Submitted by Alison M. Palizzolo on Thu, 05/18/2017 - 10:16 am
Where are they now?: Olivia Field, 2014-15 Kathryn Conroy Public Relations Intern
What have you been up to since you graduated from Dartmouth in 2015?
I am currently a legal assistant working for a plaintiff’s-side law firm in San Francisco that specializes in employment law and fighting discrimination in the workplace. I will soon be applying to law school. I am still open to a career in the arts, but perhaps from a legal angle.
Were your original intentions to pursue a career in the arts after college?
During college, I didn’t have set intentions one way or the other about pursuing a career in the arts after graduation; I didn’t know enough about the field at the time. I knew I loved the arts, and wanted to explore the field more, both academically and professionally. So I used my time at Dartmouth to do so by pursuing an art history major and the internship at the Hood.
Do you believe that your internship was just as valuable to your success as someone who went into the arts?
I think my internship was valuable to my success. I gained working experience, and was exposed to public relations work, which is not exclusive to the arts. Plus, I think the internship helped to shape my thinking in ways class alone did not.
Did your internship at the museum provide you with any skills, knowledge, or assistance that the rest of your education at Dartmouth did not?
I think the internship requires you to think a little differently than you would for a class. But you are still thinking critically and learning to adapt your knowledge and skills to a new field. Plus, you get amazing opportunities that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. During my time at the museum, I got to write a label for a piece in the exhibition About Face, with my own personal analysis; I got to meet artist Victor Ekpuk and civil rights leader Julian Bond.
And, A Space for Dialogue is an absolutely irreplaceable experience. Designing your own exhibition from start to finish gives you a whole new perspective and new opportunities that so few students get to experience. You get an unprecedented look into the museum and its workings. You have the entire Hood collection at your disposal, and get to explore some of the storage areas that hold many of the Hood’s unseen masterpieces. You get to pick whatever topic interests you, not just a topic assigned by a professor; you get to fully develop and explore your own thoughts and ideas without fear of a grade. You have to think beyond just analyzing a painting and have to consider how the multiple works interact, and even how the framing and wall color affect the display. You get amazing help and input from the Hood’s incredible staff, from working with Patrick Dunfey on the installation, to Amelia Kahl and Kathy Hart discussing the artworks and theory with you, to Alison Palizzolo and Nils Nadeau helping promote your exhibition. There really is nothing else like this for Dartmouth students.
Was the Hood a valuable resource for you as an undergraduate?
Yes, the Hood was frequently used in many of my art history courses, so having access to many of the works we were studying was extremely valuable.
What advice would you give to a Dartmouth student considering applying for an internship at the museum?
Do it! The internship is a lot of fun! You actually do real work, get to provide your own ideas and work closely with the amazing Hood staff. Plus, you get to design your own exhibition through A Space for Dialogue, which is such an amazing opportunity that so few people can say they’ve done.
As an intern, don’t be afraid to be yourself and show your creativity, especially for the PR or Programming internships. Have fun with it! You as a Dartmouth student know what other Dartmouth students like and want, so you are in the perfect position to suggest new ideas to successfully engage students. Trust me when I say that your boldness will pay off. During my PR internship I pitched some really out there and silly ideas (including taking selfies at the museum, putting a party hat on a statue, and dressing up in a toga and carrying a trident around campus to advertise a Poseidon exhibition), and Alison and Nils were always very receptive and open to them. Even if the ideas cannot be used, it generates new ways of thinking and can lead to something great.
Olivia graduated from Dartmouth in 2015 with a degree in Art History. During her internship at the Hood Museum of Art she worked with the communications team to promote the museum on campus, specifically targeting Dartmouth students. Some of the exhibitions she helped to promote include: Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, Poseidon and the Sea, About Face: Self-Portraiture in Contemporary Art, and Auto-Graphics: Works by Viktor Ekpuk. Her A Space for Dialogue was titled Goddesses, Models, and Prostitutes: An Exploration of the Reclining Female Nude, and examined the differences and uses of female nakedness and nudity in art. Olivia is originally from San Diego, California, and now lives in San Francisco. While at Dartmouth, she was an active member of Alpha Phi and the SHEBA Dance Troupe.
During her internship Olivia interviewed Professor Emeritus of History J. Bruce Nelson about civil rights activist Julian Bond. Watch their discussion.
Read Olivia's article in the 2015 spring Quarterly.