Past Faith Flanagan Fellowship
Program Participants

2020-2021 | 2019-2020 | 2018-2019 |2017-2018

2020-2021 Participants

Mehves Lelic is an Istanbul-born artist, curator and educator currently based on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She serves as Curator at the Academy Art Museum and is currently working a number of exhibitions, including Norma Morgan: Enchanted World and Miro in New York: Miro, Hayter and Atelier 17, 1947. She holds a BA from the University of Chicago and she is currently an MFA candidate at Bard College. She has been awarded the National Geographic Expeditions Council Grant, the Turkish Cultural Foundation Cultural Exchange Fellowship, and the City of Chicago Individual Artists Program Grant. She has previously served as a Teaching Artist at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Adjunct Professor at Anne Arundel Community College. Her work has been exhibited and published widely, in venues including the Rotterdam Photo Festival, ICA Baltimore, the Ogden Museum, Institute des Cultures D’Islam, Paris, Der Greif, Aesthetica Magazine, Lenscratch, C41, and others.

Learn more about Mehveş Lelic’s Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story titled, How to Curate an Exhibition. Sourced from anecdotes submitted anonymously by womxn working in the visual arts, the story leads the reader through a number of plot twists that either culminate in a successful or an unsuccessful exhibition. View the story here.

Johanna Obenda is a cultural practitioner, curator, and educator. She is currently a Researcher and Exhibition Development Specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Johanna earned a B.A. in History from the University of Alabama and a M.A. in Public Humanities from Brown University where she was the Graduate Fellow at the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. She has held a fellowship at the Yale University Art Gallery and internships at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At NMAAHC, Johanna is contributing to research and exhibition development for an upcoming traveling exhibition on the history of global slavery and its contemporary resonances, bringing her commitment to highlighting diverse narratives of the African diaspora, responsible storytelling, and museum education pedagogy to the curatorial process.

Johanna Obenda’s audio story profiles a handful of DC-area cultural practitioners who are working to reimagine cultural institutions and how we engage with visual arts in a variety of ways. Obenda engages healing artist Geo Edwards, Kristi Maiselman, Executive Director of Cultural DC, and Loretta Thompson, a visual artist and arts administrator for Sitar Arts Center who have each disrupted traditional approaches to arts engagement. Listen to the audio story here.

Susannah Stern is an arts practitioner with an interest in a variety of disciplines. Born and raised in central New Jersey, Susannah attended American University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a minor in anthropology. While studying in Washington, D.C., Susannah fell in love with the city and decided to focus her career on arts and humanities in the region. Her professional experience ranges from education to visitor experience to curation with her most recent position being at ARTECHOUSE — the first art and tech-focused space in D.C. Susannah’s passion lies in bridging the gap between the general public and arts institutions by helping audiences recognize the importance of artistic experiences in their everyday lives.

Susannah Stern hosts a conversation with Lena Galperina, Visitor Experience Director at ARTECHOUSE, Don Allen Stevenson III, Artist and XR Content Creator, and Charlotte Ickes, Curator of Time-Based Media and Special Projects, about their unique perspectives on immersive, technology-based art, opening the door to an honest look at the trend toward art as experience. Listen to the conversation here.

2019-2020 Participants

Laura Augustin has served as Curatorial Assistant at the Smithsonian American Art Museum since 2016. She holds an MA in Museum Studies from the George Washington University and a BA in American History from SUNY Purchase. In 2015, she and her teammates presented at the Emerging Innovators Forum at the American Alliance of Museum’s annual conference in Seattle, Washington. Laura’s work at SAAM includes researching the permanent collection and working on special exhibitions. Recent projects include research on and installation of a selection of works and archival material by Joseph Cornell and an upcoming exhibition of feminist fiber works.

Jennifer Anne Mitchell is a journalist and artist who writes a list of things to do each weekend and other stories for the news site The DC Line. She is a co-chair of the professional network Emerging Arts Leaders DC, board member for the arts nonprofit Day Eight and leader in The Sanctuaries arts collective. As a contributor to International Journalists’ Network, she delivers tips to reporters worldwide. Jen is also a teaching artist with the literary arts group Split This Rock. 

Other career highlights include exhibiting her photography, leading media projects in South Asia and collaborating on a documentary that was selected for three global film fests. Jen earned a bachelor’s in international studies from Washington University in St. Louis, with a semester writing program on art history at the University of Oxford, and a master’s in writing from the University of Southern California. She got her start working in media and the arts in LA.

Originally from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Emily Ann Francisco is currently the Curatorial Assistant for the Department of Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art, where she works primarily on projects related to the permanent collection of modern and contemporary art. Prior to her current role, she was the Collection Management Assistant in the Gallery’s Department of Photographs. Emily holds dual M.A. degrees in Art History and Museum Studies from Syracuse University, where she worked as a Teaching Assistant for three years.

