Meet the Dixon staff – Maria

Name: Maria Griffo

Position: Education Intern

College/University: SUNY Purchase College

How long have you worked at the Dixon? A month and a half

The best thing about living in Memphis is…… my church!

What famous artist (deceased or living) would you want to be for one day and why?  I would like to be Vincent Van Gogh, and only for one day, because I want to know what was going on in his mind just long enough to understand it, then be lucid enough to understand it after!

How old were you on your first visit to a museum (art, science history)? How did it shape your interest in museums?  

Oh goodness… super young.  I grew up in New York City and remember going to the Museum of Natural History when I was 5 or 6 for a field trip.  Field trips definitely shaped my interest in museums.  I loved getting out of the classroom to really experience the thing that prior to the trip was just two-dimensional or pictures in a book.  I especially loved my art class in high school that required us to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on our own and find plenty of famous paintings (most memorably David’s “Death of Socrates”) and reflect on them.  Since the Met was pay as you go anyway, I would use my school train pass, get up to the Met and pay whatever change was in my pockets to go see the treasures inside often.

Do you have any pets? If so, what are they and what are their names?

I grew up in a house full of pets but, tragically, for the first time in my life do not have pets due to landlord stipulations. 

What is your favorite piece in Jean-Louis Forain: La Comédie parisienne?

Relief in the Trenches, 1918.  Hands down.  The first time I saw it, I was transfixed.  I’ve never been to war, but something in it captures the fleeting nature of life and the scent of death on the battlefield.

What do you like most about working at the Dixon?

As an intern, seeing the inner workings of a non-profit has been wonderful, and that it is arts-based is even more spectacular.