Crafting a Life in the Arts

Considering an artistic career? Wondering how to craft a meaningful lifestyle? Want insider information on finding opportunities and connecting with established professionals? Join a campus-wide dialogue with established and emerging artists!

This event brings together accomplished alumnae in the fields of Art Museum, Architecture, Studio Art, Art History, Creative Writing, Dance, Film, Music, and Theatre to talk to you about their success in crafting a meaningful and fulfilling career in the arts.

Schedule of Events

12:30-1:00 pm: Check-in and Registration (Art Museum Lobby) 
1:00-1:30 pm: Panelist Introductions (Gamble Auditorium) 
1:45-2:45 pm: Session 1: Disciplinary Discussion Panels
  » Art History/Art Studio/Art Museum/Architecture (Gamble Auditorium)
  » Film Studies/Creative Writing (Art 220)
  » Music/Theatre/Dance (Art 221)
3:00-4:00 pm: Session 2: Topics Discussion Panels
  » Finding/making your community (Art 219)
  » Is grad school right for me? (Art 220)
  » Connecting the arts to other fields (Art 221)
4:00-5:00 pm: Refreshments and Networking Reception (Art Museum Lobby)

Discussion Panel Descriptions

Connecting the Arts to Other Fields
Panelists: Mollie Fredricksen and Zab Johnson
Dance and physical therapy, music and neuroscience, theatre arts and law, a life in the arts often leads to unique paths of study and career. Join our panelists who will answer questions and offer insights of crafting their lives in the arts—and beyond.

Finding/Making Your Community
Panelists: Anna Driftmier, Tanya Fonseca, Sarah Wentworth, and Rose Nestler
Stepping beyond the gates of Mount Holyoke often involves the daunting experience of relocation. How can I find a stimulating arts community? What active steps can I take to engage in a dynamic local arts scene? Our panelists share their experiences and advice on negotiating the move from the familiar to the new.

Is Grad School Right for Me?
Panelists: Courtney Long, Gina Ciralli, and Callam Angus
After four years at Mount Holyoke, are your only options waiting tables or grad school and a future of more exams, even longer papers, and too much coffee? Our panelists explore the question, “Now what?" Their experiences reflect a range of choices that will help you decide if grad school is right, when is it right, and what type of program is right.

Tanya Fonseca '08, AICP - Architectural Studies

Urban Planner, GRAEF

Photo of Tanya Fonseca

Tanya Fonseca ’08 is a Montana native and works as an urban planner in Milwaukee, WI. She holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in New York City and holds memberships with the American Institute of Certified Planners and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

While attending Mount Holyoke College, Fonseca majored in Architectural Studies and minored in History. She spent her junior year abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad where she studied Architecture and Design. It was in Copenhagen where she fell in love with urban planning. Activities at Mount Holyoke included hosting radio shows at WMHC 91.5fm, serving as the radio station Program Director, working as a Collections Management Assistant at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, making lifelong friends, and making the usual trouble around campus.

Fonseca currently lives in Milwaukee, WI, where she moved to focus on community and economic development in a struggling mid-sized city working to re-industrialize and desegregate. She currently practices as an urban planning consultant at a mid-sized employee-owned engineering and planning firm, where she collaborates with the staff and leadership of local municipalities throughout Wisconsin on design and economic development projects.

Gina Ciralli '04 - Art History

Regional Administrator, Sotheby’s Mid-Atlantic

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Gina Ciralli grew up in Connecticut and entered Mount Holyoke as an English major in 2010. After a freshmen seminar on ancient coins, she declared an Art History major and held curatorial internships at the New Britain Museum of American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. Upon graduation, she worked at an art advisory firm in New York City where she assisted in private sales of American and Contemporary works.

From there, Ciralli relocated to Pennsylvania for a project management position at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where she organized outdoor exhibitions for two years.  Today, Ciralli works for an international auction house where she coordinates consignments and appraisals of fine and decorative arts. She will graduate in May 2018 with an M.S. in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and enjoys photography, cats, and baking in her spare time.

Courtney Skipton Long '07, PhD - Art Museum

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Paintings and Sculpture, Yale Center for British Art

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Dr. Courtney Skipton Long received her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College (2007), and her MA (2009) and PhD (2016) from the University of Pittsburgh. Long’s interests range from the medieval to the nineteenth century with a particular focus on architecture, architectural sculpture, the intersection of architectural history and natural science during the Gothic Revival in Britain. She has held curatorial and research internships at Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge, MA), the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, PA), the Victoria and Albert Museum (London); and the Florence Griswold Museum (Old Lyme, CT). In 2016-17, she was the Zvi Grunberg Postdoctoral Fellow at the Bruce Museum (Greenwich, CT).

