AEMM Graduate Student - Visual Arts Management
What is your particular area of interest?
My area of interest lies within the intersection of visual arts management (both in the non-profit and for-profit sectors), curating and art history.
What projects are you currently working on or have you done recently?
I am presently working on three major projects. I am curating an art exhibition in the HOKIN Gallery, which I originally conceived of in the AEMM Curatorial Practicum. I am also assisting Dr. Amy Mooney (A+D Art History professor) and Neysa Page-Lieberman (Director & Curator of the Department of Exhibitions, Performance and Student Spaces) with their exhibition, RISK: Empathy, Art, and Social Practice. I am also the graduate coordinator for the College Art Association Planning Committee here at Columbia. I am very invested in each of these projects and look forward to seeing them fully realized. However, out of these three projects, I have spent close to a year now developing my exhibition.
As part of the HOKIN Gallery Management Practicum, I count on the assistance of eight very bright and talented students, who have taken the lead on various aspects of this exhibition. It was very important to me that I made an effort to avoid micro managing. I wanted my classmates to have a voice in the decision making process in order to create a more meaningful experience for them as well, where they felt they had ownership of the project. In addition to each of the students contributing an interpretive text for some of the pieces in the exhibition, I made the decision to divide the class into four teams: Curatorial, Education, Design and Install, and Marketing. In this manner, we divided and conquered the workload that lay ahead of us and came together as a team to prepare the gallery space and install the artwork.
I am incredibly grateful for the amount of support and assistance I’ve received from Columbia faculty and staff in the process of developing this exhibition. This includes people from the AEMM Department, DEPS, Office of the President, Art + Activism, Center for Book and Paper Arts, and a couple of Administrative Offices.
Interlacing Threads: Traditional Techniques | Contemporary Perspectives presents the work of seven artists who fuse traditional fiber techniques with unconventional materials to achieve complex work that lies beyond the decorative. Their work helps sustain a connection to cultural history and identity and forges a greater understanding of the similar underpinnings of worldwide cultures and common social issues. This exhibition is scheduled to run January 27 through March 7, 2014, with an opening reception on February 13, 2014.
How have your classes helped to prepare you for your venture?
This is an easy question. Developing and producing this exhibition allowed me to implement many of the things I’ve learned as part of my graduate studies. Thanks for Professor Elizabeth Ryan’s course on Leadership in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management I felt more prepared to oversee the team of undergraduate students who collaborated with me on this project. A budget for this exhibition also had to be created and expenses closely monitored. When developing an exhibition, one must identify an audience early on in the process, so I definitely leaned on some of the things we learned in our marketing courses for this – especially when selecting the appropriate venue for the show. Furthermore, Professor Dawn Larsen’s Arts, Media and the Law course better equipped me to address inquiries from the artists regarding their contracts and the use of imagery of their work for marketing purposes. I also counted on a great mentor throughout this project, and that is Professor Robert Blandford. From him I learned a great deal about project and time management, as well as the importance of keeping one’s audience in mind throughout the various stages of making an exhibition.
What is a bit of wisdom or inspiration that you have received in the AEMM program that has inspired or guided you?
Be passionate about what you do. Work hard. If you fail, try again. Do not be afraid to ask questions, nor for help. Keep an open mind and collaborate with others in different disciplines. And something I learned from Professor Moreland - take risks!
Where do you see this project going in five years?
While a year may seem like sufficient time to develop an exhibition, sometimes it isn’t. I would like to revisit this exhibition in the future and have it travel to a different location in the country. Exhibitions are about telling a story, they can be edited and/or further developed, and in this case, I can see more room for growth and more research.