Ashlie Flood ’15 combined her interests in art, photography and museums in her internship at the Smithsonian Gardens in Washington, D.C. this summer. The Gardens, created in 1972, are an extension of the Smithsonian Museum complex. They include not only public outdoor gardens, but also interiorscapes and horticultural exhibits. As the Katzenberger Art History Intern for the Smithsonian Gardens, Flood is one of six undergraduates to be offered a 10-week position with the Museum.
Flood’s internship is media-focused and requires her to promote and add content to the Smithsonian Gardens’ social media platforms, including the Community of Gardens website, which is a public archive of people’s garden stories from all over the U.S.
One of Flood’s major projects this summer is to create an online exhibit about garden art. As Flood explained, “I am solely responsible for the exhibit, and I have near-complete creative control. I had to brainstorm the main idea, content and layout, and then follow through with creating it pretty much from start to finish. My exhibit will be about the different ways in which community gardens all across the United States use art in their gardens,”she explained. “Some of the gardens use art as a form of social activism, some use art to teach about culture and preserve the community’s heritage and history, and others believe the garden itself to be a work of art.”
Though Flood is well-versed in art-related work—she has had six art-related jobs and internships over the past two years—her internship at Smithsonian Gardens is her first time working in a garden. Fortunately, however, she felt prepared for her exhibition work this summer given her collaboration with Professor of History Lisa Trivedi on a photography exhibit at the Wellin Museum of Art. She gained this experience through a curating class co-taught by Professor Trivedi and Professor of Art Rob Knight, through which, Flood noted, “We worked with [Professor Trivedi] to write all of the museum didactics, plan the layout, determine overarching themes, and pick supplementary materials.”
Flood is overjoyed with her opportunity to produce an exhibit this summer, especially since she is considering pursuing a career as a museum curator after graduation. Flood has also been pleasantly surprised by how much she has enjoyed working in a garden setting: “Being in such an environmentally conscious workplace has also re-ignited my interests in gardening, environmental activism, and outdoor activities in general. I now have all of these plans to grow my own food in a community garden, start a compost pile, and volunteer for environmental organizations. I’m beginning to realize how important it is to pursue passions outside of your workplace, and I can’t wait to see what effect this will have on my future plans.”
Ashlie Flood ’15 is a graduate of Barry Goldwater High School, AZ.