Q: What is your title, and what are your responsibilities here at the National Portrait Gallery?
A: My title is major gifts officer, and I am responsible for working with individual donors to raise support for our exhibitions, conservation work, acquisitions, and our inspiring education programs.
Q: What is your background/training for your current position?
A: I studied art history, studio art, and education for my undergraduate degree in art education at Buffalo State College. After being certified as an art teacher and working at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami, I went on for my master’s in museum studies at New York University. Through this program I did an internship in corporate development at the Guggenheim Museum, which led me to be hired in the museum’s Major Gifts/Individual Development Office. I started in my current role at the Portrait Gallery in December of 2012.
Q: Do you have a favorite portrait in the collection?
A: Nam June Paik’s video portrait of Allen Ginsberg. This video is an excerpt from Global Grooveand on view in the “Contemporary Americans” exhibition on our third floor. Paik was a pioneer and changed what art could be made out of. The colors, appearance of the technology he used in 1973, and meditative quality of the work are just fantastic.
My other favorite is Buffalo Milk Yogurt (below) by contemporary artist Jennifer Levonian, which is extremely creative and humorous! This work is on view in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2013 on the second floor through February 23, 2014. Levonian’s digital video animation is not a part of our permanent collection, so if there is anyone out there who would be willing to help make this acquisition, please let me know!
Q: Can you tell our readers about a favorite moment here at NPG?
A: My favorite moments tend to be following an exhibition tour, talk by a guest speaker, or visit to our conservation lab, when I can tell that my guests have been inspired, learned something new, and feel a connection with the works of art and the history on our walls.