Why did you choose Art History?
I love art! I was pursuing studio art as a career and had my first show at the American Jazz Museum. The curator, Sonié Ruffin, saw my potential and took me under her wing. I am currently working as an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in the photography department at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Between these two organizations, I have worked with amazing scholars and learned basic museum operations, performed research and cataloguing, and worked on exhibitions.
What are you currently working on?
My work focuses on 20th century American photography. I presented a paper at a conference in Minneapolis about Gordon Parks’ photography for Life magazine in the 1950s. I’m also working on a photography exhibition at the Nelson, and received a research grant that will allow me to travel to New York this summer and visit The Gordon Parks Foundation to continue my research.
In my studio art practice, I’ve been experimenting with jazz-inspired quilts. There are a lot of qualities in jazz that correlate with quilting: improvisation, asymmetry, rhythm, color, etc. I listen to different songs like Miles Davis’ “So What,” and design quilts that aesthetically respond to certain characteristics of the song.