Running a museum takes a whole team of professionals whose different skills help make the Rubin Museum of Art one of the premiere places to visit. To get to know us a little more, and to explore different careers in the arts, each month we will be asking a Museum staffer/intern to answer six questions about their position at the Museum, their favorite artworks or exhibitions on display in the museum and other personal attributes. For the fourteenth installment of we’re going to be introduced to Laura Craft, Coordinator of Family Programs.
RMA: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at the Rubin Museum.
I am the Coordinator of Family Programs here at the Rubin Museum of Art, which means that with the help of the Youth and Family Team, I coordinate, develop, implement, and teach all Family Programs – including Yak Packers, Family Sundays, Family Art Labs, Pre-School Workshops, birthday parties, and Families Together partnerships.
RMA: Where are you originally from and how did you end up at the Rubin?
I am originally from Ocean Springs Mississippi, spent my undergraduate experience in North Carolina, and have been happily in New York City for the past 12 years. About six years ago I began work as a teaching artist with LEAP and, after becoming certified in 2011, I worked as an art teacher for the NYC DOE (Department of Education) and then began my career here at the Rubin Museum in 2012. I originally found out about the Rubin by attending one of the Red Book talks with David Byrne. I am a huge David Byrne fan, so there was no question that I’d be front and center at that talk. After attending the program, there was just something that stayed in my memory about the Rubin. Throughout my art teaching career in schools, I volunteered with several museums and museum education was something that kept calling my name, so I applied for a position here in Family Programs and I am gratefully still here today.
RMA:What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on at the Museum?
Oh, I am so excited to talk about the new programs we have in Family Programs! Family Sundays, which you’ve probably already heard of by now, is our newest addition to Family Programming. It’s a weekly drop-in program that happens every Sunday and really gives families a day to call their own at the Rubin Museum. It’s very exciting because we’ve never had a day of the week dedicated to families here at this museum. An upcoming event that the Education Staff is planning is a community day, which will hopefully be happening on Sunday, July 20th. I am very excited about the potential of this event, but it’s not a set event yet, so I’ll hold off on providing any further info.
RMA: Out of all the current exhibitions at the Rubin Museum, which one is your favorite?
This is a hard one, but my favorite is probably Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine, because I have an interest in Eastern medical treatments. I, myself, am an avid acupuncture goer and have taken Chinese herbs for past ailments with great healing success. It’s such a great exhibition, because it introduces people to the ideologies behind Tibetan Medicine, the practices, and the artwork is really stunning.
RMA: What’s the most interesting or unusual thing you’ve experienced working at the Rubin Museum?
This past March I did an interview with the New York Times about our Losar Family Day. It was the first time my name has ever been in the Times and hopefully it won’t be the last. Having any of our great Family Programs mentioned in the Times is an honor. I am hoping a Family Sundays write-up will be next!
RMA: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow the same career path?
Get a master’s degree because it’s an important qualification in this field. Do a museum education internship and/or volunteer as much as possible. Joining NYCMER is a great idea too for networking and professional developments. Being persistent helps too – it’s a competitive field, so don’t be discouraged when it doesn’t work out the first time. Keep trying and it will happen!
RMA: What do you do when you’re not at the Rubin Museum?
I love to draw, paint, and sculpt. I also have several friends with children, so have been known to give some impromptu art lessons here and there. My personal artwork can be seen at http://lauradcraft.blogspot.com
RMA: If you could travel anywhere in the Himalayas where would you go and why?
I very recently got back from Nepal and absolutely loved it, so I’d love to be able to go back there at some point. A place I’d like to visit next is the Tibetan Region – to see and explore all that I possibly can! Maybe on my next trip…