Career Night for the Arts Alumni Feature: Lauren Pollock ’07, Gallery Director

by Rachel Lee

Meet Lauren Pollock from the BC class of 2007! Pollock is currently the Gallery Director of the Leila Heller Gallery in New York City (read more about the Gallery, with locations in New York and Dubai, here).

Career Night for the Arts 2016! Come join us on Thursday, November 16th between 7:00pm – 8:30pm in the Heights Room to meet tons of BC alumni working in the arts to network, ask questions, and get advice about developing your own creative career! Check out the Arts Council Career Night for the Arts website for more info, or look at the Facebook event page! This event is a collaborative endeavor between the Arts Council, the Career Center, and the Alumni Association, bringing together all of BC’s best resources to help BC students turn their creativity into a career. You can also read the bios of all of the attending alumni here. 

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Lauren Pollock graduated from Boston College in 2007, with a degree in Art History. She continued her graduate studies at Hunter College in New York City, and completed a 6-month internship at The Jewish Museum where she assisted with the exhibition Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater1919-1949. Currently she is Director of Leila Heller Gallery, an art gallery specializing in contemporary international art with locations in New York City and Dubai. There she oversees the gallery’s ambitious exhibition and art fair programme, manages artist relationships, and helps to organize numerous off-site projects. Currently she is serving as the editor of a forthcoming book on the work of Shiva Ahmadi, to be published in 2017.

What is your most memorable art-related experience at BC and could you describe what you learned from it? 

Definitely the many afternoons spent at the MFA [Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]! It is so wonderful that the Art Department at BC takes advantage of having so many amazing museums and institutions at its fingertips. The time I spent engaging directly with works of art for coursework was immensely inspiring and a driving force behind my decision to pursue a career in the arts.

In today’s fast-changing art world, what are some of the biggest changes you have witnessed during your career? 

The accessibility to art, or more specifically to images of art. Art enthusiasts, collectors and the general public now have vast resources for viewing art online and via social media. Already just in the number of years that I have been working in the gallery world, I feel there has been a noticeable change in how art is experienced. While there are many advantages to this of course, I hope that galleries and museums continue to remain spaces of learning, enjoyment and social engagement!

As a director of a contemporary art gallery, what is the most rewarding part of your job? 

Being able to work closely with so many amazing and talented artists. There is a great feeling of fulfillment in seeing a project or exhibition of their work to fruition, especially one that is well received publicly and critically.

Some of our artists have also had really fantastic public installation projects, which are especially exciting to work on…You feel the work is able to have this whole other life outside of the gallery! One of our artists currently has a large-scale outdoor sculpture featured in a public park in the city of Chicago, presented through the Chicago Parks District. Knowing that countless people pass by that work every day is pretty special!

What are some of the qualities or skills that you feel will help a BC student succeed in today’s art museum/gallery field?

Being passionate, driven and curious I think are all very important qualities to have! And definitely being proactive and engaged. For anyone seriously interested in pursuing a career in the arts, my advice is to just get out there: see art, visit museums and galleries, connect with people who are in the field, and ask questions!

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BC Students: Don’t forget to check out all of the amazing artistic alumni attending Career Night for the Arts 2016, and make sure to read our interviews with Maureen Donovan, the Deputy Director of Harvard Art Museums; Eric Butler, Theatre Producer; Erin Dionne, Author; Karen Stein, Art Director and Principal Designer at goodgood; Daron Manoogian, the Communications Director of Harvard Art Museums; and Stephen Zubricki III, Principal Designer for Mystic View Design, Inc.  Meet these alumni and more at Career Night for the Arts, Thursday November 17th, 2016 at 7-8:30pm in the Heights Room!

Career Night for the Arts 2016: Meet Theatre Producer Eric Butler from CSOM ’12

Meet Eric Butler! Eric is a theatre enthusiast and business aficionado, proving you can combine your interests in both management and the arts in building your very own career! Eric is one of our incredible BC arts alumni guests attending….

