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Meet Risa Daniels

Exhibitions and Programs Manager
The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, USA
MA Contemporary Art, New York, 2014

Risa Daniels is currently the exhibitions and programs manager at The FLAG Art Foundation, an exhibition space for contemporary art in Chelsea, New York. Risa received her MA in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York in 2014.

What does your current role entail?

I am part of a three member nonprofit organization, I work closely with FLAG’s Director and Assistant Director to coordinate the development, implementation, and management of all aspects of FLAG’s program, including on and off-site exhibitions, public programs, and special events. My responsibilities include research, production, organizing transportation, loans and insurance, registrarial work, exhibition design, 3D modelling, and expense reports. I manage FLAG’s active intern program and am responsible for hiring, scheduling, and project management. I maintain and update FLAG’s institutional website. Additional responsibilities include researching and writing for catalogues, gallery guides, and advertisements; creating checklists, floor plans, and exhibition-related programming materials.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Working within a small staff allows me to play a large role in all aspects of FLAG’s program. It is rewarding to become such an integral part of FLAG’s day-to-day operations, especially those relating to exhibition planning and to see it come to fruition at an opening.

In what ways does the master’s degree program in Contemporary Art that you took at Sotheby’s Institute help you in your current role?

When I moved to New York City I had a very limited knowledge of contemporary arts. Sotheby’s Institute introduced me to the academic side of contemporary arts, and also, most importantly for what I do in my current position, to contemporary art institutions. Understanding how today’s art world works was a very important aspect of my SIA education.

Drawing on your own experience, what advice would you give to people hoping to start a career in the art world?

If you want to work in the NY art world, then be a part of the NY art world-go to gallery openings, read the critics, check the art blogs, learn about young artists. SIA is a really good resource because your teachers and fellow students know about new and interesting art/artists/opening/events to go to and see. Take advantage!

How did the Institute support you in your career development?

I first learned of The FLAG Art Foundation on Sotheby’s Institute career portal and interned there the summer that I was completing my thesis. That internship turned into my current position. I still use the SIA career portal when recruiting interns for FLAG.

What distinguishes New York as an art world city?

The highlight of New York as an art world city is the wealth of art that can be found everywhere. Between the world class museums, the public art projects, foundations like FLAG, and galleries, New York is the most incredible place to be surrounded by Art. I have especially come to appreciate the galleries, which is a very unique feature to New York. Because they have such a fast turnaround for shows and that they, for the most part, represent living artists, it makes them the best resource to see what is happening right now in the art world. There are very few other cities in the world where you can say the same thing about.

Where did it all begin? How did you develop your passion for art?

My grandmother is a painter and used to take me to art museums when I was younger and make me point out the different colours in the paintings. The experience stuck with me, and a few years later, after many failed attempts at learning to play various musical instruments, I decided to try drawing and painting lessons. I absolutely loved it! My passion for creating art eventually turned into a passion for learning about art which led me to SIA and then FLAG.

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