Long has curated several exhibitions, including a display of prints and drawings titled Pugin, Prisons, and the Plight of the Poor at the Huntington Library (San Marino, CA); Canvas and Cast, an exhibition of paintings and sculpture from the permanent collection at the Bruce Museum; and Spring into Summer with Andy Warhol and Friends, which she co-curated with Professor Kenneth Silver, Professor at New York University and Adjunct Curator at the Bruce Museum. Long holds the Treasurer and Membership Chair position on the board of the Historians of British Art (HBA), and served as the Editor of the HBA newsletter.

In addition to studying art history and working in museums, Long also received an Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Lake Institute on Faith and Giving in 2015 while working as the Director of Development for the Pittsburgh Oratory. Following two years of fundraising, Long became a core team member of the startup company, My Class Gift and helped to establish the company’s senior class gift crowd-funding model at colleges and universities across the Country.

Rose Nestler '05 - Art Studio

Artist and Educator

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Originally from Seattle, Washington, Rose Nestler currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York where she recently received her MFA degree from Brooklyn College and has a BA in Fine Arts and Art History from Mount Holyoke College. She now works as a Teaching Artist for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Blue School and Brooklyn Arts Council. In 2017 she was a Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship nominee and a Brooklyn College Graduate Teaching Fellow.

Nestler's work has been exhibited at a variety of galleries including, Underdonk, Smack Mellon, CRUSH Curatorial, UrbanGlass, Causey Contemporary, and CUCHIFRITOS Gallery and Project Space. Most recently she has exhibited work at L.O.G. in Chapel Hill, NC and Beverly’s Pop-Up at Good Weather Gallery in Little Rock, AK. In January 2018 she had her first solo show at Ortega Y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn, NY. Nestler has been an artist-in-residence at Chashama Workspace Program, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and Byrdcliffe Artists Colony.  

Dr. Margaret (Mollie) Frederiksen '13, PT, DPT - Dance

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Dance/Biology/Pre-Med

Photo of Margaret (Mollie) Frederiksen

Doctor Margaret “Mollie” Frederiksen had been studying dance since the age of 3, eventually choosing to major in dance at Mount Holyoke College. Her experiences as a dancer with injuries, as well as an internship with a physical therapist for the Boston Ballet School, pushed her to pursue a career in physical therapy.

Initially intending to work with student dancers and athletes, Frederiksen entered the Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, from which she graduated in January of 2017. While engaged in her graduate studies, she discovered a passion for working with children. Currently, Frederiksen combines her love of dance with her profession as a Doctor of Physical Therapy by working with children with special needs through Easter Seals of Massachusetts and as a staff physical therapist for the Boston Ballet Adaptive Dance Program. She is a member of both the American Physical Therapy Association and the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, and volunteers her time within the Boston dance community as both a dancer and a physical therapist. 

Callum Angus '11 - English

Writer, Teacher, Bookseller

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Callum Angus graduated in 2011 and took a reporting internship with a weekly newspaper in Driggs, Idaho. After that, he relocated to Portland, Maine where he worked as a science writer for a nonprofit, a legal researcher for a law firm, a fishmonger, a barista, and a counselor for a transgender youth. During this time, he also launched nin journal, a poetry journal devoted to publishing queer poetics, and decided to apply for graduate school in creative writing.

In 2014, Angus started his MFA in creative writing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was a Diversity Fellow with the Writing Program and taught creative writing, literature, and composition as a Teaching Associate. After returning to the Pioneer Valley, Callum also worked as an Assistant Director for the Juniper Summer Writing Institute and an English instructor for Northfield Mount Hermon Upward Bound. Since graduating in May 2017, Callum has been a 2017 Lambda Literary Emerging LGBT Writer Fellow, and has taught English at Smith College. You'll also find him working as a bookseller at the Odyssey Bookshop.

Sarah Wentworth '11 - Film Studies

Production Technician/Media Specialist, Vermont PBS

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Sarah Wentworth graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2011, with a film studies major and politics minor. After graduating, she pursued screenwriting and low-budget narrative filmmaking while working various customer service jobs. In 2012, Wentworth transitioned to freelancing full time as a video producer/editor for companies in the western Massachusetts area.

Besides filmmaking, Wentworth enjoys drawing, printmaking, and cartooning. Her cartoons have appeared in ‘Pioneer Magazine’, a small publication out of Umass Amherst.

In 2016, she worked as a cinematographer on several short MFA theses in Vermont and New York City. She worked at Mount Holyoke College in LITS from 2013-2017 and attended the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in film from fall 2016 through spring 2017.