Career Night for the Arts 2016! Come join us on Thursday, November 16th between 7:00pm – 8:30pm in the Heightscareer-night-final-1 Room to meet tons of BC alumni working in the arts to network, ask questions, and get advice about developing your own creative career! Check out the Arts Council Career Night for the Arts website for more info, or look at the Facebook event page! This event is a collaborative endeavor between the Arts Council, the Career Center, and the Alumni Association.

 

 

Eric Butler is the founder of Final Bow Productions, a commercial production company that invests in live entertainment, specifically Broadway and touring theatrical productions. He has served as a professional fundraiser in the not-for-profit sector since 2006, and his passion for education and the arts has helped him raise several millions of dollars for private institutions in his home state of Massachusetts. With substantial professional experience in fundraising and investor/donor relations, and an educational background in business and theatre arts, Eric is able to utilize these skill sets as he explores opportunities to produce and invest in works for the commercial stage. In the corporate sector, he has served as a consultant for Brown Brothers Harriman and an MBA Associate/Project Manager at Liberty Mutual, both with headquarters in Boston, MA.ericbutler.jpg

Eric is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA where he received degrees in Psychology and Theater. Following his graduation from Holy Cross, Eric served as a production assistant on the Broadway musical High Fidelity. In 2012, he received his M.B.A. (specializations in Marketing Informatics and Brand & Product Management) from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA. Eric is also an alumnus of the Commercial Theater Institute in New York City, NY.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/finalbowproductions3

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ButlerEric

  1. You have worked extensively in the art world, specifically in the theater arts, and your career has progressed along. How would you describe this journey? 

My career in the arts, like everything else, is a work in progress. The learning never ends. I’m blessed to be able to balance my work in commercial theater investing/producing with a more than full-time career in educational management. I do have to say that I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness shown to me by the Broadway community. I have been very fortunate to have received advice and mentoring from some of Broadway’s most successful producers. There is a tremendous level of support and opportunity out there for those who seek to network with and learn from the best.

  1. What made you decide to start your own company and what was the most fun part and the most frustrating part about starting your own company?

At Boston College, mostly through Professor Gallaugher’s Graduate Tech Trek, I developed a love of entrepreneurship. Starting Final Bow Productions was a way for me to begin to apply the skills developed in graduate school on a very practical level. It has been a blast for me to combine my love of theater with my interest in business. In my life, I always strive for balance. Investing and producing allows me to think analytically, yet be surrounded by great creativity.

In this industry, you need patience. It can take a very long time for a project to come your way that you think has strong commercial viability, but still possesses artistic integrity. The good ones are worth the wait.

  1. Your past/current work experiences involve being a fundraiser in the non-profit sector and also a consultant and an MBA Associate/Project Manager in the corporate sector. Could you describe and talk about your involvement in both non-profit sector and corporate sector and how it impacted your career? 

In many ways, my past and current experiences have served as a ‘perfect storm’ for producing. As an undergraduate psychology and theater double major at the College of the Holy Cross (the other Massachusetts Jesuit school!), I was exposed to many of the Western world’s best classic and contemporary dramatic works through theater history, dramatic literature, acting, and production courses. These classes gave me the ability to think critically about dramatic structure and recognize and appreciate strong, quality work.

My experiences in business school and in the corporate sector have given me the skill set to recognize investment potential in the arts. Broadway is a business and when evaluating investment opportunities you need to be comfortable dissecting contracts, capitalization and operating budgets, and recoupment schedules. There isn’t a project that crosses my desk where I don’t apply Porter’s Five Forces as part of my analysis!

And the last piece is the ability to raise funds. Obviously, theatre can’t be produced without the necessary resources. There are certainly many similarities between fundraising for a non-profit and raising capital for commercial theatre. Both philanthropists and investors want to see their funds treated with the utmost fiscal responsibility and to hopefully see an impactful return from their support.

