My Smithsonian Experience by Lucy Platten

 

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Lucy Platten assisting with the arrangement of photographs from the Dale/Patterson Family collection.

 

My Smithsonian experience has been unbelievable; I have gained skills I thought I would never know, met people who have changed the way I see things and had the most remarkable time becoming more and more independent. I feel that this experience has been life altering to me, as of 2 years ago I would have never have had the courage to fly to America and volunteer at the Smithsonian, and now that I’ve done it, I can’t see myself working anywhere else.

In my week of volunteering at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, I assisted Jennifer Morris, the museum’s archivist.  She introduced me to several aspects of the archival profession. I helped with the arrangement and description of the Dale/Patterson Family collection which documents the lives of  two families who settled in the Hillsdale, Anacostia area of Washington, DC in 1892.  Ms. Morris also trained me on Archivists’ Toolkit an archival data management system.  I  attended meetings and received a behind-the-scenes tour of the Archive Center at the National Museum of American Indian.   Jennifer was hard-working and kind-hearted and I enjoyed so much helping her, she aided me to learn as much as my 16 year old brain could hold.

At the museum I finally met the lady who answered my very first email offering me a placement at the Anacostia, Shelia Parker. It was wonderful to finally put a face to the name and she turned out to be one of the nicest people I have ever met. All the people at the museum welcomed me with open arms and wide smiles, I never at any point felt unwelcome or un-wanted; I even had an ongoing comical conversation with one of the guards about my stupid need to get a cab everywhere, when he insists to use Uber.

In the museum, I saw two enormously interesting exhibits first, How the Civil War Changed Washington for which I now know about Washington’s tragic Arsenal event of 1864, where 29 women were working when a colossal fire broke out killing 3 instantly and leaving 18 to die from vicious burns. Second, I learned about Panamanian immigration to Washington, DC from the Bridging the Americas exhibition.

In England I will be starting college this September, studying History Early Modern, English Literature, Psychology and Archeology. I hope that after college, when I turn 18, I can obtain an internship at the Smithsonian giving me the opportunity to be able to come back to DC and gain even more skills and meet even more generous and wholehearted people. There are a lot of people I need to thank, such as, Shelia Parker for answering an annoying English girl’s email, Jennifer Morris who taught me so much and created the best experience I could ever imagine and my family who’s financial and loving support got me to Washington, DC to make memories and start the journey to my, hopeful, aspiring future.

All that I can do now is to work hard and never lose sight of my dream to return to Washington, DC and work at a Smithsonian Museum!

Lucy Platten

Volunteer, summer 2015

President Obama Visits Anacostia Library

Today, President Barack Obama arrived to the Anacostia Library on Good Hope Road with little fanfare.

According to the Washington Post, President Obama’s trip to the library was to announce a digital donation to access to over 10,000 popular titles on behalf of nine major publishing houses.

The President went on to say,

“For a lot of people, if they live in a home where they don’t have a lot of books, books can be expensive. Your parents may not be able to afford to buy a whole lot of books,” said Obama, sitting on a stool surrounded by 40 wide-eyed middle school students. “But if we are able to set up . . . a way in which people can pull all of these books down through the Internet, suddenly that can even things out between poor kids and rich kids — everybody has got the ability to learn.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/04/30/president-obama-makes-rare-appearance-with-d-c-mayor/

His visit was kept quiet for the most part. Some people walking by wondered what all the commotion was about, and were genuinely shocked to find out that the President was in the neighborhood! Residents say security vehicles began showing up around 9:30am. I arrived around 11:15am and his motorcade had already gone by at 11:00am. Onlookers lining Good Hope Road told me he entered through the back of the library, so they hadn’t seen him go inside the building.

There were surprisingly few onlookers. Residents from the apartment buildings across the street from the library made up the majority of the crowd of 40-50 people. Many were snapping pictures of the heavy security detail with their cell phones. They told me officials had been by the evening before securing the area for the President’s visit. One man told me, that residents who lived behind the library, where the President entered, had been questioned by the President’s security staff in preparation for his visit. There were quite a few neighbors chatting with one another but other than that, the entire scene was calm and quiet.

For the most part, the perimeter, remained surprisingly small. As onlookers, we were all standing just on the other side of the street from the library. The streets were only blocked off one block in any direction. That’s much closer than when he’s in the White House. One could hardly tell that the leader of our country was sitting inside the building across the street!

When I left at 11:50am, the President had not left the library yet. I hope for those people who were waiting see him, they were able to catch a glimpse of him. It’s an exciting to be so close to the President of the United States, and it’s even more exciting when he comes your neighborhood.

 

Patricia Clay, member of the Anacostia Coordinating Council and the Anacostia Community Museum was on one of the onlookers waiting to see the President.

Patricia Clay, member of the Anacostia Coordinating Council and the Anacostia Community Museum was on one of the onlookers waiting to see the President.

 

Naiyahmi Taylor, age 5, who goes to Roots Public Charter School, was very excited to see President Obama

Naiyahmi Taylor, age 5, who goes to Roots Public Charter School, was very excited to see President Obama.

 

Anacostia Library under tight security while President is inside.

Anacostia Library under tight security while President is inside.

 

A handmade sign placed on hedge reads "WE WANT TO MEET OBAMA"

A handmade sign placed on hedge reads “WE WANT TO MEET OBAMA”

 

Numerous security vehicles line Good Hope Road in front of the library.

Numerous security vehicles line Good Hope Road in front of the library.

 

Guards on the rooftop of the library.

Guards on the rooftop of the library.

