Alice Tangerini (BFA ’72) has been working as a botanical illustrator at the Smithsonian for nearly 50 years. Her work was featured in three different exhibitions last year, and she serves as curator of the National Museum of Natural History’s Catalog of Botanical Art. Recently, VCU News included Tangerini’s successful career among a list of alumni “putting their degrees to work.”
As a botanical illustrator, Tangerini creates drawings and paintings of dried plant specimens from all over the world based on microscopic-level examination of their features. The purpose of the illustrations is to enable botanists to identify plants and to support their research. Tangerini’s artistic expression shines through but always in service to scientific accuracy.
Though there aren’t many job openings for botanical illustrators in a museum setting, Tangerini broke in through a tip from a neighboring Smithsonian botanist willing to take a chance on an unknown.