Students consider a Japanese print for the UR Museums collection
Students Emma Lenning, Karine Nguyen, Caroline Harkless, Izzy Gaenzle, Shobhini Kumar, and Zachary Stevens review art at the Scholten Gallery in New York City.

Spiders get an inside look at the NYC art world

April 30, 2024


When Anastasia Carrico first heard about an upcoming art trip to New York City, she knew she had to go.

“As an art student, the path forward can often feel uncertain, with fewer clear-cut options than other fields,” said Carrico, a sophomore from Katy, Texas. The recent spring break trip helped bring an art career into sharper focus for her.

On the trip, students visited galleries in Brooklyn and Manhattan to review and acquire a work of art for the University of Richmond Museums. They met five University of Richmond alums and others working in the art world and got an inside look at commercial art spaces and major art museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MOMA, and the Whitney. The students also enjoyed free time to explore the city.

The trip was the idea of Issa Lampe, executive director of University of Richmond Museums. She had arranged similar road trips for students when she worked at other university museums, including those at Stanford University and the University of Chicago.

“Ten Views of Famous Floral Places in Edo: Wisteria at Kemido,” by Kitagawa Utamaro

“I tried to put myself in the students’ place and think about the kind of trip that I would have liked to go on as an art student,” said Lampe, who organized the UR trip with curators Heather Campbell and Martha Wright. “I was hoping it would dispel some of the myths of having an art career.”

Carrico enjoyed the hands-on experience with art and the wide range of galleries and museums they visited throughout the Big Apple. “Each institution we visited had its own distinct character and unique offerings,” she said. “We had incredible opportunities to engage directly with archives, collections, and exhibitions in some major institutions. That level of access and interaction is invaluable for an art student.”

At the Brooklyn Museum, they met with Carmen Hermo, a 2007 alum and associate curator for the renowned Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. Art professor Brittany Nelson introduced them to gallery owners who specialized in photography. Lauren Marinaro, a 2004 alum, showed them potential pieces for acquisition at her gallery.

“Seeing how Richmond alumni have been able to thrive and make their mark was inspiring,” Carrico said.

The trip influenced the career plans of business major Felicia Chen, a senior from Queens, New York. “I love art and wanted to fully experience it before I head into the business world,” Chen said. “This trip ignited my interest in looking into graduate school for art administration after working for a few years in business.”

Students took notes as they visited seven commercial galleries, where Lampe and the curators had pre-selected potential acquisitions within their $15,000 budget. On the last day of the trip, the group met in a board room, as each student gave a presentation about one work that they thought should be acquired by the museum.

Carrico was among those who voted for the winning piece, “Ten Views of Famous Floral Places in Edo: Wisteria at Kemido,” a print by Japanese artist Kitagawa Utamaro, circa 1805.

“The print holds a special place in my heart,” Carrico said. “Something was enchanting about the vivid colors, exquisite detail, and overall beauty of the figure. As someone with a deep appreciation for Japanese woodblock prints, I was immediately captivated.” 

“We don't have any Japanese prints of the 19th century in our collection currently, so it's a great addition for exhibition purposes for teaching classes, and of course for student engagement,” said Lampe, who plans to unveil the print in the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art this fall.

The highlight of the trip for Lampe “was seeing the students eyes opened for the first time to the excitement of deciding how to think about building an art collection.”

She hopes the trip will become an annual event. “It would be wonderful as an alum to look back and know that the work that you added to your university's art collection is still there, still being enjoyed by current students.”