Ali is a senior art history major from the Philadelphia area hoping to continue her studies of art history after graduating, and eventually pursue museum work. Fittingly, her work in the Phillips this year has mostly comprised of curatorial projects, including researching and writing labels for currently hanging works. Ali is working to organize the companion exhibition for the upcoming Theresa Bernstein show, researching artists and choosing works from our permanent collection that fluidly converse with Bernstein's themes. Outside of the museum, Ali is conducting an independent research project on the artist Cy Twombly, and is also the project manager for "Curating the City," the exhibition from this year's Curatorial Practices seminar.
"My fellowship with the museum gave me a more in-depth look into museum installations. The museum had fewer shows this year and it provided the opportunity to learn the importance of exhibition design. This year I was able to work with artists personally and familiarize myself with individual installation processes and needs. Working closely with Rus was both challenging and rewarding. With his guidance I was not only prepared to design exhibit layouts on my own, but I was also able to take on more ambitious roles, such as project manager and oversee the installation of the student show."
"My Fellowship with the museum allowed me to explore conservation and preservation both as a field of academic study and professional practice. Some of my responsibilities at the museum included generating condition forms for loaned works on exhibition in our galleries, condition photography, evaluation of works around the College, cleaning and polishing valuable pieces of the collection and exhibited items. In addition to discussing with seminar students the importance of these practices to museums and a larger context. My year at the museum has offered me invaluable experiences and responsibilities for professional growth and academic development. I plan to use these skills and apply them to graduate level academic work in which I hope to pursue preservation and conservation policies of the built environment in the Middle East."
"Through my experiences as the Mellon Pre-Baccalaureate Collections Cataloguing Fellow, I've had the unique opportunity to create records for extensive collections that will be used by museum staff and volunteers for years to come. Over the past year, I have worked on cataloguing artifacts from the North Collection and have succesfully completed the registering of the Bill Hutson collection, which contains over 250 pieces of artwork. My experiences working with The Phillips Museum of Art have provided me with a better understanding of the registering and cataloguing processes that Museum's undergo on a constant basis. During my time as a Mellon fellow, I have confirmed that the Museum field truly is my passion, and I see this past year as a major stepping stone for my future career".
"As the Pre-Baccalaureate Mellon fellow at the museum, I've had a great opportunity to see how museum exhibits come together. I like the hands-on aspects of my job: assisting with installations and storage of work. Working closely with Rus has helped me understand better the inner workings of exhibit installation, and seeing the works we have dealt with in the installation process has greatly influenced my own process as an artist. Now, I think much more about the presentation of my sculptures and their appearance in a museum setting. Eliza, Maureen, and Claire also make sure that I am involved in museum decisions and get to see what their daily work is like. I've been a part of meetings and also helped catalog artworks. Everyone at the Phillips Museum does an outstanding job of incorporating me into the environment and letting me see how museums as institutions work."
"Through this fellowship my understanding of the (Black) art world has drastically expanded. As the Andrew W. Mellon Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, I have spent the past few months organizing archival information in the Martin Science Library, writing up detailed reports of Bill Hutson's artwork, and traveling to nearby cities to meet with artists from the collection, gallery owners, and museum curators. It has been an incredible experience meeting all of these major art figures. I cannot emphasize how much I have learned from these meetings and interactions. They have provided great insight into what the art world might hold for me".