Museum Manager at 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City.
What was/is your area of study? (Essentially, what department did you get your graduate degree in and what was your specialization)
I received a Master of Fine Art degree in 2013 with an emphasis in Painting. I received my Bachelor of Fine Art from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2004 with an emphasis in Ceramics – so while I was a grad student in Painting at KU, I was also a teaching assistant in Ceramics.
Although my degrees are in studio art, I currently do not have a studio practice. Many of the skills I gained and people I met while in graduate school have aided in my career as an arts administrator.
What is your current career or position title?
Currently, I am the Museum Manager at 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City.
As North America’s only multi-venue museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting art of the 21st century, 21c Museum brings a new cultural resource to the city’s vibrant art scene. From rotating, curated exhibitions, to site-specific installations and cultural programming, 21c Museum offers the local and traveling community unprecedented access to the work of some of today’s emerging artists. We are free and open to the public 365 days/year. Always. Also, I provide guided museum tours every WED + FRI at 5pm.
What do you do?
I wear many hats in this position that range from administrator, public speaker, art handler, docent and more. My main focus is sharing 21c’s mission and the current exhibition with the public and guests of the hotel/restaurant. Our exhibitions change out about every 10 months, so I am constantly learning and sharing knowledge about contemporary art. The current exhibition, titled OFF-SPRING: New Generations is at its heart about ritual and tradition. 21c Chief Curator, Alice Gray Stites explains, “Exploring the development of both personal and group identity, childhood, family, history, and gender politics, these artworks employ iconographic imagery to reveal how we learn to live, love, work, and dream in the 21st century. At the wedding altar, in the family home, or in the classroom, within the fantasy of childhood play or the familiarity of adult habits, these new, old narratives generate a spectrum of meditations on the contemporary construction of self and society.”
In addition to all the responsibilities associated with the exhibition, I curate the Elevate Program which showcases local and regional artists. This offers travelling guests an idea of the Kansas City art scene while providing valuable exposure for our local talent.
Planning Cultural programming is another important aspect of my job. All museum events are FREE and open to the public! These events include live artist performances, film screenings, panel discussions and artist talks.
For a listing of upcoming events at 21c Kansas City you can check our Facebook page.
What advice do you have for current graduate students?
Leave no stone unturned while you are at the university. This is your opportunity to explore in every direction. While learning will never end throughout your life…this time, right now, you have time and resources at your disposal in a way you may never have again. The creative process thrives on exploration and discipline and these two things you have the ability to utilize to the fullest now.