Summer Conservation And Maintenance Program



Meet Cambridge Arts’ Conservation Art Maintenance Program (CAMP) team from 2021:

Daniel Carlson-Strom
Daniel Carlson-Strom

Art Conservation Technician
Worked with Cambridge Arts during summers since 2019

Work experience:
The most interesting job was actually an internship at Plimoth Patuxet (formally known as Plimoth Plantation). I interned on the native side and learned so much about the Wampanoag people. I was the first intern ever to go on a bark trip to collect bark for the wetu that Plimoth was building. I’ve worked with Cambridge Arts for three years now. From 2019 to present. It’s been a blast, everyone on the team is incredible and works well together.

Skills (specialties, super powers, secret talents, etc.):
I guess one of my skill sets is baking. During quarantine, I spent those months baking desserts. Chocolate cake, scones, strawberry crisp, peach cobbler, apple pie, etc.

Are you an artist?
As a matter of fact, I am not an artist. My mother and brother are, but I am not. I have helped install and take down galleries in the past but as for creating art, it’s not my thing.

Favorite public artwork(s) in the Cambridge collection?
My favorite public artwork is the huge desk by Mags Harries at Longfellow Elementary School. Makes me feel like I'm a kid again and I'm on the Magic School Bus when it shrinks.

Daniel Carlson-Strom
Joseph Carlson-Strom

Conservation and Maintenance Technician
Worked with Cambridge Arts during summers since 2018

Work experience:
Before Cambridge Arts, I was an installer for the SMFA. I would transport the graduate students’ thesis work to the gallery and assist with individual installations. I’ve also worked as a western swing dance instructor.

Skills (specialties, super powers, secret talents, etc.):
I have too many to list but here are a few: Voted #1 Cambridge Arts van DJ three years running, swing dancer, rock climber, super strength, grill master, can beat anyone at “Mario Kart,” master waxer and buffer, just #1 overall, and finally aspiring professional kite flyer.

Are you an artist?
Outside of work I’m a freelance composer and art handler/installer. For the music work I compose guitar pieces and occasionally perform my original music for public art projects and performances In Montana. As for the art side I install shows for a number of art galleries and also ship/transport work across the country.

Favorite public artwork(s) in the Cambridge collection?
My favorite piece in the collection would be “Light Shadow: MLK” by Christopher Janney at the MLK elementary school. It’s a wall filled with LEDs, speakers and over 200 sensors. The sensors are activated when you walk by causing the LEDs to light up while a wide range of chimes and sounds play through the speakers. I’m a huge fan of interactive work. It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to physically move and interact with sound installations.

What is something you learned about a public artwork in the Cambridge collection by working on it? Something that people may not know just from looking at it?
I’ve learned an incredible amount about Cambridge while working in and around the public but one experience sticks out to me. While working on the piece “Pole Climbers” at the Columbia Street park, a man approached me and asked if I knew what the sculpture was about. I replied that I actually didn't know, and he told me his story about growing up here in Cambridge and playing the sport this sculpture honors. This sport was pole/mast climbing where kids and local residents would climb a 12-foot-tall greased pole competitively. The whole community would get together, cook food and watch these competitions. I hope these interactions happen again in the near future.

Michelle Heeman
Michelle Heeman

Conservation Technician
Worked with Cambridge Arts during the summers of 2019 and 2021

Work experience:
As an archaeologist specializing in the ancient Mediterranean world, I have worked on excavations in the Middle East for several years now, primarily in Jordan and Israel, but I have also worked in North America. While archaeology is most of what I do, I also have training in museum studies and art conservation. I have worked as an archival and curatorial intern at both my undergraduate university and at my hometown's historical society, and in 2017, I interned at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, in the ceramics, stone, and glass objects laboratory. Most recently, I have trained in photogrammetry and 3-D modeling as an assistant to my research adviser at Brandeis University, which I am excited to bring to my work with museum objects and artwork in the future!

