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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Anissa Wilson ’20 on curating and creating art

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Wilson’s work was featured in the junior art show on April 5. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

Anissa Wilson ’20, an art major specializing in drawing, took a field trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in her first year at St. Joe’s.

Kathleen Vaccaro, administrative assistant and adjunct professor of art, was Wilson’s Drawing I professor at the time.

Wilson told Vaccaro that it was her first time at the museum and she enjoyed looking at the art. Vaccaro said she even came to class about a year later with the same button from that trip.

“There’s something so ethereal about seeing works of art up close that you’ve only ever seen through pictures,” Wilson said.

The memory sticks out to Vaccaro in looking back on the fellowship Wilson completed this past summer at the art museum, the Mellon Curatorial Fellowship. The fellowship allowed Wilson and other participants to spend a week working at the art museum, complete with housing at the University of Pennsylvania and a stipend.

Summer 2018 was the first time the fellowship was offered in Philadelphia, as it is held in other cities including Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston and Kansas City.

“Not a lot of people really know what a curator actually does, and I was like, this would be really interesting to see what they do and everything behind it,” Wilson said.

Through the fellowship, Wilson said she discovered that curators are responsible for all of the art in a museum, including placing the pieces into their respective exhibits and keeping in contact with contemporary artists.

Wilson said they took field trips to venues that function as both studios and is familiar with Wilson’s work, as she’s been placing it around campus since last year.

Bracy said that along with creating art in unique mediums like marker and pen, Wilson’s work is easy to place because her pieces often follow a theme.

“Some students are kind of all over the place, they don’t have themes,” Bracy said. “She tends to work in them, so she has groupings. That is always helpful when you’re trying to put an exhibit together and you’re trying to have themes in a few pieces. Aesthetically, it looks nicer in an exhibit.”

Aside from being a creative and talented artist, Bracy emphasized Wilson’s work ethic and professional demeanor.

“She has business cards already, a website, so she’s totally ahead of the game,” Bracy said. “She’s learning how to market herself already, and I don’t usually see that until second semester senior year.”

Vaccaro, who taught Wilson in Drawing I and is now her professor for Painting III, said she is impressed with Wilson’s artwork as well as her character.

“One of the women that works in the [Mellon Curatorial Fellowship] program came to St. Joe’s to recruit people for the next year, and Anissa volunteered to come and speak to the St. Joe’s students about it,” Vaccaro said. “Anissa’s really good with that, volunteering for community based things on campus and getting the word out about opportunities to other people on campus.”

For Wilson, the takeaway from the fellowship was that she belongs in the art field and can do almost anything with her degree.

“A lot of people think of the starving artist concept when people try to go into a creative field like that, but there are so many different fields you can go into with basic art skills,” Wilson said.

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