Cathy Breslaw's Installation

Cathy Breslaw's Installation
Cathy Breslaw's Installation:Dreamscape

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Behind the Scenes Conversations: Interview with Vivienne Esrig, Deputy Director, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego

Vivienne Esrig joined the staff of the Museum of Photographic Arts in July, 2012.  In our interview I learned about what has driven her career and what eventually brought her to relocate from Boston to San Diego.
Vivienne Esrig

Esrig was born and raised in the Boston area but she has spent considerable amounts of time in Calfornia. In the 1980’s, she moved with her parents to the Bay Area where she received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and a minor, in Arts Management from San Jose State University.  Esrig explained that she originally wanted to become an artist but because of the practicalities of earning a living, her parents urged her to focus on business.  While in college, Esrig interned at the San Jose Museum of Art where she was able to observe how museums operate. After working in the administrative offices of the museum and being mentored by the Executive Director at the time, she was hired part time as Assistant Director to run the capital campaign to raise money. Simultaneously,  Esrig attended Golden Gate University where she received an MBA in Arts Managment, - her masters thesis centered around evaluating the museum and developing a structured plan for operations.  After  completing her MBA, and missing the east coast where she was raised, Esrig decided to move back to Boston where she was hired as the Arts Administrator at the Harvard Art Museums. 

Mopa Current Exhibition:Strange Beauty,
Ruud van Empel
After a few years employed by the museum, Esrig moved over to work at Harvard Medical School,’s Department of Psychiatry where she felt there were more opportunities.  She ran the department of Psychiatry for several years and was subsequently hired to be the Director of Administration and Operations at Harvard Medical School’s New England Primate Research Center. She also served as the Director of Finance and worked in the same capacity for the Massachusetts Mental Health Center of Boston.

During her years in Boston, Esrig developed a strong passion for political activism. She was Treasurer for 20 years for the National Organization for Women and was involved in many womens rights issues, among them, the struggles at the time to keep womens’ clinics open. She commented on her sadness that there are no longer any womens clinics in Boston.  On the personal side, Esrig is the primary caregiver to an unwell spouse and her parents are Holocaust survivors.  Perhaps these factors fueled her commitment to pursuing a job with a social justice component. After 20 years as an administrator in the medical field, Esrig wanted a change. Eager to work for a mission driven organization that would need a strong business person, Esrig set out to find a position where her strong finance background would help provide services to those in need and one where her museum management skills would come into play. Through a colleague at Harvard, Esrig found the opening at the Museum of Photographic Arts.

Mopa Summer Photography Camps for Children
Esrig explained that when she was interviewed at MOPA, she was “blown away” because the job offered a synergy she felt between her business skills, museum background and the fact that the museum itself offers several programs that serve the community. The Museum of Photographic Arts offers a program called “Exposure”that goes into Title 1 schools where they teach photography,  and another program called “Sepia” provides staff that visit senior centers, serving especially those with severe Dementia and Alzheimers and teaches them photography as well. Other programs include childrens' summer photography camps.

Esrig commented that MOPA, as many museums today, are struggling with financial issues and it is her primary job to run the fiscal aspects of the museum.  She is currently working with the San Diego County Fair, the Photo Video Expo West and other events in the San Diego area to build more exposure and outreach for the museum.  Despite all the challenges, it is clear that Vivienne Esrig’s passion for the museum and its community programs, together with her business acumen, will result in success for the San Diego community and the Museum of Photographic Arts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fascinating Ted Talk on "Creativity"

The subject of "creativity" has seemingly been beaten to death by a multitude of people in a ton of books, etc... However this link to a recent Ted Talk is really interesting!
Here is the link:

Julie Burstein: 4 lessons in creativity

Behind the Scenes Conversations: Ed Fosmire, Deputy Director, Laguna Museum of Art, Laguna Beach,CA

Ed Fosmire is Deputy Director of Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California. I first met Ed while he was Executive Director at the Oceanside Museum of Art and I was installing my exhibition there in the fall of 2011. My impression was that he had his hand in all aspects of the life of the museum, and I wanted to learn more about what led him to this point in his career.

Fosmire was born and raised in southern California. His parents owned and operated a restaurant where they spent long hours, often leaving Ed and his twin brother home with what he described as lots of time to create and make things out of art materials. They painted, and drew comic strips, created characters and re-created scenes from movies. Fosmire describes his aunt who collected Native American art, as having been a huge influence on his interest in the arts. Over the years, she often took he and his brother to museums. He reported that his big moment of “falling in love with museums” came in 1977, when his aunt took them to see the King Tut exhibition at LACMA.  Only 10 yrs. old at the time, he saw the long lines around the block and wondered why everyone was standing and waiting to see a museum but once inside he was completely mesmerized by the objects in the exhibition. Though he enjoyed making art as a kid, he knew this wasn’t the path he wanted to take. Fosmire attended Cal State, Long Beach where he studied art history and while he didn’t know which direction he wanted to take, he met Professor Ingrid Aall from Norway, who taught his classes in Asian Art History. He became fascinated with Asian art.  He eventually took an interest in Indian art and after he received his BA in Art History, he travelled to India to study further. Fosmire then decided to study for his MA in Art History and Professor Aall continued on as his graduate school advisor.
Low Rider exhibition, Oceanside Museum of Art
 After receiving his masters degree, Fosmire was offered a teaching position at Santa Ana College as an
Asian Art History instructor. He then went on to head up educational programming, hiring and administration at the Irvine Fine Art Center. Simultaneously, he worked at Orange County Museum of Art handling educational projects including the training and supervising of docents, as well as fundraising and writing grants. Following this experience, Fosmire worked for the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles and headed up their educational programming.  He was later asked to head up the Arts Council in Long Beach, which gave grants to organizations and artists and subsequently was hired to work at the Long Beach Museum of Art, where he was primarily involved in marketing, development and fundraising. 

Having received training and experience in marketing, administration, fundraising, grant writing and educational programming, together with his experience as a college instructor in Art History, Fosmire became the top choice for Executive Director at the Oceanside Museum of Art. During his two year stint at OMA, Fosmire is most proud of an educational program called “Art Quest” which he pioneered there.  This program, which is part of a four year grant, brings all fifth grade Oceanside students to the museum for a tour, a pre and post visit and hands on activity, all of which meets the guidelines of the state’s curriculum. Fosmire was also heavily involved in bringing both the “Low Rider” and “Facing West/Looking East” exhibitions to the museum. He collaborated with curator Richard Turner, a colleague at Chapman University, in reviewing and selecting artists for Facing West/Looking East.
Facing West/Looking East, Oceanside Museum of Art

Due to family considerations, Fosmire reluctantly decided not to renew his contract at OMA and took a position as Deputy Director of Laguna Beach Art Museum. In his short time at this museum, Fosmire says his focus is on fundraising, building memberships, educational programming and reaching out to the community.  He also informed me about the Edward H. and Evan J. Boseker Fund, which are funds recently received by the museum for framing and conservation efforts for the permanent collection which houses a great deal of early California art. In addition to Deputy Director, Fosmire continues teaching Asian Art Studies at Chapman University.