Skills:
Artifacts care, objects photography, photogrammetry and 3-D modeling, and, of course, digging!

Specialties, super powers, secret talents, etc.:
I make a mean shakshuka!

Are you an artist?
No, I don't consider myself an artist, but as an archaeologist, I often work with ancient objects and artworks both on-site and in the lab.

Favorite public artwork(s) in the Cambridge collection?
My favorite public artworks in the collection are the Japanese-inspired sculptures at the Franklin Street Park near Harvard Square.

Nichole Speciale
Nichole Speciale

Collections Care Specialist
Worked with Cambridge Arts since 2016

Work experience:
I've worked on many art conservation projects in the Boston area including cleaning the Lilli Ann Rosenberg mosaic in the Park Street Green Line Station, restoring the “Beat the Belt” mural on the Micro Center, treating the Nicole Eisenman bronzes in front of the Landmark Center (now 401Park) and cleaning and in painting the Tony Smith sculpture at MIT. In addition to my work at Cambridge Arts, I do book preservation for the Brandeis Library and have a small illustration business called Yellow Ochre Studio.

Skills (specialties, super powers, secret talents, etc.):
The Cambridge Arts team tells me my superpower is parallel parking, I think I can concur. To add to that, I am great with a spreadsheet, I am a good cook, and I just became a Master Gardener in the state of Rhode Island.

Are you an artist?
I am a visual artist and I have a wide variety of artwork that spans from landscape collage to embroidery and sewing to sound. I'm a little behind on website updates, but you can get a sense of past projects here: https://www.nicholelizspeciale.com/ and I often post newer work on my instagram: @nicholelizspeciale.

Favorite public artwork(s) in the Cambridge collection?
“Salmones Salari (The Great Leaper),” a fountain by Andreas Von Huene in Lowell School Park, because it creates such a wonderful quiet spot to contemplate, and Ellen Driscoll's “Filament/Firmament” at Cambridge Public Library because of the way she uses weaving and sewing on a large scale to represent women's historic contribution to civic life, an idea that relates closely to my own artwork.

What is something you learned about a public artwork in the Cambridge collection by working on it? Something that people may not know just from looking at it?
In the past few years, I have learned a lot about Mierle Laderman Ukeles' piece “Turnaround/Surround” on the top of the hill at Danehy Park. Mierle's work often calls attention to the unseen labor in municipalities, like trash collection. Danehy, as many know, used to be a landfill, so in the path that runs through the piece at the top of the hill Mierle embeds bits of glass collected from Cambridge recycling to create an upgraded asphalt path and call attention to what lies below the park. She also worked with the city arborist to choose specific grass plantings that signal landscape regeneration and aromatic flowers and herbs to remediate the smell of garbage that stood for so long.

Mary T. Vigliotti
Mary T. Vigliotti

Principle Staff Assistant by day and Contract Conservator by night
Worked with Cambridge Arts summers of 2018 and 2021

Work experience:
I love working with Cambridge Arts! We have a great team of people! I have also been lucky enough to work with museums/private conservators both in the US and UK. My pre-program conservation experience was working with arms and armor at the Higgins Armory Museum, which is now part of the Worcester Art Museum. That experience was very special, and was my introduction to the field.

Skills (specialties, super powers, secret talents, etc.):
I went to graduate school for conservation in England, with a focus on ceramics, glass, and stone.

Are you an artist?
I studied studio art in undergrad, although my focus has shifted since then, I still love taking out my camera and making pottery.

Favorite public artwork(s) in the Cambridge collection?
Too many to choose from! I do love the Igor Fokin Memorial.

What is something you learned about a public artwork in the Cambridge collection by working on it? Something that people may not know just from looking at it?
I think the best part of treating public art is that you’re placed in the community, and you’re working in neighborhoods. It gives the opportunity to speak with people in that area who may approach you while working, and starts a dialogue about community art.