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.”

Epiphany at the Glyptotek

On the heels of her summer marketing internship at the Phillips, Katherine Kunze began a semester abroad in Europe. After helping the communications office prepare to open Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture, she couldn’t resist a trip to the artist’s native Denmark. Walking around Copenhagen, she stumbled on a familiar sight–Kirkeby’s name headlining a banner on the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Katherine snapped a few shots and immediately dispatched them to the Phillips. If you’re in Copenhagen before December 30, be sure to see the Kirkeby Epiphany exhibition for yourself.

A photo of the Kirkeby Epiphany exhibition banner on the Copenhagen Glyptotek

Photos: Katherine Kunze

A photo of the Kirkeby Epiphany exhibition banner on the Copenhagen Glyptotek

True Life: I’m an Education Department Intern

Photo of Caroline Seabolt, Education Intern

Photo: Margaret Collerd

Since January, I have interned in the Phillips’s education department as part of the k-12 team that focuses on school, outreach, family, and teacher programs. Sadly my internship is coming to an end as I prepare for a fall semester studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I learned over the past eight months, and share with you here my top five takeaways from interning at The Phillips Collection:

1. Unglamorous work can be rewarding

I expected that administrative tasks like stuffing gift bags and assembling packets would be part of my internship, but I did not anticipate the great satisfaction of seeing a little boy’s face as he opened his new magnifying glass at a Young Artists Exhibition Community Celebration or teachers, aided by resources I put together, in stimulating conversation about art in the classroom.

2. Art brings families together

I worked in the art workshop during Jazz ‘n’ Family Fun Days, helping families make prints inspired by Jasper Johns: Variations on a Theme. During those two days, I saw families make art together without distraction from cell phones or outside interactions. Watching families spend quality time together and bond over the art they made will remain one of my fondest memories of the internship.

3. Arts education is pretty cool

I knew I liked both arts and education separately, but I had no idea how powerful the two could be together. Observing Art Links to Learning school tours, as well as DC Public Schools Teacher Professional Development Days, has opened my eyes to the power of arts education both in and outside the classroom.

4. Kids are insightful about art

On the first school tour I participated in, we stopped at Morris Louis’s Seal (1959), and the kids blew my mind with their insights on where the “seal” might be in the painting. A couple months later in front of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881), a 1st grader explained how the painting should be renamed The Luncheon of the Disrespectful Party. After further reflecting on the painting, I’ve decided she may be right.

5. I want to pursue a career in the arts

I began college two years ago with no idea what I wanted to do but will leave The Phillips Collection passionate for a career in the arts. Though the internship was unpaid, I don’t think you can put a price tag on discovering what you love to do.

Caroline Seabolt, Education Intern