ARAD Extraordinaire: Juliana Driever

Matt Bua’s Continuum Tri-Plex (with Staffs of Power), 2013. Courtesy of the artist, this photo is credit of Melissa Blackall.

Adjunct faculty member for The City University of New York, writer, curator, and alumna of Columbia University’s Department of Art History and Archaeology, Juliana Driever has joined the staff of TC this semester as the new Internship Coordinator for the Arts Administration (ARAD) program. Most departments at TC require their students to gain experience by teaching in schools throughout the city. In comparison, ARAD students are required to spend at least one semester working within an arts organization of their choosing. Whether pursuing a development position with a philharmonic society or a marketing job at a museum, Juliana’s role is to guide the ARAD students in finding educational internships that will mutually benefit both their needs and those of the organization. Juliana’s rich experience working in commercial and nonprofit art sectors since graduating from Columbia make her an ideal counsellor for aspiring arts administrators. Especially as she continues to curate exhibitions to extend her research and passion.

Last Fall Juliana curated the “About, With & For” exhibition at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA). The exhibition held in the Mills Gallery was a highly inclusive event for the artists and visitors, and focused on the theme of social engagement by featuring participatory art: art with a practical, sometimes utilitarian purpose. Much more than a standard gallery viewing, the exhibition was accompanied by a series of performances that included the contributions of musicians, visual artists, puppeteers, builders and fixers.

Honk! The Festival of Activist Street Bands, is an ongoing porject in Somersville, MA with Isaac Bell, Caleb Neelon, The Puppeteers Cooperative and Subversive Choppers Urban. Courtesy of the artists, this photo is credit of Melissa Blackall.

This Mills Gallery exhibition tried Howard Becker’s theories on separating art from craft, while inciting a reversal of Boston’s cultural progression as outlined by Paul DiMaggio. But these tenets of arts administration were indirectly challenged to the betterment of Boston’s once highly elite Brahmin society. Juliana emphasizes that she looks beyond binaries such as the insider/outsider, or high/low-brow art, to design exhibitions that are expansive. “It’s true,” she states, “that some of the works in the exhibition might not fit the traditional ways of thinking about high-toned ‘art,’ though common everyday objects and imagery have been making their way into canonical, western art history for decades.” While not intended to challenge the community’s ideas about what should or even does constitute art, undertones alluding to the current elasticity of how art is defined echo throughout the gallery.

When asked about her creative inspiration over the two years of preparation for the BCA’s “About, With & For”, Juliana mentions that “the process of designing the programming grew out of the works themselves.” Complementary events held over the course of the exhibition, such as “Fixing Sessions with the Fixers Collective,” and “Singing Pictures with Clare Dolan” were scheduled as a means to more fully bring components of the collaborative displays to life. Encouraging community participation and collective interaction, the exhibition was successful in nurturing artistic engagement in ways that many organizations strive for yet fall short of accomplishing. Juliana firmly believes that “the job of artists, curators, and any cultural producer is to hold a mirror up to the public their work engages.” She was very pleased that the exhibition succeeded in being a true reflection of the Boston community.

Mare Liberum’s What is This Hidden Wilderness, 2013. Courtesy of the artist, this photo is credit of Melissa Blackall.

As an arts administrator, Juliana describes herself as hopping “from project to project,” which can prevent anyone from being “really engrained in the cultures of the organizations that you work with.” Some administrators aspire to bond with and dedicate themselves to the mission of a single organization, whether a start-up that exemplifies their vision or an established multi-disciplinary behemoth. But getting a taste of multiple artistic organizations can enrich the professional perspective of all administrators.

By Alyssa Foster

A&H Staff Writer

– More information about Juliana’s “About, With & For” exhibition can be found in the archives of the BCA.