Fellow Spotlight: Karina Gaytan

Meet our 2021-22 Sherman Fairchild Fellows. As part of our institutional values and commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, the Sherman Fairchild Fellowship is a comprehensive, yearlong paid program that includes hands-on experience, mentoring, and professional development.

Karina Gaytan

Why are you interested in working at a museum?

I am interested in working at a museum because I enjoy the process of learning things, and what better way to learn and to help others learn than to work at a museum.

What brought you to The Phillips Collection?

Prior to working at The Phillips Collection, I did not know about it until I was browsing for post-graduation plans. When I came across the Sherman Fairchild Foundation fellowship on the Phillips website, I felt it would be a great step forward towards a career in museums. I had always been interested in working at a museum but had not yet gotten the chance to work for one. I just graduated from Trinity Washington University in spring of 2021, so my junior and senior year were during the pandemic, and it made it hard to find these kinds of opportunities. Though my fellowship has been completely online, I have been able to work with the Phillips virtually.

Please tell us about your work at the Phillips over the summer, and the projects that you will be working on during your fellowship. What do you hope to accomplish during your fellowship?

Over the summer, I was learning to create and send out surveys for those who attended Phillips events. The data from the surveys is used to evaluate the different events. This helps to get a better understanding as to who is attending what events. Knowing this is important because we can see how to retain the returning audience and explore options for new audiences. Now, my projects include working with the volunteer program and continuing my summer surveying projects.

During my time here, I’d like to learn more about museum operations. Museum operations are of interest to me because I feel that these are often overlooked when people think of museums. When someone thinks of a museum, they tend to visualize what is on display, not so much the people and the work that went into making the displays possible.

What is your favorite painting/artist here?

My favorite piece from the collection is Leo Villareal’s Scramble. It is fun to stand in front of the piece and watch the colors slowly change.

If you were to describe the Phillips in one word, what would that word be?

If I had to describe the Phillips in one word it would be cozy.

What is a fun fact about you?

A fun fact about me is that I have never had to pay for a haircut.

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