Kalea George-Phillips ’25 Explores Her Passions for Art History and Visual Arts

5 min read

Hannah Lorenzo ’24

Arts & Entertainment Editor

Kalea George-Phillips ’25 builds upon her studies as an art history and French major and architectural studies minor to enrich the arts at Trinity College. With the diversity of Trinity’s programs and organizations for student artists, George-Phillips takes advantage of every opportunity she can to create her art.

Since high school, George-Phillips continues to invest in her exploration of art history. Through Trinity’s Art History Department, she studies a variety of topics to keep in her artistic toolbox. “In my freshman year at Trinity, I took two art history classes, one on medieval art history and another on modern architecture,” George-Phillips said. “So when deciding what I wanted to focus on, I thought art history would be a good fit for me. I really enjoy it, and I realize that there is such a wide range of things that I could be learning.”

Her minor in architectural studies enables her to do a little more sightseeing and expand her interests on the subjects that she leans toward. George-Phillips said, “I would not say I necessarily have a favorite, but I do like to look at the artistic side of architecture because I think sometimes it is overlooked. We look at a building, but it is so much more than that.”

George-Phillips finds a personal interest in the visual arts. As a painter, she is skilled with oil and canvas. With her canvas and tools in hand, she is up to the challenge of trying out new techniques for her current projects. George-Phillips said, “Right now, I am working with watercolor, which I have not done in a while. It is a lot of fun. It is a process, but it is the easiest to carry around. I have a little set that I can put in my bag.”

While tailoring her coursework to fit her artistic goals, George-Phillips is a member of student-led arts organizations. “With the classes that I have been able to take at Trinity, there has been a wide range of opportunities and learning, even in classes I would not necessarily think to take. I have learned a lot,” George-Phillips said. “In terms of organizations, there is an architectural club [Trinity Architecture] on campus that was founded last year that I am a part of that gets to talk about different things within the architectural world, also with interior design.

During this time, she also joined the E-Board for Nest Artists, where she found a supportive arts community to share her work in the visual arts and art history. “It is great to be able to collaborate with other artists on campus, especially since Trinity is not an art school,” George-Phillips said. “To be able to connect with different clubs and affinity groups, to have art projects on campus, and to bring art to campus is great. I think it was really helpful for me to have an outlet where I could also collaborate with other people.”

George-Phillips adds that Nest Artists not only expands the visualization of student art on campus but is also open for everyone to celebrate local achievements in the arts. “I really enjoy all of the different activities that we get to do, like the art market. We started to sell stuff, which is great, and collaborate with other people. Even people who are not in Nest Artists but who create art is fantastic,” George-Phillips said.

This year, she is studying abroad in Paris, France, a city that provides her with an international perspective of art history and a new artistic environment to explore. George-Phillips said, “It is nice to be able to take the things that I have learned over the past couple of years through Trinity’s Art History Department and see them in real life. Put everything I have learned into practice.”

Her canvas can travel in many directions as she integrates her artistic skills and knowledge from Trinity into Paris. “I think finding a cafe where you could sit outside and sketch is perfect. I would not say any specific area. There is always so much to see, so you could really go anywhere,” George-Phillips said.

Along with these opportunities, she also faced artistic challenges while in Paris, but that has not stopped her from pursuing her goals as a student artist. George-Phillips said, “I have hit a little bit of an artist’s block last semester, but I am slowly getting back into it, which is fun and just creating in general and having those creations be a part of student life at Trinity.”

When she arrives back on campus for her senior year, George-Phillips aims to advance her studies with the help of her arts research abroad. “I have been creating more. I definitely want to get a snapshot of my experience here in Paris to bring back to Hartford, and hopefully I can broaden that,” George-Phillips said. “I am not in any major studio arts classes at Trinity, but I would like to expand on my work.”

George-Phillips reflects on how the diversity of artistic expression offers her a distinctive way of approaching her academic, career, and personal passions. She explains that “You can get such a different perspective through art, whether that be painting or sculpture or music. You want to be able to experience the world in different ways.”

As a Black artist in particular, she speaks of Black representation on campus with a positive outlook and plans to continue being part of a local arts community that promotes diversity and inclusivity.

“At a school like Trinity, where the population is majority white, it is nice to see different identities being highlighted and communicated,” George-Phillips said. “So, to be able to create art and share my art at Trinity is really nice because it shows a different part of Trinity’s campus.

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