The Phillips Collection is proud to announce our inaugural cohort for the CARD Fellowship, a collaboration between the Phillips, the Nicholson Project, and the DC Public Library to support the local art community. Meet artist Anne Smith, a multimedia artist from Syracuse, New York.
Could you tell us a little bit about your artistic background and journey so far?
I’ve been lucky to come into several supportive, creative communities that have nurtured me as an artist from high school to my time at Williams College and later at George Mason University, where I earned my MFA in 2015. I was a studio assistant to Lou Stovall, who became my mentor and taught me so much about silkscreen printmaking and, in the bigger picture, what it is to be an artist and participant in a community. Also, in 2018, I was able to find support from the artists involved in the Artist/Mother Studio residency at the WPA was such a balm during a time when I was trying to figure out how to balance being a new mother and an artist.
My work over the last few years has focused on drawing and silkscreen printmaking. I trace my drawing practice back to when I was a child looking out my bedroom window before falling asleep. My window looked out onto a dark, quiet field, and I would lay there just listening and looking. The space that I try to access in my drawings is that same sort of dark, contemplative space in which I can observe, wonder, and question.
What are your ambitions and aspirations as an artist, and how do you think the fellowship can support you in achieving them?
I’m really excited about the collaborative nature of this fellowship. Tina, Paloma, and I did not know each other before this experience, and I think we all feel excited to be brought together this way. I have ideas about my work—some drawing, some writing—that I want to share with them for feedback, and because we’re coming together for the first time, getting their fresh perspective will be so valuable. The fellowship offers incredible resources such as the libraries, archives, and maker space; and especially the gifts of camaraderie, community, and mentorship. It’s so important for an artist to have a network of people who support them, and for the artist to support other artists. This fellowship is designed to do just that. I’m excited to deepen my work through the support of everyone involved and to support Paloma and Tina in any way I can.
How do you envision your art positively impacting the community?
One superpower of art is offering a roadmap for navigating trying times. I try to make what I need, to use art as a way of making images and objects that help me find balance, encounter uncertainty, and channel strength and resilience in the face of challenge. I hope other people connect to these works in their own way, and I always love to hear about those moments of connection. I also envision teaching and sharing skills as an important part of my practice, as much as making work independently in the studio. I’m excited to learn more about how the partner organizations engage with the community and use art as a way of embracing the things in life for which we have no answers!
Which artist inspires you and has influenced your artistic journey so far?
Lou Stovall was an incredible human being and I learned so much from him. Not just about making silkscreen prints, but also in the way that he modeled being an artist who is generous with their community and with anyone who walks through the door. He demonstrated tremendous caring for neighbors, youth, and other artists. He shared his amazing craftsmanship, silkscreen excellence, and innovation, and even taught me about getting around DC, which he knew by heart. And he did all of this with a sense of humor! I hope to carry the values he taught me into my own practice.