collection.

What do you do when you are not volunteering at The Phillips Collection?
We travel a lot to visit family in the US and Jordan and visit colleagues in Indonesia and Thailand.  I am also very involved with Arlington politics and lobby for the National Peace Corps Association.

What is your favorite room or painting here?
Like Duncan Phillips, I love the color of the Pierre Bonnard paintings and Vincent van Gogh’s “The Garden at Arles.” Georgia O’Keeffe is another favorite.

If you had to choose one word to describe the Phillips, what would it be?
Stimulating.

Share a fun fact about you!
I study Indonesian at the Embassy close to the Phillips. We taught in Java and Bali.  The wealth of art in all forms was fascinating, especially in Bali.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
Emily Bray has been so supportive of volunteers.  The flexibility of self-scheduling is most welcome. People should consider volunteering.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Anna Palmisano

In this series, Education Specialist Emily Bray profiles volunteers within the museum. Phillips 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.

Anna Palmisano, Art Information and Library Volunteer

Anna Palmisano

What year did you start volunteering at The Phillips Collection?

AP: I started volunteering in 2013 during the Van Gogh Repetitions exhibit.

What do you see as the most valuable aspect of your volunteering?

AP: I want to help visitors have the best possible experience at The Phillips Collection. I especially enjoy helping visitors find a favorite painting or works by a favorite artist. I love when visitors stop to see me after touring the museum to tell me about their experience.

What do you do when you are not volunteering at The Phillips Collection?

AP: I lead Marylanders for Patient Rights—a non-profit group dedicated to promoting legislation to protect the rights of hospital patients, who are among our most vulnerable consumers. I work with a wide range of advocacy groups and state legislators to promote patient rights.

What is your favorite room or painting here?

AP: I have so many favorite paintings! My favorite artists are Paul Klee, for his whimsical paintings that evoke childhood, and Pierre Bonnard for his use of colors in creating an ethereal and dreamlike atmosphere.

If you had one word to describe the Phillips, what would it be?

AP: Inspiring

Share a fun fact about you!

AP: I am a scientist by training—a microbial ecologist. My doctoral research took me to the continent of Antarctica on seven expeditions to study how microorganisms adapt to extreme environments.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

AP: I have been coming to the Phillips since I was six years old. I was fortunate that my parents and my aunt, the sculptor Marie Lesher, introduced me to the Phillips, and it remains my favorite museum. When I retired, The Phillips Collection was an obvious choice for volunteering.  I enjoy the art and wonderful people who work here!

Staff Show 2016: Kristen Calcaterra

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.

Kristen Calcaterra, "Steve Zissou"

Kristen Calcaterra, “Portrait of Steven”

 

Kristen Calcaterra

Kristen Calcaterra, Photo: Rhiannon Newman

Kristen Calcaterra, Photo: Rhiannon Newman

After receiving her BFA from RISD in 2011, Kristen Calcaterra moved back to Northern Virginia where she currently resides.  She is very influenced by local historic homes.  Her personal body of work centers on the presence of violence, disease, and unfortunate living conditions in an otherwise beautifully and meticulously crafted home.  In addition to working at The Phillips Collection, Calcaterra teachesg Portfolio Preparation to high school students anticipating a career in the pursuit of fine art.

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 an Admissions Supervisor at The Phillips Collection.  I really like to think that I help to represent the collection to the public.  I’m the first person that most visitors see when they walk in, and it’s important to me that their first impression of our museum is a pleasant one.  I think it sets the mood for their entire experience.

Who are your favorite artists in the collection?

I absolutely love Pierre Bonnard.  His sense of color is phenomenal and I just love the way that so much of his work with color reminds me of Claude Monet‘s work in the 1890s.  I feel that Bonnard is sometimes overlooked, but with our wonderful collection it’s truly hard to miss him!

What is your favorite gallery or space within The Phillips Collection?

The Music Room is just stunning.  A lot of my personal work has to do with architecture of older buildings, so really I love all of the spaces in the original house.  They’re so intimate; it’s like being welcomed into someone’s home with all this gorgeous artwork everywhere.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2016 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

I’ve just gotten back into working with the figure.  Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011 with a BFA in Painting, all of my work has been non-figurative.  I typically work with the concept of the ornamented interior and the deconstruction of it’s, let’s say, perfection.  I’m excited to soon reincorporate the figure into my personal body of work.  This piece really helped me regain my footing when it comes to representing people, and I hope it will strengthen my upcoming works.

Find more work by Calcaterra on her website.

The 2016 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show will be on view August 16 through September 19, 2016. The show features artwork from the Phillips Collection staff.