Meet Our Fall Interns: Willa, Miki, Paige

Our fall interns are finishing up their internships. Learn about what they have been working on over the past three months.

Willa Alexander-Jaffe, The George Washington University

“I recently graduated from The George Washington University in May with a major in art history and a minor in business administration and music. As a Presidential Scholar in the Arts for violin and a member of the Women’s Leadership Program’s Arts and Culture Cohort, I enjoyed exploring all that Washington, DC, had to offer before the pandemic. The Phillips Collection is one of my favorite museums, due to its intimate layout and riveting collection. As the current Education and Community Engagement Intern, I assist with Art & Wellness and Family Programs, as well as support projects related to the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC). My main assignment consists of incorporating musical elements into the Iona Program, an art therapy initiative for seniors with memory impairment and physical challenges. Through research and practice, I recognize the mental benefits of engaging elders with music and fine art. I am passionate about supporting organizations that value scholarship and interpretation, and hope to pursue a career in museum education.”

Miki Beyer, George Mason University

“I’m finally, after nearly eight years of on and off school, finishing my B.A. in painting and minor in photography at George Mason University this fall. My final semester has largely focused on my relationship to my family and building ties to Vietnam as our homeland, but my work for the majority of my undergrad dealt with my identity as a non-binary lesbian. At The Phillips Collection, I get to work closely with my mentor, Miguel Perez, in the Public Programs department. It has been exciting to see how we’ve navigated virtual events and the ways we’ve been able to try to make our programs more accessible. My hope in interning with The Phillips Collection was to learn how to create more accessible art spaces, and the program has allowed me to research and write about whatever topics I valued within a museum space. I’ve been able to focus my time on researching how to create more inclusive leadership within a museum space, and developing a public program proposal to reduce barriers within curatorial practices. My time at The Phillips Collection and working with Miguel has allowed me to be more vocal about my opinions and desires in a workplace and future museums. My mentor has encouraged me to consistently question and challenge how things are done, and it has given me the confidence to continue that beyond this program.”

Paige Miller, College of Charleston

“Hi! My name is Paige Miller and I’m currently based in Charleston, South Carolina, and am interning in the Marketing and Communications department. Especially in a world revolutionized by the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual outreach and communication I feel is more important than ever! I am helping with the website redesign as well as content creating for social media, writing press releases, and pitching events to publications! I’ve been learning a lot and am especially excited to be working with the Community in Focus project, a community effort where the Phillips has invited any and all community members to submit photos of their experience of 2020. Not only are these photos featured in a blog post every week (read more here on the blog), but all the photos submitted will be featured in a special page on our new website. I have learned a lot in the marketing and communications department and have been able to tap into my creative side. Academically, my research interests lie in the study of French art and the intersection of art and business. In May of 2021, I will receive my BA in art history and BS in economics. After graduation, I will be pursuing a graduate degree in art history.”

Meet Our Fall Interns: Mary, Yanixia, M

Our fall interns are finishing up their internships. Learn about what they have been working on over the past three months.

Mary Pedraza, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mary Pedraza, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Hello! My name is Mary Pedraza and I am the Archives Intern this fall. I am working remotely from Urbana, Illinois, where I am pursuing a master’s in library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! I spend my days working from home and cooking. I also love watching baseball and hockey (when they are on) and sewing. In undergrad, I interned at the campus art museum and took art history courses that inspired my interest in art. Through a campus job at the university archives, I developed a love for all things archives and I am thus working to become an archivist. Through my internship at the Phillips, I am lucky enough to be able to merge these interests. I am working closely with the Digital Assets Manager Rachel Jacobson to establish the use of ArchivesSpace at the Phillips. I have created style guides for processing collections and a manual for building the archival collection on ArchivesSpace. I am so thankful for this internship! While the pandemic has taken many things from us, it has given me new avenues for building professional experience. I never would have been able to work at a museum hundreds of miles away from home while still being home, yet I feel deeply connected to the work I am doing and the impact I am making of the Phillips! I look forward to completing my internship in a few weeks and keeping watch as the Phillips Archives becomes an independent and important repository of art.”

Yanixia Ochoa Gutierrez, Year Up (NOVA)

“My name is Yanixia Ochoa Gutierrez and I am from Northern Virginia. I graduated from a workforce development program for young adults known as Year Up. My role as the HR intern at The Phillips Collection consisted of discussing and creating memorandums that pertained to the growth and uniting individuals who associated with the museum. I also have orchestrated meetings to further explain the open enrollment process with vendors, so that our staff may gain benefits for medical, transportation, retirement, and other additional benefits. Ever since the pandemic, although unfortunate as it may seem, it has given me plenty of good opportunities to further display my potential through online interactions with work-related tasks. I feel that as long as technology keep improving, it’d be in our best interest to adapt with it and I am truly grateful for this internship experience as there is much to gain from it.”

M Aragon, University of Maryland College Park

“My name is M, use they/them pronouns, and I am the Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) Intern at The Phillips Collection this fall. I graduated last spring from University of Maryland College Park with a degree in film studies and English literature/language with a certificate in Latin American studies. Even though I did not study art history, I believed that my academic background was especially helpful to provide project management skills in this position. In undergrad, I helped infuse LGBTQ+ culture and history through arts programming and learned how to create LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces. At my time here at the Phillips, I was grateful to continue this work and study the ways museums have operated and the efforts being made for more inclusion and equity. My personal research at the Phillips was more focused on creating a trans inclusive environment for visitors and workers alike. In addition, I was able to research artists in the collection through a racial equitable lens. Even though I wasn’t able to go into the physical space, my mentors in the department were very conscious of facilitating a virtual space for us to meet each other and talk honestly about navigating the arts admin field. I also feel like working from home has given me a chance to show myself that I can work diligently and wear comfortable, accessible clothes. I hope that future interns and current employees at the Phillips or any museum can expand or learn from the trans inclusive toolkit I created. My goal is to continue to work in different types of arts and cultural organizations that center the needs of marginalized communities.”

Community in Focus (Week 6)

The Phillips Collection invites everyone to participate in Community in Focus, a community project to capture a unique photographic snapshot of an unprecedented year. We asked you to show us your inimitable spirit, suffering, joy, and resilience, and here are some images that captures those human emotions that connect us all. Stay tuned for more photos and submit your own!

Angela Napili, June 5: Painters create Black Lives Matter Plaza on the morning of June 5.

Shia Levitt, September 9: On September 9, the sun didn’t rise. It was blocked by smoke from nearby wildfires, leaving the sky apocalyptic orange all day. As the kids joined their zoom classes, I was struck by the reassuring voices of their teachers, providing a bit of normalcy despite surreal circumstances of 2020.

Andrea Crews, May 4: “Look mommy kids!” I captured a photo of my daughter as she starred out the window longing to play with new friends. The pandemic prevents her from playing as freely as she had before. Now subjected to third floor hellos and masked goodbyes in cramped apartment stairwells, longing for what was.

Dorie Denbigh-Laurent, November 18: Nadia, 14, in the time of Covid.

Tim Davis, August 28: This photo was taken August 28, 2020, on the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. This year, thousands came to Washington to restore and recommit to the dream. We also marched for justice for those murdered and for a renewed commitment to change in the US. This photo of what I call “Waiting on the front line,” speaks volumes to us all, a participant waiting, pray-fully, hoping for a change for the better and this injustice stops.

Sandra Kauffman, September 5: St. John’s Church in Washington, DC, boarded up its stained glass windows after the George Floyd protests. Then it invited local artists to paint the boards with portraits of civil rights icons, in order to deliver a message of love and hope.