Since April 2017, she’s worked at Vermont PBS as a Production Technician/Multimedia Specialist. In her spare time, she pursues freelance video production and animation. She currently lives in Burlington, Vermont.

Elizabeth "Zab" Johnson '94 - Music

Executive Director and Senior Fellow, Wharton Neuroscience Initiative, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Photo of Zab Johnson

Elizabeth (Zab) Johnson has spent the last decade forging innovative connections between different fields, which she credits to her formative experiences at Mount Holyoke, where she first combined her love of music and science. Johnson majored in Psychobiology at MHC, an interdepartmental major predating Neuroscience and Behavior, and was one course shy of a double major in music. Her senior thesis at MHC was an analysis of John Cage’s Six Melodies for Violin and Keyboard.

After earning her Ph.D. in Neural Science at New York University, Johnson began her professional career at Duke University, where she helped launch and build the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS), an interdisciplinary institute bridging the neurosciences to the rest of the university and was also on the faculty in the School of Medicine’s Neurobiology Department. At DIBS, she developed the Institute’s strategic plan, managed a large administrative staff and a multimillion-dollar annual budget, and brought together a community of academics from different fields, perspectives, and expertise to strengthen research, education, and outreach.

In 2016, she was recruited to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to launch and serve as Senior Fellow and Executive Director for a new initiative at the intersection of business and brain science (The Wharton Neuroscience Initiative). Johnson’s research focuses on vision and visual behavior, and she has a long-time interest in how our perception of visual art informs how we see. She is developing a course at Wharton about vision and attention for advertising and marketing.

Laakan McHardy '16 - Theatre

Professional Actor, Understudy for THE WOLVES at Lincoln Center

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Laakan McHardy is a theatre maker currently residing in New York City. Originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica, McHardy began her studies at Mount Holyoke in 2012, eventually double-majoring in Theatre Arts and Psychology. McHardy regularly performed in productions on the Rooke Theatre stage, namely as the title characters in Macbeth, and Lysistrata, Garcin in No Exit, Ligurio in The Mandrake, Orsino in Twelfth Night and Hector in Heartbreak House. After graduating, she joined the Professional Training Company at Actors Theatre of Louisville as an Acting Apprentice. Most recently, McHardy understudied the roles of #2, #8, #11 and #00 in Sarah DeLappe’s Pulitzer Prize Finalist play, The Wolves, at Lincoln Center Theater. She is represented by Wolf Talent Group.
Acting credits include — NYC Theatre (Off-Broadway): The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe / dir. Lila Neugebauer (Lincoln Center Theater). Regional TheatreMacbeth / dir. Les Waters; The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield by Jeff Augustin, Sarah DeLappe, Claire Kiechel and Ramiz Monsef / dir. Eric Hoff; Midsummer’s Eve by Emily Feldman / dir. Krissy Vanderwarker; Gratuitous Nudity and the Undisclosed Costs of Questioning Surveillance Rather Than Bad Broccoli by A. Rey Pamatmat / dir. Sammy Zeisel (Actors Theatre of Louisville). ReadingsThe Hrosvitha Project - Project Y Women in Theatre Festival / dir. Rachel Dart.

Anna Driftmier '12 - Theatre

Set and Costume Designer

Photo of Anna Driftmier

Anna is a set and costume designer whose work extends across the USA and Europe. She actively collaborates with a wide range of artists to produce visually powerful, genre-breaking new and revived pieces of work.

Theatre design includes: Golden Boy (Gelsey Kirkland Art Center); What Does It Feel Like to Grow Up (Planta Baja); Dolphins and Sharks (Finborough Theatre); Terezin (Playwrights Horizons); Paper Hearts (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); Trident Moon (Finborough Theatre); Radioman (Old Red Lion Theatre); The Taming of the Shrew (Above the Arts); Valkyrie (Waterloo Vaults); The Legacy (Hope Theatre); Uncommon Women and Others (Rooke Theatre).

Opera design includes: A Village Romeo and Juliet (New Sussex Opera); Dust Child (English Touring Opera); The Dowager's Oyster (Grimeborn); Seven Velvet Suites (BasicSpace); East O' the Sun West O' the Moon (Tête à Tête), Transfigured Night (Guildhall School of Music & Drama).

Production design includes: November, Nation Down, The Nude Model, Sunburn.

As an assistant, Driftmier has worked with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Signature Theatre, Punchdrunk, Bristol Old Vic, Trafalgar Studios 2, Southwark Playhouse, and Theatre503.

She holds an MA in Performance Design and Practise from Central Saint Martins and a Technical Theatre Diploma from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She received a BA in Classics and Theatre from Mount Holyoke College. While there she was awarded the Margaret Davis Stitt Prize for Excellence in Theatre.