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. As the seventh installment of Staff Connections and in celebration of Bike Month, we’re going to be introduced to Talia Shulze, a frequent bike rider to the museum and the Assistant Manager of Media Relations!
RMA: What is your title and what do YOU do here at the Museum?
My title is ‘Assistant Manager of Media Relations’ which entails everything from writing and sending out press releases, responding to requests for information or images, coordinating and supervising photo or film shoots in the Museum, event publicity, organizing copy for our monthly email newsletter, and also managing the Museum’s main social media accounts. A little bit of this, that, and the other.
RMA: Where are you originally from and how did you end up at the Rubin?
My family lives in Pennsylvania where I grew up. I attended the Sculpture program at Virginia Commonwealth University, and have a fairly hodgepodge resume. Most of my professional experience before coming here was in public relations, art galleries and some nonprofit management; it turned out to be a great match for the job in terms of skills. I was referred to the position by a coworker in the development department.
RMA: What is your favorite thing about your job?
It’s been a crash course in Himalayan Art! I find new things to learn about every time an exhibition opens. New York is the museum capital of the country and the Rubin Museum is the only museum in North America that deals specifically with the Himalayas, I’m working with professionals who are at the top of their field in every aspect.
RMA: How long does it take for you to bike to work?
It’s about 40 minutes each way and 12 miles round trip. If I didn’t have to deal with the Williamsburg Bridge my commute would be much shorter. It’s a pretty steep bridge.
RMA: What is your least favorite thing about riding your bike to work every day?
I have to be choosier about my work clothes, a lot of times if I feel that I need to have a more professional appearance for a meeting or event I won’t bike because I want to look more put together. Cyclists who aren’t mindful of others, either because they’re aggressive, or because they think bikes really can go wherever also irk me when I’m trying to get to work in the morning. It’s super important to be respectful, and also to be predictable on a bike. The ultimate worst aspect of biking is I can’t catch up on reading the New Yorker, but I could if I took the subway to work.
RMA: What is your favorite part about riding to work every day?
When I get to the top of the Williamsburg Bridge and I can see the skyline from LES to Midtown over the East River before having to face reality/traffic on Delancey Street.
RMA: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow the same career path?
I knew that the Rubin Museum had to be a great place to work because a friend reached out to me about applying this position, but networking is key, if I hadn’t put it out there that I was looking for work, maybe they wouldn’t have thought of me at all. If you have friends who work in museums talk to them about what they do, and ask if they can pass along job postings. I also feel that it’s important to have things going on besides your job. It can be something career oriented, or something that takes you in a totally different direction. I’m an artist [taliapearl.tumblr.com] and ultimately it’s more important in the long run that I feel fulfilled through my studio practice. That doesn’t mean that I am not serious about what I do at the Museum at all, but I love that I have that to go home to.
RMA: If you could travel anywhere in the Himalayas where would you go and why?
I hear Mount Everest is a cool place to visit, especially in the winter. I like to be in nature a lot, it would be nice to hike Manaslu if I ever get the opportunity.
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