New curator Julia Marsh incorporates fresh perspective in Phillips Museum

By Katherine Coble || Contributing Writer

The Phillips Museum of Art welcomed its first curator of exhibitions & academic affairs, Julia Marsh, this August.

Marsh is a Pennsylvania native and former curator of community engagement at the Allentown Museum of Art in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She has an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as an MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Marsh is currently working on a research project stemming from her master’s thesis on Abraham Lincoln and how “artists from Romania to Russia to the United States have all used his image to say things about war, peace, justice, and death.” She has distant plans to format this research into a book.

Prior to working in Allentown, Marsh served as an arts editor for a magazine in Seoul, South Korea. She met with South Korean artists of many different ages and backgrounds with varying stories to tell through their work. This experience deepened Marsh’s appreciation of Eastern art techniques and exposed her to the relationship between Asian art and activism. She firmly believes that art is “not about our differences. It’s always about the similarities and the ways we can connect between cultures.”

Marsh plans to bring her knowledge and insight from these previous experiences to Lancaster. She will oversee exhibitions, lead the museum’s public relations team, and work with faculty to make sure the museum has relevance to the curriculum being taught at F&M. Marsh hopes to build upon the groundwork set by assistant director and collections manager Lindsay Marino to create a more professional atmosphere within the museum.

“When you walk into a professional museum, you have this feeling. Everything is designed so that you are unfettered by all the details and you can focus on the art… When you go to a good museum, you are transported,” Marsh says. She hopes that the Phillips Museum will evoke that same polished attitude so that students and faculty can focus on the care and attention given to every exhibit.

Marsh says her main goal for this year is to “talk to everybody” and stresses that “for [the museum] to work, I need input from the community and to hear what they have to say.” F&M students have many reasons to be excited about the Phillips Museum this year. English professor Padmini Mongia will even have an exhibition of her paintings on display in late October. The Phillips Museum will also participate in the Day of Dialogue in some capacity next month. Marsh hopes that students come to the museum regularly to explore the art on display and learn the stories behind them.

“We want the students to take advantage of what’s here, and we hope that we have material on the walls and in the cases that engage and delight them. I do think that the most important thing about art is that it inspires wonder… We are open for business, and I think that’s pretty exciting.”

The Phillips Museum of Art has four galleries and is currently displaying four exhibitions. It will be home to ten exhibitions over the course of the academic year. Admission is free of charge for F&M students. The museum is open on Saturday and Sunday from 12:30-4:30, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:30-4:30, and on Thursday from 1:00-4:30. It is located inside the Steinman College Center.

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First-year Katherine Coble is a contributing writer. Her email is kcoble@fandm.edu.

Photo courtesy of www.fandm.edu.

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