Rachel is a museum educator and museum adventurer based in New York City. She currently works at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as the Manager of Public Engagement, a role focused on free-with-admission experiences that can surprise visitors and make them think in new ways. She has also worked as an educator at other museums in New York (the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, the Met) and London (Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Courtauld Gallery), and run educational trips for teens around France with the American Council for International Studies. Her academic training is in art history and French (a BA from Wellesley College and an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art). If you have burning questions about French and British etiquette manuals and menswear tailoring magazines of the 1870s, she may well know the answer. In addition, Rachel has worked in other aspects of the art world including galleries and appraisals, so you might also get good stories if you ask her about the time she held a lost Leonardo da Vinci painting or had to figure out how much Marilyn Monroe’s wardrobe was worth. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter as @TheArtRopeik or at her website: www.rachelropeik.com
Born in England but raised in Amherst, MA, John is a specialist in modern and contemporary art history and is always especially excited to share his knowledge of these fields. He received a PhD from Emory University in 2015. His dissertation analyzes new art forms that emerged in the 1960s. From 2015-2017, he was a postdoctoral curatorial fellow at the National Gallery of Art. He has taught at Harvard University, the Pratt Institute, the Fashion Institute of Technology, George Washington University, and UMass. Whether offering introductory surveys or specialized graduate courses, he always leads classes on visits to area art galleries and museums. John is the author of articles in various peer-reviewed journals and has delivered papers and lectures at a range of institutions, including the National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Princeton University, and Harvard. Additionally, he was the recipient of major fellowships from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the American Council of Learned Societies/Henry Luce Foundation. Prior to graduate school, John taught English in Salamanca, Spain. He offers tours in Spanish and is accustomed to interactions with non-native speakers of English.
Laura O’Connor is a practicing artist and the program manager for Context North America. A recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship, Laura’s work has focused on language acquisitions through visual and performance art. Laura earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Art degree from Florida State University, where she graduated with honors and a minor in European Art History. Along with her time spent with the Fulbright Commission in Madrid, Spain, she has also studied at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Valencia Spain, worked as an assisting artist in Copenhagen, Denmark, and spent 3 years working between Florida and the Peruvian Amazon documenting traditional Kokama ceramic art history.