NYC Art Educator Interview #4: Laura Craft
The field of Art Education is large and encompasses everything from art teachings in traditional schools, to teaching artists, to museum educators, to administrators in art education non-profits. There are different paths that one can take to get to these positions. This informal interview is designed to help share the knowledge, experience and expertise of those currently working in arts education positions around NYC with current graduate students in Art Education programs in NYC!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do in the field of Art Education.
I am a visual artist and arts educator. I have been in the field of art education for the past seven years and have spent the last two and a half as the Coordinator of Family Programs at the Rubin Museum of Art. As Family Programs Coordinator, I manage, develop, document, and implement all programs for families at the Museum. It’s an incredible pleasure to spend my work days combining two of my passions – art and education.
Q: Where are you originally from and how did you end up in New York City?
I am originally from Ocean Springs, MS. I moved to NYC 13 years ago, immediately after I finished undergrad. I chose NYC because it was the best city for art and I landed an internship at Jane Magazine (in the design department) in the summer of 2002.
Q: Where did you attend school (undergraduate and graduate)? What were your majors?
I attended undergraduate school at Appalachian State University, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. I attended graduate school at City College, receiving a Master of Arts in Art Education.
Q: And how did your major/school affect your career in art education?
I did change careers when I was about 28, shifting from graphic design work to art education, but I’ve always made my own art and had an art background. The teaching part seemed to come pretty naturally, as I come from a family of teachers! I got into museum education while in graduate school, because our program director had worked in museums and encouraged us to do some volunteer and observation hours in other environments (besides schools). I really fell in love with the work and made it my mission to get a job at a museum.
Q: Are you doing what you thought you would be doing when you were in college?
No, after undergrad, I thought I’d stick with graphic design. It was not until half way through grad school that I shifted from wanting to work in schools to wanting to work in museums. It seemed to all work out though. My six years of experience working in schools really seemed to help support my current work in museums. It’s nice to have a versatile background – I think it’s an asset.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow the same career path?
Volunteer, network, join NYCMER, and be persistent!
Q: What do you do when you’re not educating?
I do my very best to make my own visual art. Sometimes I am more productive than others. I have also dabbled in curating group art shows, which I hope to do more of. My own personal work can be seen at http://lauradcraft.blogspot.com. I also DJ occasionally on the weekends, which I find fun because I get to be a curator of music!
Q: Any last words of wisdom to share with current art education graduate students in NYC?
Again, BE PERSISTENT. Any volunteer work you can do or people that you can meet will be very helpful to you and your career. NYC is an extremely competitive place, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the job you want at first. Keep your confidence and keep doing as much as you can to stay involved in your work.
Thank you Laura C!!