Greater Reston Arts Center’s new executive director and curator talks West versus East Coast art scenes, moving exhibits and more.
What drew you into the art world?
I grew up in Los Angeles, really in and around the local museums. My parents were always avid supporters of the arts and had many artist friends. I don’t remember ever not being engaged in the arts. In fact, I keep a picture on my dresser of my first art opening—in the picture, my mom is posing next to a friend’s work, so pregnant with me. I was practically born into it.
Do you see a difference in the West Coast versus East Coast art world?
There may be a difference in the level of support that artists receive and the attention they are able to garner, but I consider it my responsibility to change that conversation. There is good art everywhere, even between the coasts. We should be supporting the arts wherever an artist is working.
What is your plan for continuing the Destination GRACE vision?
Every exhibition, every education and public program and the Northern Virginia Arts Festival should be a destination-worthy experience. I want to deepen the trust that the community already has in GRACE so that they will look forward to and make the effort to visit us whether they recognize the artist or not.
How do you measure the success of an exhibit?
An exhibition is successful if the audience responds. Hopefully the response will be positive, but it’s also OK if sometimes it’s not, if it makes you feel a little uncomfortable or you’re pushed to question things. Art is supposed to inspire thinking, and everyone is entitled to their own thoughts. On a very personal level, I am always thrilled when the artists participating in the exhibition are happy with it. Hearing their responses and engaging with visitors always reinforces my commitment to what I do.
Neighborhood: Mount Pleasant, Washington, D.C.
Favorite art form: I love them all but have been getting deep into painting with my research on Moira Dryer, a painter active in New York in the late ’80s/early ’90s.
Book you’re reading now: I admit this sheepishly: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t by Jim Collins. This book came to my attention recently, and it seemed apropos.
Last exhibit that moved you: I loved the Robert Irwin exhibition at the Hirshhorn. It was small but mighty.
If you weren’t in the career you’re in now, what would you be doing: I think it would be fun to work for a foundation and give away money to deserving causes. But, truthfully, I can’t imagine really doing anything other than what I am. I love my career.