She earned her B.A. in Art History and English with a Writing Concentration and a Studio Art minor from Gettysburg College, where she graduated magna cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She has interned at the Everson Museum of Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum; National Gallery of Art; Whistler House Museum of Art; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Musselman Library at Gettysburg College; and The Gettysburg Review. She also previously served as the Social Media Chair for the DC Emerging Museum Professionals chapter (DCEMP), and is currently on the steering committee for Emerging Arts Leaders DC (EALDC). She is passionate about public art, writing, and visitor engagement in museums.

Ella Weiner is a Program Associate with the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative working on intergovernmental cultural heritage protection coordination and strategic communications. She also works on the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF) and the Heritage Emergency and Response Training (HEART) program. Previously she worked for the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations on cultural projects and communications. Her research focuses on cultural heritage, international law, and museums. Ella graduated Summa Cum Laude from Tulane University with honors in political science and art history.

2018-2019 Participants

Interested in galleries, nonprofit mixed arts and museums, Elizabeth Denholm has served as the Collection Manager for the private collection of Robert Lehrman since 2015. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from The Catholic University of America, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, completing her degree in 3.5 years. Elizabeth has also served as a grant panelist for the DC Commission for the Arts & Humanities and as a Conservation Technician at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center. In fall 2018, Elizabeth will pursue a Master of Arts in Art History at George Mason University as a recipient of the university’s Finley Fellowship.

Ina Descartes graduated with a MA in Arts Management from George Mason University in 2016, and currently works as the Exhibitions Coordinator, Collections Manager and Communications Assistant for the Woman’s National Democratic Club inside the Whittemore House Museum. She has previously interned at several cultural and arts institutions like the Exhibitions Department at the National Portrait Gallery, and the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy, and also has experience in installing and organizing exhibitions in small art galleries. With a background in Art History and Media Studies, Ina has moved from her home country Germany to Washington, DC in 2014.

Allison Frazier is a local ceramicist, art curator, and exhibition designer currently serving the DC arts scene as the Gallery and Studio Manager at Art Enables, a studio and gallery for adult artists with disabilities. Previously, she served as the Gallery Assistant and Events and Program Coordinator at Hillyer Art Space for three years. Before moving to D.C. from Stafford, VA, Allie attended Virginia Tech, where she graduated with a BFA in Studio Art (Ceramics/Painting concentration) and a minor in English Language and Literature. She previously worked at the Perspective Gallery in Blacksburg, VA and volunteered as an art mentor to children after school. Along with producing her own pottery at District Clay Center and sharing her love of visual movement through dance, Allie serves on the steering committee for Emerging Art Leaders DC, co-founded #IRL_DC,  and has served as a panelist for the DCCAH’s Artist Fellowship Program.

Gabrielle Tillenburg holds a B.F.A. in Film from the University of Central Florida. Producing film screenings and coordinating a multimedia exhibition led her to pursue a career in arts administration. A DMV native, she returned to the District and has worked as the Visual Arts Coordinator at the Mansion at Strathmore in Bethesda, MD for the past three years. In addition to developing exhibition related events and education opportunities, she programs the Invitational Gallery, selecting emerging to mid-career artists and working closely with them to develop solo and duo exhibitions. Outside of Strathmore, she has worked with Adah Rose Gallery at Pulse Miami, independently curated, and participated as a reviewer for Willow Street Gallery’s public Portfolio Review program. She also serves on the board of Touchstone Foundation for the Arts and is a committee member of ArtWatch.  

Inspired by artists whose work share perspectives sometimes absent of dominant cultural narratives, she seeks the powerful community engagement that occurs when these works are shared widely. She is interested in arts activism, residency programs, and film and video art curation. Gabrielle is looking forward to connecting with ArtTable DC members, mentors, and other fellows; learning from strong women leaders in the arts; and positioning herself to in turn, lift up other young professionals in her future career.”

2017–2018 Participants

Mollie Berger – Curatorial Assistant, Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Arthas worked at the National Gallery since 2014, following her graduation from George Washington University with a Master of Arts in Art History. An adapted version of her graduate qualifying paper on Kenneth Noland’s circle paintings and the psychoanalytic therapy of Dr. Wilhelm Reich was recently published for Refiguring American Art, a research project organized by Tate, London. Mollie is currently working on a small exhibition of prints by Edvard Munch, opening September 3 at the National Gallery.

Rachel Burley joined CulturalDC in July 2016 and coordinates the exhibition program at Flashpoint Gallery. She also collaborates with the communications team and provides general administrative support. Previously, Rachel worked as a Marketing and Communications intern at the Phillips Collection. Rachel is a native Californian. She graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Political Science. She moved to DC to pursue a Master of Arts in Art History at George Washington University, where she graduated in May 2016. While at GWU, she served as president of George Washington University’s Gallery 102, and curated So Much Depends Upon… an exhibition that explored the intersection between language and the visual arts.

Colleen Carroll earned an MSc from the University of Edinburgh in History of Art. During her time there and after her return to the U.S., she also managed art projects for the ARTISTRooms Foundation. Before becoming the U.S. Provenance Research Exchange Program Project Coordinator, Colleen interned with the Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative, where she helped coordinate programs for the 2016 College Art Association Annual Conference and the 2016 American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting.

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