Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Dubin

Dr. Dubin (far right) in Wyoming. Photo courtesy of Dr. Dubin.

ARAD’s own Dr. Dubin took a moment to share with us what he’s been up to while on sabbatical this past year. Dr. Dubin spent time in South Africa, completed a one-month residency at Ucross (an artist/writer retreat in Clearmont, Wyoming), spent 5 weeks in Italy, and completed another one-month residency at the Rockefeller Foundation – sponsored retreat, Bellagio. Following the opening of his photography exhibition in early June, Dr. Dubin will finish his sabbatical with another trip to South Africa before returning to Teachers College for the Fall semester.

Continue reading “Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Dubin”


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


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.


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.

Continue reading “ARAD Works: “For the Love of Fashion””

Student Spotlight: Anne-Claire Morel

Photo of Anne-Claire MorelAnne-Claire Morel is a History of Art graduate (2014) from the University of Cambridge, UK. She obtained a B.A. (Hons) and did her thesis on Marina Abramovic’s presence and image in post-1970s performance art. In order to further develop her interest for the arts, Anne-Claire decided to carry out internships in various areas of the art world. She gained valuable insights into the art market when interning at Sotheby’s London in the Valuation Department (2012) and Gagosian Gallery, New York (2013). Following these two experiences, she assisted a leading New York-based art adviser during the Summer of 2015.

Anne-Claire has also kept a focus on art and artists at the very heart of her internships. In 2011 and 2013, she interned at Residency Unlimited, a Brooklyn based, non-profit artist residency. She also turned to museums and joined MoMA’s curatorial internship program (Media and Performance Art) in the Spring of 2015. She is currently interning at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in the Corporate Development department.

Anne-Claire grew up between Paris, Barcelona, London, and New York, and has had the opportunity to interact with a wide range of people. Her passion for art and the art world is fed by the many stories and cultures she gathered throughout the years. At the moment, she is exploring the opportunities and limits of branding strategies used to shape the image of historical private collections.

What attracted you to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia University? I was drawn to the program because of ARAD’s intrinsically diverse nature. Upon finishing my undergraduate degree, I had a strong background in history of art and critical theory, yet no understanding of the art world per se. ARAD has allowed me to explore new topics such as advertising, branding, and marketing, while also encouraged me to nurture and further topics such as philosophy. Should I wish to take a class about international conflicts and the role of culture tomorrow, I could too! ARAD’s strength lies in its diversity, and it challenges your own previous perceptions.

How are your studies helping to advance your career goals? The link between studies and career goals was not immediate for me. I came to the program straight out of undergrad and had never held a permanent position. It took a few months, a fair amount of discussions, and three internships for me to realize how I could relate career and studies. I realized that advertising and branding, along with corporate development and history of art, could be combined for the best and be used as a powerful strategy by art world entities.

Describe student life as a member of the ARAD community. The ARAD community is a support system. A group of wonderful, bright, and ambitious people that help each other out, in any possible way. I feel very confident about the future, of the arts and mine, thanks to the people I met in this program.

Arts as a Catalyst of Social Change: an Interview with Yvonne Senouf

Be the Change
Be the Change an Inside Out Global Project. Photography Alex Kat

Yvonne Senouf (Class of 1991) has more than twenty years of experience in the art world, working in production, development, and communication. Venezuelan-born, Senouf has lived in France, Morocco, the U.S., Spain, and Greece. As a founder of Clinica Aesthetica, an experimental multidisciplinary space, she has produced more than twenty international projects. Currently based in Athens, Greece, Senouf is the co-founder and cultural producer of MELD, an interactive global art platform and collaborative catalyst that commissions, produces, and presents works of art on climate change. In 2015, MELD was nominated for the prestigious COAL Prize Art and Environment, which supports projects in contemporary art related to environmental concerns. ARAD sat down with Senouf recently to discuss ARAD, her current projects, and being an agent for social change.

Continue reading “Arts as a Catalyst of Social Change: an Interview with Yvonne Senouf”

Event News: “Building Bridges: Museums, Communities and Latin American Art”

unnamedJoin the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) at Teachers College, Columbia University as they discuss the intersection between museums, education and diverse communities in their upcoming event, “Building Bridges: Museums, Communities and Latin American Art.” This talk is part of the organization’s “Serie en Conversaciones.”

Given the increasing international recognition of Latin American art and its presence in collections and exhibitions in local art museums, this panel seeks to explore the connection between museums and its surrounding diverse communities, the societal influence of museums that exhibit Latin American art, and the role of these museums in promoting cultural diversity. Our featured guests include Remei Capdevila from El Museo del Barrio and Nung-Hsin Hu from Queens Museum, who will engage in a conversation moderated by Teachers College faculty member, Olga Hubard.

