ARAD Works: “ART MUSEUM CAPITAL PROJECTS IN NEW YORK CITY”

Having recently completed her master’s thesis, Alexis Yuen shares some insight into her topic and her writing process.

ART MUSEUM CAPITAL PROJECTS IN NEW YORK CITY: THE DUAL ROLE OF ART MUSEUMS AS ECONOMIC DRIVERS AND COMMUNITY ANCHORS

By Alexis Yuen

Alexis Yuen Thesis Photo (The Whitney)
View from the roof of The Whitney Museum

Abstract: Following the success of Guggenheim Bilbao in northern Spain, cities around the world established new cultural centers as a means of economic improvement. Meanwhile, directors of New York City art museums invested in high-budget capital projects in order to accommodate to the changing role of museums and respond to increasing international competition. In this thesis, I will provide a comprehensive critique surrounding the capital projects of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Queens Museum; and Whitney Museum of American Art. Leaders of these museums have stated serving and engaging their communities as one of their capital projects’ goals. Through examining each museum’s stipulated goals, defined communities, level of engagement with their communities in relation to their capital projects, and project outcomes, I argue that there is an overall mismatch between the stipulated goals of art museum capital projects and their project outcomes. This mismatch illustrates the widening gap between the dual role of art museums as economic drivers and community anchors. As museum directors seek to manage the multiple and often conflicting roles of art museums, I make recommendations on how they can be more strategic in their goals, realistic in their outcomes, and creative in their funding and engagement models.

What is your thesis about? A comprehensive critique surrounding decisions made by leaders of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, Queens Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art during their capital projects from 2013-2015; and how these decisions reflect on art museums’ dual roles as economic drivers and community anchors today.

What inspired you to research and write about this topic? I’ve always been fascinated by museum architecture, particularly in the way it changes the art-seeing experience for museum visitors and non-visitors. When the new Whitney first opened in 2015, I was intrigued by the museum’s stipulated goals in community engagement in Meatpacking, Chelsea, and Greenwich Village. However, I was skeptical of the project’s effectiveness and therefore began speaking to community members to get their perspectives on the Whitney’s move.

How do you hope your research will contribute to the arts administration field? I hope that as arts administrators think about museum buildings creatively, they will also push boundaries in thinking about museum programming and funding models creatively to reflect the changing role of art museums.

What advice would you give to ARAD students just beginning the process of writing their theses? Conduct preliminary interviews and share your ideas before drafting your proposals.

For access to the full paper, please contact the ARAD program at aradassistant@tc.columbia.edu.

 

2nd Year Feature: Sarah Zegree

Sarah_ZegreeDescribe your final semester as an ARAD student. This was the most unpredictable semester I had in grad school because I didn’t pursue a regular internship. I tried to get out more to experience cultural organizations I hadn’t been to yet. After submitting my thesis I felt like I could really focus on the city and getting as much out of it as I could.

Did you work on any major projects/papers this semester? Our Business Policy and Planning projects were deep dives into consulting that really helped us look at a problem and come up with a variety of ways to solve it in the real world. I also really enjoyed a “Portrait of a Leader” project from an elective class because I interviewed Rachel Goslins, a role-model of mine. She’s been an inspiration to me for the past year and a half and totally validates having more than one career.

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ARAD Works: “Gentrification and Art in Seoul”

Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 3.10.50 AMHaving recently completed her master’s thesis, Erica Hyeyeon Chang shares some insight into her topic and her writing process.

Gentrification and Art in Seoul: the End of Neighborhood-Specific Arts Ecology
By Erica Hyeyeon Chang

What is your thesis about? My thesis is on gentrification and art in Seoul, South Korea and how arts administrators strategize around the gentrification processes.

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2nd Year Feature: Jennifer Patten

Jennifer_PattenDescribe your final semester as an ARAD student. My final semester has been an exciting blend of work and education as I have taken on more responsibility at my new position as Director of Education and Training at the Martha Graham School while wrapping up my studies in the Arts Administration Program.

Did you have a job this semester? I served as the Director of Education and Training at the Martha Graham School. In this capacity, I serve as the head of the School and oversee all administrative and faculty personnel while reporting to the Executive Director. I am responsible for budget, program coordination, student affairs, accreditation, fundraising and development, and collaborate with other departments, such as marketing, in the promotion of the School.

Did this opportunity come about as a result of your time at ARAD?

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ARAD Works: “For the Love of Fashion”

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Cecil Beaton: A Fashion Anthology, from left to right: Vionnet, Chanel and Givenchy at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1971

Having recently completed her master’s thesis, Hannah Fagadau shares some insight into her topic and her writing process.

For the Love of Fashion: The Success of Fashion inside Today’s Museum
By Hannah Fagadau

What is your thesis about? The growing presence and increasing demand of fashion exhibitions in encyclopedic museums.

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ARAD Works: “China’s Cultural Diplomacy as the Means of Soft Power Through the Lens of the Confucius Institute”

Having recently completed her master’s thesis, Lynn Fu shares some insight into her topic and her writing process.
Lynn Fu

“China’s Cultural Diplomacy as the means of Soft Power through the lens of the Confucius Institute: A Comparative Study with the British Council and the Japan Foundation”
By Lynn Fu

What is your thesis about? China’s cultural diplomacy as the means of soft power through the lens of the Confucius Institute – a comparative study with the British Council and Japan Foundation

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2016 Arts Advocacy Day Reflection

By Blaire Townshend

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SAA meets Americans for the Arts President Bob Lynch

It has been quite the busy month for Student Advocates for the Arts. Those of us in our first year with the group have gone through a graduation of sorts—we have been transformed from arts enthusiasts to true arts advocates with practical experience under our belts. When we hosted a lobbying workshop with Ann Marie Miller of ArtPride at the beginning of the month, our questions ranged from “how do you make an effective ask?” to “what are the buzzwords that legislators pay attention to?” This was a crash course of sorts, and Ann Marie was wonderfully patient with us as we attempted to sort out the building blocks of arts advocacy.

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Student Spotlight: Hannah Rich

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Hannah is a Student Mentor for 2016-17

Hannah Rich graduated from Princeton University in 2011 with a BA in Medieval History and a certificate in Theater and Dance. Prior to joining the Arts Administration program, she was a dancer with the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group in New York City where she also worked as the Executive Assistant to the Artistic Director. Currently, Hannah is interning at New York City Ballet in business strategy and development.  Hannah is interested in executive leadership of dance companies.

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Student Spotlight: Georgina Zhao

Georgina Zhao
Georgina is a Student Mentor for 2016-17

Originally from China, Georgina Zhao graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2014 from Drexel University where she majored in TV Production & Media Management and minored in Fine Art. She interned with companies and organizations such as the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Greater Philadelphia Film Office, and Viacom Entertainment Group. With interests in art museums, education, and digital media, she hopes to pursue a career in education programming at an art museum upon graduation from the M.A. Program of Arts Administration. Georgina speaks native Mandarin Chinese and conversational Korean, thanks to her study-abroad experience at Seoul National University in the business administration program.

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Student Spotlight: Emily McCabe

Emily McCabe
Emily is a Student Mentor for 2016-17

Emily McCabe graduated from Middlebury College in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. She originally hails from Armonk, New York and since finishing school has worked in Colorado teaching both skiing and violin lessons. Additionally, Emily has interned with a number of performing arts nonprofits and she has a current placement at the NY Philharmonic in their education department. Other experiences include work in the development department at Roundabout Theatre Company and Opera Australia, research and support for projects at Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and Kunhardt Productions, and administrative work with Belleayre Music Festival. Emily is particularly interested in the development of education programming in a performing arts context.

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