Inside the Arts with Zoe Starling, curator of education at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design

Photo by Rachel Berbec

In anticipation of the grand unveiling of the new Gregg Museum of Art & Design next year, ArtsNow went Inside the Arts with the staff to learn about a day in the life. Meet Zoe Starling.

LG: What’s your background?

ZS: I received a BA in Art History from Denison University and a MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University.

LG: Where were you before the Gregg Museum?

ZS: After graduating from Denison I moved to Santa Fe, NM where I worked for a gallery and bronze foundry, and as a research assistant at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe. After Santa Fe, I moved to New York and attended graduate school at NYU. I worked for several years in New York City, first as an intern at Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses, and then at Sean Kelly Gallery. I also worked as a studio assistant to painter George Condo, a curatorial research assistant at the Whitney Museum, and gallery associate at the Matthew Marks Gallery.

LG: How long have you been with the Gregg?

ZS: 12 years

[Related: Gregg Tree Project will preserve oaks at the new Gregg Museum of Art & Design]

LG: What’s a day in the life like?

ZS: What I like about my job is that no two days are exactly the same. It might include giving a tour to NCSU students or community members, brainstorming ideas for public programs and faculty partnerships will increase significantly since our audience base will expand as a result of our new location. Once we settle in, I will be develop a new docent program and expanding our K-12 programs. I will also be working with Gregg staff to develop and ongoing artist-in-residence program!

LG: Do you have educational initiative you’re after, currently?

ZS: Public programming will be increasing since our audience base will expand as a result of our new location. Once we settle in, I’ll be working hard to develop a docent program and offering more K-12 educational programming. Another goal is to reach a wider faculty audience and increase community outreach through new programs.

LG: What type of feedback do you get from students?

ZS: One of the more useful tools we have developed for our interns is a questionnaire we give each student before they begin the semester and one at the end, so we can access our program’s weaknesses and strengths. Students from Scholars and Arts Village fill out a survey and rank public programs. I find that most students really enjoy one on one interactions and discussions with presenting artists, and learning about an idea or art form for the first time. As an educator, nothing is more rewarding in this job than seeing the excitement on a student’s face when they discover something new.

LG: How do you measure program effectiveness?

ZS: Mostly from audience and student interest, as well as audience participation.

LG: How do you prepare for a new show?

ZS: I develop programs thematically based around exhibitions and our collection. We promote these events through a large poster mailing that goes out for each exhibition, as well as Facebook posts, and email newsletters. On campus we promote programs to faculty and students through e-mail marketing, posting events on University Scholars, Arts Village and various other student forums, and advertising through university departments. Program schedules are also sent to media and campus outlets.

LG: What’s the balance between university offerings and public offerings?

ZS: The balance is fairly even for university and public offerings. We host a wide range of classes and students throughout the year in our exhibition space and collections storage, as well as provide multiple events to the community.

LG: What’s something most wouldn’t know about your job?

ZS: It requires a good amount of public speaking.

LG: What are you most looking forward to, or are excited to have at the new location?

ZS: Definitely the additional space and accessible location. Also, the opportunity to be more visible within the on-campus and public community. As I mentioned previously, this will be an exciting time as we increase our public and educational programming. The Gregg will have both outdoor and indoor spaces that will host a variety of lectures, films, music concerts, poetry readings, and public events.

LG: What’s the one piece of advice you rely on most?

ZS: Choose a career path that follows your passion.



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