Published May 25, 2021 by Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Recognizing the Work of Five Museum of Art Student Assistants

A montage showing five students working in a museum

From left to right: Camille Amezcua ’22, Andria Polo Brizuela ’22, Kate McKee ’22, Sydney Reaper ’21 and Brooke Wrubel ’21.

This spring semester, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art welcomed five student assistants—four Assistants to the Curator and one Digital Media Assistant. Their internships were a hybrid model, a combination of remote and in-person work. Despite this change to the traditional format of the Museum’s internships and the unprecedented semester, our students contributed greatly to current and upcoming projects at the Museum.

Our spring of student assistants included: Camille Amezcua ’22, Andria Polo Brizuela ’22, Kate McKee ’22, Sydney Reaper ’21 and Brooke Wrubel ’21.

Camille, a Visual Arts major and Anthropology minor, worked with Elizabeth Humphrey, curatorial assistant and manager of student programs, on two upcoming curatorial projects – There Is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art and the online exhibition Along the Water: French and Dutch Impressionism. For There Is a Woman in Every Color, Camille was instrumental in developing programming ideas for the exhibition and several essays and biographies that will be featured on the exhibition’s online supplement. For Along the Water, Camille created a Family Saturday program inspired by the works in the show and helped design the site. Camille will continue her interests in contemporary art this summer, assisting a New York-based gallery focused on Brazilian contemporary art.

Andria, a Neuroscience and Visual Arts double major, assisted Sean Burrus, Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, with collection imaging for curricular engagement and upcoming curatorial projects. Given her interest in photography, she also developed several 3D scans and models that will be available for several objects through the Museum’s kiosk. Additionally, she supported the Museum’s digital programming, editing recorded events to be made publicly available via the College’s YouTube channel. Describing Andria’s time at the Museum, Sean commented: “As the first digital media assistant, she played an important role in digitizing collections, imaging hundreds of works for curricular use, and helping the museum created virtual access to resources during the pandemic. She’s been an invaluable part of the team.” Andria will be deepening her photography experience during her summer fellowship on campus, where she will develop a creative studio photography project.

Kate, an Italian Studies major and Cinema Studies minor, supported Frank Goodyear, co-director, on an upcoming exhibition of nineteenth-century photographers working in Rome. She created an interactive map of Rome and a historic timeline, both of which will be used on the exhibition’s website. Kate also assisted with a project related to artist Henrietta Benson Homer. Following a recent gift of twenty letters written by Henrietta, the mother of Winslow Homer, Kate and Frank worked together to transcribe these letters. This project allowed Kate to examine watercolor paintings by Henrietta in the Museum’s collection and to think anew about her work as a female artist in nineteenth-century America. Reflecting on her time at the Museum, Kate stated: “Working directly with the BCMA's collection has clarified the kind of art historical research that I want to do after Bowdoin. My time at the BCMA has been full of small discoveries and endless fascinations that have all but satiated my desire to learn more about art and its history.”

Included in our cohort were two graduating seniors, Sydney and Brooke.

Sydney, an Art History and Visual Arts major and English minor, assisted Anne Collins Goodyear, co-director, on several upcoming exhibitions related to modern and contemporary art. The first project involved providing support for an upcoming exhibition of the work of Mina Loy, to be curated by Jennifer R. Gross. Sydney provided invaluable assistance in helping to organize the Museum’s checklists and related record photography of works to be included in the show. Additionally, Sydney worked on the upcoming Helen Frankenthaler and Jo Sandman exhibition by developing bibliographies and examining and comparing their artistic practices. Anne noted: “Sydney’s joint training in art and art history gave her a sharp eye with which to make observations and raise critical questions about the work of these artists. Her contributions have been invaluable.”

Brooke, an Art History and Italian Studies double major and Dance minor, continued her work with Sean Burrus on the upcoming exhibition highlighting the Museum’s ancient collection. Brooke conducted original object-based and archival research on Edward Perry Warren (1860-1928) and his collection. Reflecting on her time at the Museum, Brooke stated: “Serving as a Student Assistant to the Curator to Dr. Sean Burrus enabled me to engage in hands-on museum experience including object-based research, curatorial writing, and exhibition preparation. Importantly, I gained an invaluable mentor and learned first-hand what it means to be a museum professional.” Brooke will be continuing her studies this fall at the University of Pennsylvania, where she will be pursuing her master’s degree with a focus on Medieval and Byzantine art.

These students did phenomenal work in their respective roles at the BCMA, and we are proud of their many accomplishments. We are excited to see how their potential careers in the arts take them. To our graduating seniors: the Museum congratulates you on the conclusion of your undergraduate career and the beginning of this new and exciting chapter! We wish you all the best in your future endeavors. 

Elizabeth S. Humphrey ’14
Curatorial Assistant and Manager of Student Programs