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So you want to… raise money for the arts.

Have resumes and cover letters become your (least) favorite new hobby? Times are tough out there for recent graduates and young professionals – competition is fierce and you can’t be an intern forever.  In our new blog series, So you want to…, our museum staff offers advice and inspiration for pursuing an arts career. Don’t worry– all those applications will eventually turn into an interview!

Kathryn Tufano has been the Manager of Foundation & Corporate Giving at MASS MoCA since January 2012.  She has worked in non-profit arts development for over fourteen years.  Prior to her tenure at MASS MoCA, she served as the Executive Director of the Catskill Art Society in Livingston Manor, NY and as Development Director for both Exit Art (sadly, now closed) and The New York Open Center.  In her former life, she had a twenty-plus year career as a professional modern dancer in New York City.

What is the best career advice you ever received? 

You should always have a 3-5 year plan that is constantly revised so you are always following the course that you want to be on.  Sometimes it is easy to get comfortable in a place that is not necessarily challenging you and, a few years later, you find yourself stuck.

What was a formative arts experience for you as a young person? 

I started studying dance when I was 3 years old so I always loved the ballet and, in particular, American Ballet Theatre.  When the Mikhail Baryshnikov/Gelsey Kirkland version of the “Nutcracker” aired on television in the 1970s, I was in heaven.  My mom and I swooned over the broadcast every year and when I was old enough, she took me to NYC to see it live.

What is the biggest change/shift you’ve witnessed in the museum field? 

I think that the power of art is so compelling that it needs to be experienced first-hand.  Sometimes I worry that we live in such a technological age that the world  would prefer to have a virtual experience rather than take a chance on a real one.

Fill in the blank: The future of the arts depends on clear communication and building relationships with your constituency. The formula that I have always believed in to sustain any organization is:  Great programming inspires a buzz (which translates into Marketing/PR) which, in turn, motivates people to get behind it and drives the financial support (the Development piece.)

If you could work in any other field, what would it be? Why?

I have been involved with the arts my whole life; it is hard to imagine another field! But, if I dig deep, maybe owning and running a family business – a little shop that sells my husband’s hardwood furniture and origami window shades – I guess I should talk to him about that.

Posted January 8, 2013 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Interns, Museum Education, Staff, Uncategorized
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