  1. What during your time at BC do you feel was the most helpful advice or experience on your path to your career?

The best piece of advice I received in grad school might have come from Professor Bob Radin during the first week of class in his Managing People and Organizations course. He told a group of wide-eyed MBA candidates, “If you’re not good at something at this point in your life, you’ll probably never be good at it. Find something you’re good at and be the best you can be at that.” In a society that hands out ‘participation’ trophies left and right – this type of direct advice really brought focus and direction to the type of discernment that should be a part of your graduate school experience.

Given my unconventional background, the Boston College MBA program also put me out of my comfort zone. Having never taken a business course previously, I was forced into intense, academically rigorous accounting, finance, marketing, and management courses during our first semester. This fish-out-of-water/underdog experience (genres that almost always work) proved to me that natural competence combined with hard work can lead to unbridled satisfaction amid risk.

Also check out our interview with the Deputy Director of the Harvard Art Museums, Maureen Donovan!

Career Night for the Arts Alumni Profile: Erin Dionne!

by Alexa Villareal

Leading up to Career Night for the Arts, we have prepared some alumni profiles to give you insight into the careers of our alumni attendees. Today we are focusing on Erin Dionne ’97, a children’s book writer and professor at Montserrat College of Art. She received her M.F.A from Emerson College and worked in marketing at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a publishing company. She then continued to write for papers and magazines alike, including the Boston Herald, before settling in as a teacher.

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Erin studied English and Communications at Boston College. She looks back on her time fondly, most distinctly her time in the marching band. Her participation inspired parts of her novel Notes From an Accidental Band Geek. Erin’s novels have garnered recognition from Scholastic Book Fairs as well as features in state lists and major magazines. Some titles include Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, and most recently her fourteen day mystery books Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking and Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting.

Tell me a little bit about your time at BC! What groups or clubs were you a part of and what are your favorite memories?

I loved being at BC! I was really active in the BC bands program, and did marching band and pep band for all 4 years. One of my favorite experiences was marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1995 (so much so that I memorialized it in my novel NOTES FROM AN ACCIDENTAL BAND GEEK). I also had a great time playing in the pep band during the NCAA basketball tournament. We went to Salt Lake City one year and Orlando another.

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You’ve written for magazines, newspapers, and written books of your own, which is the most challenging and which is your favorite?

All types of writing are challenging for different reasons–deadlines, short turnarounds, and dealing with sources can all impact the journalism and magazine story writing processes. Writing novels involves lots of time and work to create compelling characters. Although I enjoy all of the types of writing I’ve done, I have to say that writing novels is my favorite–it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.

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What during your time at BC do you feel was the most helpful advice or experience on your path to your career?

Taking Elizabeth Graver’s writing workshops were especially helpful to my career, because I learned to revise and edit my work–crucial in all of my endeavors.

How do you balance teaching, being a mom, and writing?

Haha. There’s no such thing as “balance.” Things are always shifting in priority. When I’m on a deadline, I have to fit everything around that. When grades are due, I have to grade. When the kids need something, they come to the front of the line. It’s a juggle, and each day is different.

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How did you get inspired to write and what inspired you to write your books for teens?

I’ve wanted to write since I was a little kid, because I loved books and reading. I write for tweens and teens because those are the stories I’m most interested in telling and the voices that resonate with me.

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Come meet Erin Dionne and other alumni artists at Career Night for the Arts on Thursday, November 12th! From 7:00-8:30pm in the McMullen Museum in Devlin Hall, you can come network and converse with BC alumni who have turned their creativity into a career.

Not sure how to network? Nervous about striking up conversations with new people? Come join us between 6:00 and 7:00pm right before the event in Devlin 008 for “Networking 101,” an advice session with networking tips and tricks from the BC Career Center. As a bonus, there will be snacks provided during “Networking 101” !

To see all the BC alumni artists attending Career Night for the Arts 2015, visit bc.edu/careernight.

