Crafting a Life in the Arts

The sixth annual Crafting a Life in the Arts will take place in Pratt Hall. This event brings together accomplished alumnae in the fields of Art Museum, Architecture, Studio Art, Art History, Creative Writing, Dance, Film, Music, and Theater to talk to students about their success in crafting a meaningful and fulfilling career in the arts. It will conclude with a networking reception and refreshments at the Rooke Theatre. Current students can register in LyonNet.

The keynote will be given by Jennifer Kyker '02, assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and has received both Fulbright and Fulbright-Hays fellowships in support of her research.

In addition to her scholarship, Jennifer founded the nonprofit organization Tariro, which educates teenaged girls in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Her recent publications include articles in Ethnomusicology (2013) and Ethnomusicology Forum (2014). Additional details on the other panelists at cdc/cala.

This event is sponsored by the InterArts Council, the MHC Architectural Studies Program, Department of Art and Art History, Department of English, Department of Dance, the Film Studies Program, Department of Music, Department of Theatre Arts, MHC Art Museum, Office of the Dean of the College, and the Career Development Center.

Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Kyker '02 - Music

Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Eastman School of Music, The University of Rochester

Photo of Jennifer Kyker

Jennifer W. Kyker is assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and has received both Fulbright and Fulbright-Hays fellowships in support of her research.

In addition to her scholarship, Jennifer founded the nonprofit organization Tariro, which educates teenaged girls in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS ( Her recent publications include articles in Ethnomusicology (2013) and Ethnomusicology Forum (2014).

Aviva Galaski '11 - Architectural Studies

Designer/Intern Architect, Kraus Fitch Architects

Photo of Aviva Galaski

Aviva Galaski is a designer at Kraus Fitch Architects in Amherst. After graduating from Mount Holyoke with a major in Architectural Studies and a minor in Environmental Studies, she completed a Master in Architecture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Her Master’s thesis, entitled “Sustaining Community: A New Social, Economic, and Environmental Path for Ware, MA,” examined how architecture can act as a catalyst for social redevelopment of struggling local communities. This passion for the connection between architectural design and community organization is also the focus of her work with Kraus Fitch Architects, including the development of the forthcoming Village Hill Cohousing community in Northampton.

Heather Hyde Minor '93 - Art History

Associate Professor of Art History, University of Notre Dame

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Heather Hyde Minor is associate professor of art history at the University of Notre Dame. A specialist in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century art, her most recent book is Piranesi's Lost Words (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015).

Heather has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Her book, The Culture of Architecture in Enlightenment Rome (Penn State Press, 2010), won the 2010 Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian History and the 2013 honorable mention for the Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians.

Margaret (Murray) Trenis ' 07 - Art Museum

Senior Manager, Sotheby's

Photo of Margaret Murray Trenis

Margaret Trenis joined Sotheby’s in 2014 as a Senior Manager in the Valuations Department. Ms. Trenis serves as a primary contact for fiduciaries, private clients, curators and other arts professionals. In her role, she leads complex valuation projects prepared for estate tax and planning, charitable contribution, gift tax, collateral loan, collection management and insurance purposes.

Prior to joining Sotheby’s, Ms. Trenis worked with two major art appraisal and advisory firms in New York. She is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College and holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies.

Paola Di Tolla '09 - Art Studio

Graduate Student, Hunter College

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Paola Di Tolla graduated in 2009. She is a mixed media artist focusing on installation and performance. Born in Honduras and raised in Costa Rica, she currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and is an MFA candidate at Hunter College. You may find more of her work at

Amy Richardson Timberlake '89 - Creative Writing


Photo of Amy Timberlake

Amy Timberlake's work has received the American Library Association’s Newbery Honor, the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’s Golden Kite Award.

Her most recent book, One Came Home, was called "a True Grit for the middle school set" by Bookpage, "a valentine to sisterhood and a bird that no longer exists" by The Washington Post, and "a rare gem of a novel" by The Christian Science Monitor. In addition, Lifeline Theatre (Chicago) has adapted both One Came Home  and The Dirty Cowboy for the stage.

Amy has also received residency fellowships from Hedgebrook and The Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1989. To this day, she feels grateful for the way the faculty and staff at MHC challenged and encouraged her. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband. For more information go to

Jessica Edkins '07 - Dance

Senior Producer, Performance Space 122

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Jess Edkins joined the staff of Performance Space 122 as part of inaugural Creative Producer program in 2011 and became the Senior Producer in 2015. At PS122, she oversaw all programmatic activities throughout New York City while PS122’s historic East Village building underwent a much needed gut renovation, including the critically acclaimed COIL festival each January and the PS122 Global touring program in France, Australia, Croatia and Estonia. In 2014, she created and curated the RAMP program, a yearly residency and commissioning program for emerging NYC-based performance artists.

Prior to PS122, she was the Producing Assistant in the Performance Department on the Whitney Museum of American Art and was lead producer for Christian Marclay: Festival and Elizabeth Streb’s ASCENSION. As a freelance producer she has worked with French Institute Alliance Français, Greene Space, Joyce Soho and is currently a consultant for Paval Zustiak/Palissimo and Joanna Kotze. She holds a Masters degree in Performing Arts Administration from New York University and a bachelors degree, magna cum laude, in Dance and Art History from Mount Holyoke College.

In February 2016, she will be the Program Manager, Artist Residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Margaret Knoerzer '10 - Film Studies

Educator, Museum of the Moving Image; Teaching Artist and Instructor, The Good School

Photo of Margaret Knoerzer

Margaret Knoerzer is currently employed by the Museum of the Moving Image as an Educator and after school animation instructor, and also by The Good School as a Teaching Artist and Instructor in animation. In her role as educator Margaret delivers educational programs including guided tours, workshops, and screening programs to student groups of all needs and abilities, grades 4 through college, as well as adults and senior citizens.

After graduating from Mount Holyoke in 2010, Margaret spent several months working as a production assistant on various projects in the New York City area. In order to improve her production skills, she took classes in digital filmmaking at New York Film Academy. In the Spring of 2011, Margaret enrolled at the University at Buffalo for her Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Media Studies.

In May of 2013, she started working at Reel Works Teen filmmaking, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization that works with teenagers to tell their stories through film. Margaret assisted in an administrative capacity but also supervised of all the student-run activities at Reel Works. The daily interactions with teens led Margaret to realize that she wanted to work within the fields of both film and education.

Bonnie Panson '74 - Theatre Arts

Broadway Stage Manager

Photo of Bonnie Panson

Bonnie Panson has been a professional stage manager in New York City since 1976. After twenty-five Broadway shows, numerous off-Broadway and regional productions, Bonnie still credits her Mount Holyoke College theatre major training under Jim Cavanaugh as the key to her success.


Her most recent USA tour of EVITA was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with MHC theatre friends and guest lecture at BFA/MFA Stage Management programs all across the county. At home, she is an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of the Arts in the Stage Management MFA program, happily teaching courses in complex cue calling.

Currently, she is the Production Stage Manager of TRIP OF LOVE, an Off-Broadway musical. Other Off Broadway credits include A NEW BRAIN at Lincoln Center and THE LAST FIVE YEARS, directed by its composer, Jason Robert Brown. Bonnie hopes that her next Broadway musical will be AMELIE, the world premiere of which she stage managed at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, slated for next season.

She is the very proud mother of Jenny Spicola, MHC ‘15, Dance & Spanish major, who is presently working for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School as the House Director for their high school full-time program.