Chatting with Jodi Mikesell, Fall 2017 Microgrant Recipient


We caught up with our Fall 2017 Microgrant Recipient, Jodi Mikesell.Mikesell

Funding from the ARAD Microgrant supported Jodi’s participation in the Brooklyn Conference at The Brooklyn Museum.


Describe the opportunity you participated in and how it aligns with your career aspirations.

The event I attended was The Brooklyn Conference at The Brooklyn Museum. This three-day event centered around inspiring social change through a confluence of art, artists, politics, and social justice. Over three days, many issues were discussed, but of particular interest to me was the topic of shifting institutional priorities- specifically the museum space as a catalyst for social change. The Arts Administration program helped to shape the path of my career by highlighting the important role that museums play in shaping the cultural values of our society. The Brooklyn Conference aligned with those aspirations by providing an in situ experience of how we as administrators can champion and foster social change through the institutional power of the museum.

What were the most important takeaways from your experience?

The biggest takeaway of the conference was the ability to directly align the lessons I had learned in ARAD with their practical, real-life applications within the museum setting. I was also able to attend talks which were both personally fulfilling and beneficial to informing my thesis research, which I am writing on women and museum leadership. Another takeaway was in exploring the role of the artist within society with the artists who strive to create impact and learning strategies we can use to create inclusive and dynamic cultural communities.

How has the microgrant helped to enrich you professionally? 

Over three days and dozens of speakers, I have learned and grown tremendously. Over the weekend I was able to personally engage and network with other socially-minded people within the art world and was able to make new contacts with NYU faculty, independent curators, art teachers, and social activists- all of with whom I have remained in contact. Working toward social change is exhausting and at times, the emotional fatigue can make a person question whether they are up for the challenge- especially during a time of such political contention. Surrounding oneself with people who are actively working toward a common good is profoundly empowering. Knowing that we are all present for the same cause creates an unspoken bond of purpose and opens up channels of communication. I left The Brooklyn Conference feeling a renewed sense of vigor and recharged in my commitment to the work I want to do.


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