Students Find Advice and Inspiration at Career Night for the Arts

by Cuilin Chen

Marc Franklin '12, of Bridge Repertory Theater, talks with a group of BC undergraduates

Marc Franklin ’12, of Bridge Repertory Theater, talks with a group of BC undergraduates

As the crowd started moving into McMullen museum, Career Night for the Arts began. Before long, enthusiastic conversations were weaving in the air; a penetrating sense of excitement swirled around the room.

I started the night talking to the executive director of the Lyme Art Association, Joe Newman. An art dealer, experienced businessman, and enthusiastic art appreciator, he unveiled the business side of the art world. He says that a good artist often finds a delicate balance between reality and creativity, and matures over time to create the best work. Similarly, Newman himself has sharpened his sense over the course of his career so that he knows whether a work of art is what he is looking for, at the first sight. The process of development is organic and continuous, applying to both the creative side and the business side of the art world. And passion is what guides you through.

After this fast-paced conversation, I moved around the crowd and encountered a lady elegantly dressed in pink. A mom and a businesswoman, Cathi Fournier Ianno is the assistant director of Sound and Spirit. Our conversation, however, focused more on an exchange of stories instead of a discussion of her field. As uplifting as the color she was wearing, Cathi’s story was about her love for both the business world and the artistic world. She is a wonderful pianist, yet for a career she chose to be the person who takes care of the practical aspect of things to turn more artistic endeavors into reality. She told me to locate my true passion, be definite about it, but to pave my way patiently toward it. And it does not have to be a direct path!

Driven by the same interest yet as different individuals, many of us may have come to Career Night for the Arts hoping to find a way to navigate further in the creative field. From my experience talking to alums, a general observation is that, it is not necessary to rush through confusion. In this matrix, there are multiple dimensions including various forms of talent, dedication, collaboration, interception, and time, which, adds dynamics to the whole picture.

I think, Andrew Padilla, Creative Services Manager at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, would agree with me on that. He has always wanted to create art that has meaning to it, as much as he has always been concerned with the aesthetics of marketing. Voila, working in the marketing side for a museum seems to be the perfect fit after his long search. He told me that the interesting aspect about his career is that art, here, is so similar to problem solving, because the visually appealing works his team create, will engage and inspire people in the real world, and they carry a powerful message! As a dad, Padilla is busy with family life but still tries to squeeze in time for painting and carpentry, which recharge his creativity.

There are many other intriguing conversations spinning in my head, memories from the night still fresh. I also talked to Musician and music label CEO David Altenor, who is also interested in fashion; Photographer Christopher Huang, based in Boston and often photographing on campus; Fashion Executive Jane Conway Caspe who passionately discovers local designers and fresh talents; and the meticulous and dedicated director of Studio TK, conservator T.K. McClintock.

Conservator T.K. McClintock talks with a BC student

Conservator T.K. McClintock talks with a BC student

The last person I talked to, interior designer Kurt Hakansson, was wearing stylish glasses, which I discovered later to be one of his collection of many. He told me that he always knew he loved art, but it was during his apprenticeship at Crate & Barrel when he developed his skills rapidly and significantly. And back then the company was just a start-up! I could hardly imagine Crate & Barrel, the giant in the industry, being a start-up with just a few staff. But perhaps, that explains just how powerful ideas could be. The transformation of things we could desire and expect in the creative field is, indeed, generated from imagination and often grows beyond our own imagination. Isn’t that why this world is so fascinating?

The night wrapped after two hours, yet conversations went on. New ideas have been implemented, and I saw many faces lit up. Each of us is one of the many, but uniquely so. What is the right path? It really depends, but it is always a good time to start the exploration.

To see all the 2014 alumni guests at Career Night for the Arts, visit our website.

Want to Meet a Record Label CEO? Come to Career Night for the Arts

By Cuilin Chen

David Altenor '09, CEO at Kingdomsound Music Group

David Altenor ’09, CEO at Kingdomsound Music Group

Students, Career Night for the Arts, the event that puts you in touch with professionals in a range of artistic fields, is happening tonight, 7-9 PM, at the McMullen Museum! Today, we’re talking to David Altenor ’09, CEO of music label kingdomsound. Join David, and a host of other accomplished BC alumni, for an evening of connections and conversation.

