Hello! My name is Emily Izzo, and I am the Kress Interpretive Fellow at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. I graduated this past May with my Masters in Museum Studies, and then relocated to Salt Lake City from Indianapolis about 2 months ago to begin work at the Museum. I had never previously visited Salt Lake City, or even Utah, so I am having a wonderful time exploring my beautiful surroundings!
Now let me fill you in on why I’m here… Well, The Kress Interpretive Fellowship is a year-long program aimed to increase the exploration of interpretive careers in art museums and build stronger ties between the curatorial and education divisions through collaboration on interpretive projects. I heard about the program from a mentor of mine who was a Kress Fellow at another museum a few years ago. After doing some research, I found out the UMFA was looking for a Kress Interpretive Fellow, so I decided to submit an application.
A month or two after applying, I had a Skype interview with Leslie (the Curator of European, American, and Regional Art), Virginia (the Curator of Education), and Jorge (the Director of Education and Engagement). Shortly after my interview, I was selected for the position—out of over 60 national and international applicants—so I made the move to Salt Lake City! Although I am the only Kress Interpretive Fellow working in Utah, there are many others working with museums all over the nation on exciting interpretive projects.
So, what does a Kress Interpretive Fellow do? I will be working with UMFA curators and educators over the course of the next year to develop new approaches to the interpretation of the European collection for the 2017 re-opening of the Museum. Although the word “interpretation” has many definitions, at its core it defines how the Museum presents, shares, and/or teaches visitors about the collection. Interpretation can be anything from a label on a wall to a digital interactive to an educational program.
The 2016 temporary closure of the Museum presents an amazing opportunity to rethink the UMFA gallery spaces and how we share our collection with visitors. My work will focus on making the galleries more appealing and accessible to a diverse audience by creating new materials and experiences that cater to the wants and needs of the Museum’s visitors. It is my hope that with the reinstallation and reinterpretation, visitors will find the European galleries more dynamic and engaging, and will have fun exploring the European collection and beyond.
I’ll be checking in with updates on my work throughout the year, so stay tuned!