 

A vehicle with the Presidential Seal and Flag

A vehicle with the Presidential Seal and Flag.

 

Happy onlookers hoping to see to President Obama.

Happy onlookers hoping to see to President Obama.

 

The ARC hosting Anacostia River Festival Fish Bike Parade April 12

konobori children's day

The ARC, which hosts a community gallery and ArtReach workshops for youth and adults at it’s 1901 Mississippi Avenue SE location is planning something special for the annual Anacostia River Festival. The festival, on April 12, 2015 held at the Anacostia Waterfront Park will be the site of the first Anacostia River Festival Fish Bike Parade.  What is a Fish Bike Parade?  Picture hundreds of bikes riding around the DC streets with colorful handmade fish windsocks like the one’s pictured above flying over the heads of the cyclists and convening at the festival to create an above water river display.

Over the next few weeks the ARTREACH will host workshops to create your own fish flags inspired by the Japanese tradition of creating carp-shaped windsocks known as “Koinobori.” The fish windsocks will then be attached to poles on the back of bikes for a flying fish performance at the festival.  The workshops are free and open to all regardless of creative experience. :

Wednesday March 11 @ The ARC’s ArtReach studio 1901 Mississippi Ave SE 6-8 PM

Saturday March 14 @ The ARC’s ArtReach studio 1901 Mississippi Ave SE 1-3 PM

Wednesday April 1 @ The ARC’s ArtReach studio 1901 Mississippi Ave SE 6-8 PM

Saturday April 4 @ The ARC’s ArtReach studio 1901 Mississippi Ave SE 10-1 PM

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For more information contact Melissa Green, Director of ArtReach at mgreen@thearcdc.org

 

 

 

Artist Talk w/Sheila Crider @Honfleur Gallery Nov 15 PLUS PHOTOBOOK Exhibit @VividGallery

Volume by Sheila Crider at the Honfleur Gallery

Friend of the Anacostia Community Museum local artist Sheila Crider has an exhibit up at the Honfleur Gallery on Good Hope Rd SE called Volume. It features beautiful paper sculpture assemblages and mixed media prints.  Sheila is a lifelong East of the Riverite, and participated in several projects with ACM.  Please join her for an artist talk on November 15 @ 2 pm @Honfleur Gallery.  

Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

A sculpture in Sheila Crider’s Volume

Volume by Sheila Crider at the Honfleur Gallery

Volume by Sheila Crider at the Honfleur Gallery

 

My practice focuses on making objects that challenge notions of decorative and fine art, questioning what real value and purpose these objects and “the artist” serve in the 21st century.  It is centered by study of the varied languages of art movements since Modernism to construct contemporary pictures, using texture, pattern, line, color, form, sequence, and now, volume, with a goal of integrating image, object, and frame.

-Sheila Crider, September 2014

 

Also of interest is the PHOTOBOOK exhibit at Vivid Solutions Gallery next door in the Anacostia Arts Center.  PHOTOBOOK  asks how the presentation of a photographic image influences its effect on the viewer. How do we consider an image seen in a book that we hold as opposed to a photograph in a frame hanging on the wall? Featuring the work of 7 artists, the exhibit is  tightly curated and offers an easily accessible framework in which to ponder these questions.

In the last 20 years photo books have become highly collectible and coveted objects.  Martin Parr‘s and Gerry Badger‘s history of Photobooks in 3 volumes explores the use of photo books, the myriad way photographers have re-represented their work within them, the changes made in the advent of self-publishing, more affordable methods of offset publishing, and the rise in popularity of the handmade artist book.  The photo book allows affordable entry into the world of fine art collecting. And first and limited editions have been known to appreciate greatly in value. Ask anyone who has their hands on a first edition of photographer Robert Frank’s seminal photo book The Americans.

Kristin Gudbrandsdottir "Faces of the Fallen" handmade artist book at Vivid Gallery

Kristin Gudbrandsdottir “Faces of the Fallen”, KGB press, handmade artist book at Vivid Gallery

The books represented by the artists in Vivid Solutions Gallery’s PHOTOBOOK exhibit represent many of these ways of interpreting the photo book.   Kristin Gudbrandsdottir’s Faces of the Fallen is a handmade artist book utilizing an acordian fold and cut-outs to represent the human waste of war.  Leda Black’s Mimesis examines three categories of objects: plant, animal, and human-made.  She prints out inkjet prints and had them hand bound into a book locally, offering yet another version of the handmade artist book

Leda Black's Mimesis, Palabra Press, inkjet print on canvas.

Leda Black’s Mimesis, Palabra Press, inkjet print on canvas.

 

Luke Strosnider’s I Wish You Where Here depicts images made during a European sojourn.  His book appears to be one made from one of the many companies offering offset printing in small publishing runs, companies that include  Blurb and MyPublisher.

 

Luke Strosnider 's Images from the series Wish You Where Here

Luke Strosnider ‘s Images from the series Wish You Where Here

 

PHOTOBOOK presents the work of Anna Agoston, Jordan Baumgarten, Leda Black, Kristin Gudbrandsdottir, Jay Turner Frey Seawell, Tatiana Shukhin, and Luke Strosnider.

Honfleur Gallery

1241 Good Hope Road SE · Washington DC 20020 · 202-365-8392 · arts@archdc.org
Hours: Tuesday – Friday noon to 5pm · Saturday 11am to 5pm

Vivid Solutions Gallery

1231 Good Hope Road SE · Washington DC 20020
(Inside Anacostia Arts Center)
202-365-8392
Hours: Tuesday – Friday noon to 5pm · Saturday 11am to 5pm

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