What is “spiritual” music, and what are the ideas behind it? Discover in David Altenor’s story. A Boston College Alum, David Altenor earned a degree in Theology in 2009, which turns out to have significant influence on his career as an artist. A multi-award winning artist, producer and songwriter, he is dedicated to creating music that carries the message of God, love and inspiration. He has worked with artists extensively and has appeared on television, the Apollo Theater and various national music tours. In 2012, he launched a record label, Kingdomsound Music Group, in the hope of effecting positive social changes.

We could see that your music is closely related to your studies in theology. How has your education at BC helped you find inspiration and become a successful musician?

I love creating positive and meaningful art. My experience at BC opened my eyes to the global issues and put everything in perspective, and enabled me to specifically focus on creating inspirational music. I felt a spirit of “change” the first time I stepped on this campus, and that feeling has never left since.

What is something fun and something frustrating about starting your own company? 

One fun thing is doing what I love most and being able to wake up in the morning and make music (whether producing, arranging, writing, or teaching) everyday for a living. One frustration I have is one with the music industry in general. Some aspects of the music industry could be far from ideal and thus challenging: for examples, bad deals, and lack of support for some music projects for various reasons.

As a dedicated artist, it must be a rather natural and habitual thing for you to stay creative. But when it comes to moments of creative blocks, how do you cope with it?

I usually step out of the studio for a bit and try to go for a drive or walk. My creative process is very spiritual. I’ve always found that the closer I am to God, whether in prayer or in reading the Bible, the more creative I am.

From an artist’s perspective, how would you describe your music; what are the impacts you wish to make with your work?

I create music with the hope that it will inspire and uplift others. I really try to use my gifts to make positive music that focuses on God, love and social issues. I believe that we should strive to inspire the next generation of artists to become a positive force in their local communities and abroad.

Connect with the Executive Director of ITVFest at Career Night for the Arts Tomorrow

By Lydia Ahern

Philip Gilpin, Jr '03 is the Executive Director of the Independent Television Festival

Philip Gilpin, Jr ’03 is the Executive Director of the Independent Television Festival

As part of our interview series with alumni who are enjoying successful careers in the arts, it is our pleasure to introduce Philip Gilpin, Jr., Boston College Class of 2003, who will be attending Career Night for the Arts tomorrow from 7-9pm in McMullen Museum. Career Night for the Arts is an excellent way for students interested in pursuing a career in the arts to speak with Boston College graduates who have already paved the way. Students from all majors are welcome!

Philip Gilpin Jr. began his career in entertainment as a Business Affairs Analyst at HBO until 2008, and has since ascended to the title of Executive Director of the renowned ITVFest. Philip was responsible for bringing the LA-born event to Dover, Vermont in September 2013, and its marked success has ensured its stay there through at least 2017. In his interview, he gives insight into the roots of his creativity, as well as the industries changing independent TV and the web scene. Philip describes his industry as, “the wild west:” here’s your chance to find out why.

As a Physics and Mathematics major at BC, did you see yourself ultimately working in entertainment? How has your major helped you in your field?

I had no idea that I would end up in entertainment. I have always enjoyed the arts and took a few courses at Robsham but it was not a long-term career thought at the time. Physics and mathematics are very creative fields, especially at the higher levels. They are both rooted in using logic to solve problems. That’s also the core of the entertainment industry – creating pieces of art through massive production processes that require a high level of problem solving skills.

How has the independent TV and web scene changed since you began working at HBO in 2003, and how might this affect students attempting to enter the field?

The independent TV and web scene has been forging its own path over the last decade. YouTube didn’t exist until 2005. The digital video revolution is only 8 years old. If one thing is clear to me after being involved with the digital industry at a high level, it is that we are all still making this up as we go along. That’s not a negative thing. That should be inspiring and encouraging to students because it means they are able to define the field as they see fit. There is a lot of space out there – a lot of unanswered questions about this industry- that current students should have a passion to solve. Those that find the best solutions will find themselves leading the industry.

