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Intern Summer at OEC, 2013

By Ariel Rolfe, Design Intern

The Office of Exhibits Central
takes on interns throughout the year to assist in a variety of projects.
Interns gain valuable professional experience while learning about what the
Smithsonian does behind the scenes. Internships are ten weeks long, and (as of
now, mid-July) the eager interns are already halfway through their experience! This summer OEC has five interns with a
variety of backgrounds and many different skill sets:

Aliana Bailey, Safety Program Intern

Aliana is a passionate artist, in
both personal and professional realms, working in painting and graphic design.
Her paintings comment on African American culture and feminist studies, though
she is also interested in the color, movement, and texture of
non-representational paintings. (You can check out Aliana’s work here.) Aliana finds great inspiration
in learning about America’s visionaries and activists at the National Portrait
Gallery. She also lists the Hirshhorn as a favorite museum, describing it as
equally informative to her personal artwork. Her pursuit of social innovation
through visual arts led her to double-major in Social Work and Visual Arts,
specializing in Graphic Design and Painting, at North Carolina Agricultural and
Technical State University. 

At OEC, she has been working to
establish a stronger graphic identity for the safety program, “addressing human
behavior in the form of effective design solutions,” she notes. Through her
experience here and at school, she aims to use the power of art and design to
heal, educate, influence, communicate, and enhance the well-being of individuals
and communities. 


A sample of Aliana’s graphic design for the Safety Program.
Aliana working on the graphic identity of
the Safety Program.

Ariel Rolfe, Design Intern

Ariel has been enjoying the change
in pace from her hometown of Juneau, Alaska. She graduated with a degree in Art
and a minor in Construction Technology from the University of Alaska Southeast.
(You can see some of her work here.)
After school, Ariel took a two-year “break” working as a bookkeeper until
finally accepting her fate in an arts-and-humanities-minded career path. She is
currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Museum Exhibition Planning &
Design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Ariel is fascinated with
the relationships between nature and humans, particularly how design can
enhance that relationship in a sustainable way. One of her favorite museums is
the Wagner Free Institute in
Philadelphia, which embodies mankind’s strange obsession to manage and control
nature while simultaneously deeming it fascinating and beautiful in its

Relatively new to graphic design, Ariel has been
getting lots of valuable experience at OEC creating and finalizing graphic
designs for the Hometown Teams and Beyond Bollywood exhibitions. She has
also been working on concept design for an exhibition about the history of the
Institution, called The Smithsonian: A
Story of Discovery and Wonder


Ariel next to her first SI-approved design, a schedule
for the SI Staff Picnic.

Cullen Whitmore, Graphics Intern

Cullen studies Graphic Design at
the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. Cullen is originally
from this area and will be returning to Michigan in September for his sophomore
year. While at OEC, Cullen has been assisting with printing and mounting large
exhibition panels using the press machine as well as laminating panels. Cullen
has been producing graphics for Beyond
, Hometown Teams, and
the Postal Museum. His favorite museum is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of
Natural History, which he finds interesting because of its layout and the
assortment of animals. He especially loves walking into the museum to be
welcomed by Henry, the elephant. 

Outside of his internship, Cullen
works a second job at a movie theater in addition to freelancing as a graphic
designer and illustrator. He works for bands and small organizations, creating
promotional materials such as business cards, posters, and logos. (You can see
some of his work here.)


Cullen Whitmore securing a sheet on the OEC’s new
direct-to-surface printer.

Christina Fontenelle, Model Shop Intern

Christina boasts a long list of
titles under her email signature, which include Peer Academic Advisor Leader,
Founding President for Active Minds, and President of the Association of Latin
American Students. She doesn’t let anything hold her back, including being
half-deaf. She knows not only English and American Sign Language but also
Spanish. Christina is working on three Bachelor’s degrees at Illinois State
University—Painting, Psychology, and Art History—and aims to become an art
therapist. Last year she received a scholarship through her school allowing her
to intern at the Smithsonian Institution for the summer.

In the OEC model shop, Christina
has been working hands-on, fabricating components for Hometown Teams. Watch the short video to see how Christina has set
up a jig so that she can accurately and smoothly drill holes in an interactive
section of the exhibition.

Outside of OEC, Christina helps
with other SI events and at museums on the Mall. Her favorite exhibition is of Nam
June Paik’s work at the American Art Museum
. She loves how the artist
“broke down barriers” using television screens to fill up entire walls of the


Christina Fontenelle set up this jig to secure the
“speech bubble” panels for Hometown Teams, allowing
for consistently accurate drilling to attach the
mounting hardware.


Watch this video to see how Christina uses the jig to drill
holes for some of the exhibition interactive panels.


Matthew Callahan, Model and Fabrication Shop Intern

If Matthew weren’t interning at OEC, you’d probably have to search out the
nearest circus to find him. He’s a juggler and rides a unicycle when not
working at OEC. He also does freelance design work and is scheming about what
to do after the summer. Matthew recently graduated from the Washington
University in St. Louis with a degree in Sculpture. At OEC he’s been working in
the model and fabrication shop, assisting
with the installation of Q?rius, a
new interactive and experimental environment set to open this fall at the
National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). At NMNH he has been fabricating
brass mounts for the show.

A loyal Smithsonian fan, Matthew
likes a lot of the Smithsonian museums, especially NMNH, Air & Space, and
the Hirshhorn. Matthew enjoys the incredible collections and impressive
exhibitions that all three museums host.

6_ Matthew_Beetle

Matthew takes a break to play with this specimen before mounting it in the exhibition.
7_Matthew mount

Here Matthew positions a lobster in the mounts he had
just fabricated.

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