Student Spotlight: Sunny Leerasanthanah

Sunny- newSunny Leerasanthanah was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and lives in New York City, where she is completing her MA at Teachers College, Columbia University. In 2016, she received a BFA in Film, Photography, and Visual Arts at Ithaca College, New York. Sunny plans to work with non-profit visual arts organizations and institutions in the future, while balancing her work as a multidisciplinary artist. She has previously completed curatorial internships at the Brooklyn Museum, Public Art Fund, and most recently, Art21, where she contributed to their upcoming anthology book of interviews with international contemporary artists. In addition to work and graduate school, she enjoys working on different artistic projects.

How are your studies helping to advance your career goals?

Since my undergraduate background was primarily in art making and art history, my graduate study at Teachers College is foundational to my education in arts administration. I am grateful for being able to pursue a career at the intersection of all these different professionalized fields in the arts.

What is one topic you have been discussing in Arts Administration classes this week?

A topic discussed in my first semester that I still think about: How to address pipeline issues that perpetuate the lack of diversity in leadership positions in the arts.

In your view, who are some of the major influencers working in arts administration right now?

To me, the key players in arts administration are advocacy and education-driven non-profit art organizations and programs that make space for marginalized communities and break down barriers to accessing the arts. Shout out to Teens and Access programs at various NYC museums, and non-profits like Recess, A.I.R. Gallery, Laundromat Project, QUEER | ART, Creative Growth Art Center (in California) and so much more.

Who are your three favorite artists, in any medium?

Three artists I admire (amongst many): Pedro Reyes – and his workshop, “The People’s United Nations”; Zanele Muholi – and her photography of LGBTI individuals in South Africa; and Meriem Bennani – and her use of absurdist humor.

Tell us about any recent or upcoming projects or activities that you are particularly proud of (either academic or professional).

Currently, I am a Teaching Assistant at the International Center of Photography, where I am working with high school teens to realize their individual image-based projects. Additionally, this summer I had the pleasure of having my work featured in a photography group show, The Feeling Is Mutual, at Local Project Gallery in New York. In July, I self-published my photo book, “Homes Against Tides”, which documents the intricate shelters of Sand Bubbler Crabs dwelling on Tubkaek Beach in Thailand. In October, I will be developing and presenting a workshop for artists at rehearsal, a newfound residency for emerging multidisciplinary artists in New York.


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