Posted by Cindy Bracker, Communications Director
Where do you currently live/work
What do you like most about your job? OR What do you like most about where you live?
I have the good fortune of spending my days (and plenty of nights) in the company of more than 40,000 great works of art from 4,000 years ago to today, and from every continent except Antarctica. The thing I love most about my work as public programs and visitor experience manager for the Museum, is the opportunity to create interpretive programs and events that activate our exhibitions and collections and open new pathways for understanding art. Ok, two things—and I love watching the alchemy that happens when visitors engage deeply with a work of art. To quote Goldilocks, Kansas City is “just right”. With 2 million people and being right in the middle of the country, it’s a great home base with a disproportionately awesome cultural arts community relative to the population. Not too cold, not too hot, with four beautiful seasons. I think the yellow brick road in Wizard of Oz refers to the golden leaves that blanket the area at this time of year (check out this photo of my neighbor’s house!)
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Virginia, lived in Tehran until 1979, but spent my school years in Houston. Houston will always be home—the whole family is there.
What was your childhood nickname?
Can you keep a secret? With two brothers towering over me, I was always on the smaller side (but never the quietest one) and my dad called me “mouse”. Whenever he travels, I’m sure to receive another mouse-themed tchotchke.
How did you first find out about NCECA?
I moved to KC in March 2002, the same week that NECECA was last in Kansas City. We moved into a house just a few steps from the Ceramics Building at KCAI and had no idea what was going on, but there were people everywhere, exhibitions all over town, and an energy that made me feel so excited about moving to this new city where we didn’t know a soul. NCECA welcomed me to my new home. It made a lasting impression on me and is the reason I am serving as on-site co-liaison alongside Paul Donnelly.
I would count KC 2002 as my first conference, even though I only saw one or two exhibitions. I was fortunate to attend Providence so I could meet NCECA members and see how the many pieces of the NCECA conference puzzle fit together. Fun fact: shortly before attending NCECA, my longtime boyfriend and I got engaged and he gave me the most extraordinary ring with three interlocking bands: one with stones, one that’s white gold–and the third is black ceramic. So, my involvement with NCECA is kismet!
What’s your favourite color?
Indigo! It’s such a tactile color.
What or who inspired you to get involved more deeply in the organization, and what was your “entry point” to the board
The Pauls: Paul Donnelly and Paul Sacaridiz. But I also had an opportunity to work with Teri Frame on a project a couple years ago that I count as a career highlight. I am not an artist or directly connected to the ceramics community, but I love ceramics for the same reason I love indigo: it’s tactile and intimate and has such a rich and storied history.
Describe your position with NCECA
I’m the on-site co-liason which means I joined the board a year before the conference, and will step down after Kansas City. The on-sites are involved in selecting, siting and gathering information about the many exhibitions that will be on view during the conference. You’ll have nearly 100 exhibitions across greater Kansas City and Lawrence to enjoy. We also assist with aspects of the bus tours, the Collectors Tour, the Randall Session, and other duties as assigned : )
What’s your favourite thing about being on the board?
Just as NCECA welcomed me to Kansas City back in 2002, the board welcomed me as if I was an old friend. I am continually impressed and touched by the spirit of generosity and support that the NCECA board and its members share with one another and have extended to me. I’ve also learned a great deal about board operations and I’ve marveled at the ways the director and board members have modeled leadership and so thoughtfully built consensus.
What’s your favorite part of your specific position?
NCECA is so much more than a conference in a convention center, it is a community-wide celebration of clay in the truest sense and rallying our colleagues to participate in and extend that celebration is thrilling. And what could be more stirring that cooking up plans for the Randall Session?
Who are some of your mentors, and how have they shaped you as a person/artist? (both in and out of the organization/field)
My grandmothers are up there on the highest pedestal of champions. I found a great mentor in Greg Stevens, associate director of professional development at the American Alliance of Museums. He’s a force and good friend who is full of crazy ideas and sage advice.
I’m not an artist, but my fiancée is a photographer, so I get to see the world through his lens.
What’s your favourite ice cream flavor?
Fred and Ginger. It’s molasses, gingersnap, and vanilla, and I get a personal phone call from the creamery when they make a new batch. I’m also on the call list for carrot cake.
If you were a glaze, which one would you be and why?
Shino. It’s the first glaze I used in my college ceramics class. Is there an indigo glaze?