Fellow Spotlight: Rebecca Shipman

Meet our 2022-23 Fellows. As part of our institutional values and commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, the fellowship program is a comprehensive, yearlong paid program that includes hands-on experience, mentoring, and professional development. 

Rebecca Shipman is the Terra Curatorial Fellow, and will assist with research funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art dedicated to the recontextualization of the Phillips’s collection. Research will consider new perspectives, untold stories, and make connections between the artwork and history of The Phillips Collection and Howard University Gallery of Art.

Rebecca Shipman is currently a senior Art History Major, History Minor at Howard University. She has worked with organizations who seek to support social justice through the creation and displaying of art, locally with the Justice Art Coalition. Rebecca also works at the Moorland Spingarn Research Center and closely with the Howard University Gallery where she works caring for artifacts and preparing exhibits.

Rebecca Shipman, Howard University

Why are you interested in working at a museum?

I view museums as houses of conversation, a way to inject primary evidence into a society that has been largely miseducated about the most important factors which shape present time. I find real power in understanding what came before us, and the Phillips has always been one of my favorite institutions because of its ability to electrify their exhibits.

What brought you to The Phillips Collection?

From the beauty of the space to their innovative programming, I’m always looking for ways to spend more time at The Phillips Collection, so I am thrilled to be the 2022-23 Terra Fellow. As the Terra Fellow I will be working with Assistant Curator Camille Brown and Adjunct Curator Dr. Adrienne Childs to re-contextualize pieces in the collection which have been under-studied or under-displayed. The result will be a kind of follow up to the Phillips’s 2014 Made in the USA exhibition.

Please tell us about the projects that you will be working on during your fellowship. What do you hope to accomplish during your fellowship?

I hope to end my Fellowship with a better understanding of the business side of a museum, a way to pinpoint and hopefully avoid the factors which play into the homogeny of artworks in a museum, and I am already having great fun spending time with the artists’ work and learning more about them.

What is your favorite painting here?

Though Sam Gilliam is not one of the artists I am researching Red Petals,  1967, is one of my favorite pieces in the collection.

What is a fun fact about you?

A fun fact about me is that I knit, if anyone has great patterns I’d love to share.

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