What is your favorite part of your job?
Learning about art. Meeting new people of all ages and engaging them in a thoughtful exploration of art. Although, now that we are working from home, my favorite part of my job is doing art projects with my son (almost three) based on Museum Collection artwork and photographing our experiences to use as examples for our online art activities.
In addition to your role as the Museum’s learning and engagement assistant, you teach Adult Studio classes in digital photography. Can you tell us more about your classes and what it’s like to teach Adult Studio? What has it been like to teach virtually during our temporary closure?
When the Museum closed in March and we were thinking of ways to stay engaged with the community, Learning & Engagement Director, Kristi McMillan suggested developing a virtual photography class. Offering this class was a logical progression from the online photography courses I’ve been teaching at the University of New Mexico. I already had experience working with students online and was familiar with strategies and platforms for engaging people virtually. Also, digital photography is naturally suited for an online web-based platform viewed on screens.
In the Museum’s virtual photo classes, most of the time we spend in our Zoom sessions is used for class critiques, group discussions where we look at and talk about each other’s photos. Each week there is a different photo prompt based on a theme. Participants respond to the prompts, present their photos, and we discuss them as a class. These group discussions are a great way to learn more about and improve your photography skills. They are also a fun social experience providing opportunities to socialize during a time of isolation for many people. Normally, in my position as Learning & Engagement Assistant, I would have supported in-person group tours, art workshops, and other museum events that we aren’t able to safely offer at this time. The Adult Studio photo classes help fill in this gap and are a lot of fun for me too.
What’s your favorite work in the Collection and why?
There are SO many amazing artworks in our collection and I am only beginning to become familiar with it. At the moment, I’m really drawn to: Jacqueline Gourevitch’s Staircase in the Studies Building with Mail Box. Photographs are “just” light and a frame. In Staircase in the Studies Building with Mail Box, Gourevitch does so much with light, line, space, and form (a few of the basic elements) to create a visually stunning and interesting image.
What’s your favorite menu item from Perspective Café?
Quiche and pickled okra.
What do you like to do when you’re not at the Museum?
Family date night with my husband and son. We walk to any of the many fabulous restaurants in West Ashville. There’s always something new to try.
Best advice for young students looking for a career in the art world?
Don’t be afraid to fail. If you never fail, you’re probably not trying hard enough.
What’s one thing you would recommend that visitors must see or do before leaving the Museum?
Make art! Of course, there’s lots of cool art to see when you visit. But you can make art too! Make art at the free Second Saturday art activities open to the public, bring the kids for an Artful Adventure, or make something in Art PLAYce (it’s not just for kids!)