Jennifer Cecere talks about her work with students

Jennifer Cecere: Artist-in-Residence

What/whom do we elevate and what/whom do we overlook? How do legacies show up in our daily lives, in ways we may normally fail to notice? How can we honor overlooked legacies?

Jennifer Cerere, Women's Work (installation view), 2024
Jennifer Cerere, Women's Work (installation view), 2024
Jennifer Cecere, Abbot Doily Bench (installation view), 2024
Jennifer Cecere, Abbot Doily Bench (installation view), 2024

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Abbot Academy and Phillips Academy becoming a single institution, on- and off-campus communities have been considering these questions in response to artist Jennifer Cecere’s (AA 1969) two site-specific installations. Long associated with the Pattern and Decoration movement, which challenged hierarchies by referencing marginalized artistic traditions like quilting, metalwork, and needlework, Cecere is best known for bold pieces that embrace and reimagine the domestic doily. With these two installations—one adorning the Addison façade and the other enlivening the Abbot Circle—the humble lace ornament takes on a much larger role activating public space and challenging traditional perspectives on “women’s work.”

Following a week on campus overseeing installation of her work, the Addison was fortunate to host Jennifer for a second week during which she served as Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence and met with a wide variety of classes and groups. Phillips Academy’s history course Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies examined her work in the context of gender roles and hierarchy, while Painting and Visual Studies talked about artistic process and the contrast between private work in the studio and the collaborative work required for public installations. Art and Activism talked about the impact of public-facing artwork and the power of art to effect change, while the English course Hybrid Forms: Genre Non-Conforming Art talked about artwork and literature that refuses categorization. Jennifer gathered with students and faculty at a dinner hosted by the Brace Center for Gender Studies, and later in the week joined a student-facilitated dessert discussion. 

Conversations extended beyond campus as well, as Jennifer met with teachers from Andover High School and hosted museum visitors for artmaking at Addison Late ‘til 8, the Addison’s open evening hours.

Jennifer’s week culminated on Sunday with the Abbot Bazaar, celebrating 50 years of Abbot and Phillips Academies moving forward together. Amidst food trucks, pie eating contests, and student performances, attendees collaboratively responded to Jennifer’s work, decorating readymade doilies with markers, colored paper, yarn, newspaper, and more and then collaging their work onto larger 4’ x 4’ laser cut doily-shaped boards on display.

Those who missed the opportunity to hear Jennifer talk about her body of work and her site-specific installations on campus are invited to watch the recording of her virtual discussion with Andover’s Memorial Hall Library, and visit campus this summer to experience her work in person.

The Addison’s Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence program plays an important role in the museum’s exhibition and education programming, energetically supporting contemporary art by bringing established and emerging artists to campus. Every year, artists are invited to produce new work in the Visiting Artist Studio, exhibit in the galleries, give public talks, collaborate with students, and/or lead discussions with students from Phillips Academy and surrounding communities. Residencies range in duration from a few days to a series of short visits, to several months. The Addison residency program began in 1946 with Charles Sheeler and continued informally until 1982 when it was endowed through the generosity of Phillips Academy alumnus Edward E. Elson, class of 1952. 

Images: Students and visitors meet with Jennifer Cecere to learn about her career, view her new site-specific installations, and create their own works of art

Addison Artist Council logo

Bartlett H. Hayes Prize Recipients


Reggie Burrows Hodges

Exhibition | Residency | Publication | Acquisition


Tommy Kha

Exhibition | Residency | Publication | Acquisition