Date: Thursday, April 2, 2015
Location: 138 Horace Mann, Teachers College
Time: 7:00 pm

Free admission

Student Spotlight: Aaron Novak

Aaron NovakAaron is interested in museums with a specific focus on ancient art, archaeology and history museums with a focus on marketing, development and exhibition development. Previously, he worked at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem where he acted as the Director of Special Projects. He is currently interning with Third Eye, an arts marketing, PR, and branding firm in New York City and spends whatever free time he has left exploring the endless landscape of arts that this city has to offer. Continue reading “Student Spotlight: Aaron Novak”

Distinguished Speaker Series: ARAD Reflections

By Alyssa Foster

Current ARAD student,  Arts & Humanities Writer


The Distinguished Speaker series was piloted by Dr. Lena in the Arts Administration (ARAD) program to integrate a higher level of practical experience into the research-based curriculum. Begun as a guest speaker series for the Principles and Practices course in Fall of 2013, the first round of visiting administrators included alumnae of the program such Carolyn Charpie Fagan, current Education Programs Manager at the New Victory Theatre, and executive directors such as Helene Blieberg of Ballet Hispanico.

“I feel that the Distinguished Speaker series acts as a bridge between the theoretical knowledge acquired in class and the practical experiences we brought into the program and gain from our internships,” remarks Veronica Fischmann, Masters-candidate in the ARAD program. “I also personally like the exposure to professions I may not be personally interested in but may professionally interact with in the future.”

“The Distinguished Speaker series plays an important role in connecting our cohort with the art world in New York and in creating a network with the professionals that work in that field,” agrees Pilar Riofrio, also an ARAD Masters-candidate. “Listening to their first-hand experiences, the things that worked for them, the development of their careers, the choices they made and the challenges that they have to face nowadays are great insights and references for our future careers.”

Under the coordination of Dr. Lena and now Jess Wilkinson, the ARAD Program Manager, students nominate and invite speakers of their choosing to participate in the series. “Each student who nominated a visitor worked as an ambassador during their visit,” explains Dr. Lena. “I think the correspondence and informal conversations between guests and students has resulted in the birth of quite a few mentorship relationships.”

In addition to providing opportunities to forge mentorships, the series also provides an informal atmosphere for the students to better learn the nuances of administrative life, from organization policies to comical anecdotes. The series is intended to be mutually beneficial for the speakers – a platform that venerates their diligent efforts.

“The Distinguished Speaker series offers a context where arts experts can give a presentation to our students that delves deeply into their particular arena of influence, their daily concerns, and their career trajectories,” Dr. Lena states. “I think the daily life of most arts administrators (or policy experts) is so demanding that they rarely have the opportunity to take a step back and assess their progress, personal goals, the lessons they learned (or hope to). They’re also doing amazing work, and our series is a great moment for them to celebrate their achievements.”

The series has already hosted arts administrators from a wide breadth of arts backgrounds. Last November, Ed Woodham, Director of Art in Odd Places, presented on the challenges for presenting in unconventional public spaces. Just the month before Assistant Curator at The Kitchen, Lumi Tan, visited to discuss the path which led to her career as a curator. Each new guest lends insights that speak directly to what the students long to learn.

“I learned several things from all of them,” remarks Pilar, but I particularly remember Alaine Arnott, Senior Administrator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have always seen how people in the arts are so passionate, but she showed me how that passion turns into energy and motivation to take on big challenges. This passion, with training and leadership, are key factors for having a successful career.”

Though each speaker has an idiosyncratic insight and impact, Dr. Lena has noticed several recurring factors that ignite particular interest: “Students respond enthusiastically when we talk about the nuts and bolts of administrative work,” she reflects. “I watched in amazement as our students asked Alaine Arnott (Met) eight questions in a row about administrative re-organization and task management software! But there was an equal amount of buzz when Ed Woodham (Art in Odd Places) led us in a discussion of the role of art in defining public spaces and our rights and responsibilities in using it. I’m impressed that our students get excited about philosophical and ethical questions, but also about strategy and management.”

Though the pilot series was created as a component of the first-year curriculum, the course is now open to all students. Upcoming guests include Cynthia Round, Senior Vice President of Marketing and External Relations at the Met, and Arthur Cohen, CEO at LaPlaca Cohen.

“I value the different perspectives and the insight into different roles in the field,” Veronica remarks about the breadth of Distinguished Speakers in the queue. “It gives me a fuller understanding of the landscape of the art world . . . The Speaker series is a really great augmentation to the program’s existing curriculum.”

As part of the Academic Festival this weekend, the ARAD department is hosting a panel of program alumni who will discuss the future of Arts Administration. Moderated by second year student Pearl Kermani, the panelists will discuss current practices in their organizations and stratagem for students preparing to start their careers. The panel, titled “Envisioning the Future of Arts Administration,” will be held at 3:30 PM on Saturday, April 12th, in Grace Dodge 179. We welcome the return of our alumni speakers: Morgan Arenson (’12), Daniel Gallant (’04), Vasso Giannopoulos (’11) and Eugenia Han (’12).

Also coming up soon, the ARAD program will host speakers from the Urban Bush Women (UBW) on April 30th at 5:30 PM in Russel 305! UBW is a Brooklyn-based dance company who seeks to bring the stories of the disenfranchised to light.  We hope you’ll join us!