What are the top three qualities, abilities, or skills might help a BC student succeed in the independent TV and web scene?

To succeed in the independent TV and web world you must have an unquenchable passion for storytelling, you must be willing to take risks that could mean personal financial ruin and you must love problem solving on the fly. This is an industry with no safety net. There is no “normal” professional progression (entry level, manager, director, executive, etc.). This is the Wild West. Gear up and be prepared when you step into town.

Chat with Art Executive Joe Newman ’97 at Career Night for the Arts 2014

By Cuilin Chen

Joe Newman '97, Executive Director of the Lyme Art Association,

Joe Newman ’97, Executive Director of the Lyme Art Association,

Career Night for the Arts is around the corner! If you are interested in art and want to explore your options further, head to the McMullen on Thursday, November 13, 7-9PM to chat with twenty five alumni working in arts-related professions.

Joe Newman ’97, executive director of the Lyme Art Association, is one of the alums that will join us at Career Night, and here he offers insight into his rich experience in the art world. Not only interested in how Joe Newman explored his career path, we are also curious about his perspective on interns and artists as an executive director.

Shall you be an artist or art-lover, find your inspiration from the interview below!

You have worked extensively in the art world, and your career has progressed along. How would you describe this progress?

My career has been somewhat unorthodox. Shortly after leaving BC, I had the opportunity to work with a private firm that bought and sold American rare books and manuscripts. Everything about the paintings fascinated me. After leaving the firm to focus on my graduate studies, when I was ready to return to work, I wrote a letter to a respected art gallery near my hometown that specialized in 19th and early 20th paintings, inquiring whether they might have a position open. They did, and I spent four wonderful years learning everything I could about American paintings. From there, I spent some time at a large gallery in New York and an auction house, before taking time off again to explore other interests. During this last year, I had the opportunity to serve the non-profit Lyme Art Association, the nation’s oldest, as its executive director. In all, I’ve been grateful to have the opportunity to see how the art world functions from the gallery perspective, from inside an auction house, and from an institutional perspective.

We know that you are excited about new ideas and new artists, but what are some of the qualities, specifically, you seek in new artists?

When I encounter work by a new artist, I can tell within a very short period of time whether that artist interests me. Personally, a strong work of art always hints at some kind of narrative. The viewer should be aware that there might be a story behind the creation. This quality allows the viewer to lend a little of their own imagination to the experience of viewing the work, which makes the art feel more powerful and intimate.

We have many students at Boston College who are eager to test the water in the art world. Would you tell us something you seek in interns and volunteers?

The quality I most seek in interns and volunteers is the ability to communicate well. Nothing bothers me more than receiving an email from someone that is poorly written, or worse, poorly thought out and then poorly written. Whenever you write to someone—whether email, text, instant message, or whatever form you use—you’re asking that person to surrender a little bit of their time and read what you’ve sent them. Correspondence is welcome when it’s informative, thorough, and worth reading.

 

And last, a simple question, but a lot of us may have this question in mind: how do you stay creative?

Even though I’ve spent the bulk of my career handling fine American paintings, I am utterly incapable of drawing so much as a rainbow. To stay creative, I enjoy writing fiction and personal essays. The thought process of composing a short story or something longer is similar to composing a painting. Many times, you experience something in life or the natural world that makes you feel something. You’re not sure what, at first, but you keep thinking about it. Eventually, this feeling morphs into an idea about how to convey that feeling to an audience. You experiment with different approaches and, in doing so, realize that may you have even more to say or demonstrate than you thought. So the work becomes a little more complex, with disparate parts that relate to each other. When you’re finally finished, you’ve taken a vague, uncertain experience and translated it for your readers or viewers in a way that communicates how the experience changed or affected you. When you get that right, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.