On May 4, the Brooklyn Museum’s staff show opened to a group of staff, family and friends. Though the show is not open to the public, the wonder of Flickr makes it possible for visitors to see some of the works on exhibit, and also for me to talk to you about them.
Photos of Staff Show by Trish Mayo.
One of the great parts of working in an art museum is how many fine artists come out of the woodwork for events such as this. There were pieces by artists who work in conservation, collections management, digital collections, curatorial, public information, visitor services, education, audio/visual, and more. Some pieces came from the artist’s “other life” as a painter or sculptor but some, such as Digital Ikebana by Anita Cruz-Eberhard (Digital Collections and Services) fused these two lives and, as a result, made me see their museum job in a whole new light. Ms. Cruz-Eberhard uses the same skills to produce her own work and to help the museum archive ours. She also shows internationally and has a BFA. She’s a great example of yet another career that I can now tell young art students to consider.
Another option for young artists might be to think about a job in education. Jeremiah Jones, a Teaching Artist in the Brooklyn Museum’s Gallery/Studio Program, contributed Sewing Table, a multimedia sculpture piece that fuses video, textiles, and sculpture. Jeremiah also taught a fall 2010 course in moving art and animation in which a class of 8-10 year olds created original stop-motion animations with drawings and found objects. It was on exhibition last semester in the education gallery, but (yea technology!) can still be found on the Museum’s Gallery/Studio facebook page.
Museum employees need not be fine artists, or even art history buffs, but for those who are the museum is an ideal place to work. You are constantly fed new ideas in the form of special and permanent exhibitions. For example I’ve returned to the Nkishi Power Figure in the Arts of Africa Exhibition many times, thinking about wrapped sculptures. In my “other life” as an artist I work mostly with fabric, but I’ve also worked with metal and clay sculpture and, if Nkishi stays there for me to pass on my way to get my morning coffee, I will probably end up fusing the media again.
Someday I will get around to my new project of googling all our staff artists and looking at their web pages, but for now I’m just happy to see their work up on the walls.
Maya Valladares, Gallery/Studio Coordinator, joined the Museum in 2008. She has worked as a studio teacher, a museum educator, a community organizer, and a freelance artist. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MA from Hunter College. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and she is thankful that she works in a museum where new ideas and inspiration never run dry.