“Q&A with…” is a series dedicated to introducing staff members to the Oberlin community. Is there someone you’d like to nominate? Please get in touch.
Walker Shadle ’19, curatorial assistant, works in the Allen Memorial Art Museum. In his role, Shadle assists Curator of Education Jill Greenwood and helps organize and lead tours of the museum for visitors, both K-12 and adults. He began working at the museum in July 2019.
Get to know more about Shadle in this Q&A.
Describe your role in six words.
Good with art; good with kids.
Where did you grow up?
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Definitely the plum-colored, velvety reclining chairs (with matching footrests) on the second floor of the Terrell Library, north side. I never was able to do any work there, but I did take some wonderful naps. My friend and I would call them the "princess chairs." Often I’d be at Decafé and she'd be in King, and I'd just text her “princess in five.”
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Stop bleaching your hair!
What's a word or expression that makes you laugh?
"Read 'em and weep." It's just so confrontational. It's like saying, "You're a fool, and you should cry about it. And by the way, I'd like to watch." Insane.
If you could have witnessed one event in history what would it be?
Judy at Carnegie Hall in April 23, 1961. Judy Garland had had a rough few years following a pretty difficult thirty-odd years of being alive, and everyone was curious to see if she could still sing. What she delivered has been called "the greatest night in show business history," and I am nothing short of irate that I wasn't there. If it's the only thing you do today, read "Over the Rainbow and Then Some," a May 2011 article in Vanity Fair by James Kaplan that vividly narrates the mood before the concert and includes reactions by Whoopi Goldberg, Barry Manilow, and Polly Bergen, who said that after that night, "she was queen again," referring to Garland. People nowadays have a narrow understanding of who Garland was and the enormous impact she has had on American culture. She's definitely a problematic fave, but a fascinating, impossibly glamorous character with a knack for the ol' razzle dazzle.
What’s your favorite item of clothing?
A vintage chore jacket I bought in San Francisco. It's 100% wool, warm, but pretty lightweight, and it cuts off right at my hips, which I like because I can wear it under or over things and the layers are still good. I also love that it looks handmade.
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