Every year it's a difficult choice to select mentees for the year. All of you who applied had great things to say, moving stories to relate and tough but fascinating questions to discuss. It takes me a long time and usually another pair of eyes to help me puzzle through. Thank you all who applied!
It gives me great pleasure to announce this year's two mentees: Tadia Lynch of New York City and Jeanne Rank of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Tadia completed an exhibition -specialized, MBA in Arts and Cultural Management and since then has worked with both private and non-profit arts organizations with a focus on program development, audience engagement, and arts access. She is now Department Coordinator for International Programs at the Fashion Institute of Technology, helping to support her greater goal of advancing the Caribbean Arts Community through web-based platforms.
I ask different questions every year, but always love asking about a childhood creative act. Tadia's was "a story pop up book that I illustrated and narrated the fictional story of a flying fish." This year I also asked about a memorable museum experience of the past year. Tadia's was the Charles White Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. She wrote, "The works were moving and illustrative of a dynamic experience as a POC. However, it was particularly memorable to me because of the interactions between visitors and the works."
What big questions will we be talking about this year? Here's what Tadia's interested in:
- How to grow an audience that is emotionally and mentally invested in a museum’s mission?
- How to serve and create a dialogue with a broader audience?
- How to ethically present polarizing topics in a non-biased way?
- How to not be passive, but to stimulate a greater conversation?
Jeanne Rank has spent more than 15 years working in museums curating exhibitions, learning activities, and new strategies and is now working as a senior curator at the Danish Architecture Center in Copenhagen.
Her creative activity intrigued me:
As a child, I loved all kinds of aesthetic expressions and sciences, however my most creative experience is possibly the day I realized that I could design my own life. I used to live in a quite dysfunctional family and as a child I didn't understand much but was shy and insecure, and often bullied. When I was 11, we moved to another part of the country, and I realized that this was my chance to define myself in a completely new way. So, I did: I decided that I was an outgoing, strong person, and that changed life and led me to where I am now: as the first in my family I have earned a university degree and built an exciting career, I created my own beliefs about parenthood and have a wonderful family, and overall, created a life where I keep learning and also give back by mentoring others. Of course, life is not always easy, but I always have my core belief that we can design our life and future.Jeanne's best museum experience of last year: The exhibition 'The Future Starts Here' at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. "
I loved this show as it was designed to help people to actively reflect over their own part in designing the future today. Not only it was the theme of the exhibition, but I really liked how the curators/museum succeeded in engaging people’s minds and this way transform an exhibition into learning and action. I think that the ideal for museums and exhibitions of the future must be creating transformational experiences that engage people in reflecting over their own personal role and this way connect to every day and the future. What I also loved was the interdisciplinarity of the objects - hereby embracing the complexity of the world, the connection to the self and the world.Jeanne posed one big question about her own museum that will lead to many others.
How can I help the organization Danish Architecture Center (DAC) I work for develop into the international museum-center they would like to become? Museums have a special ability to embrace and unite all people and connect the past with our future in the presence. This leads us hopefully to discuss how we can help present museums to design not only their own future, but also to take part in designing the future for all of us.
Tadia and Jeanne will each be writing a blog post this year, so you'll be hearing more directly from them. And again, many, many thanks to all of you who shared the mentorship post, and even more to those who took the time to apply. You all inspire me!