Graduate Spotlight: Tali Cherizli, Arts Administration

Tali Cherizli graduated in May with a Masters in Arts Administration, and subsequently began an internship at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. Prior to attending Teachers College, Tali was the Director of Film and Media at the Israeli Consulate.

You’re about to graduate, what’s next?

My immediate plan is to go work at UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for two months. Born in Israel, I am very excited about the recent hype about the Middle East; everyone’s talking about the Louvre and the Guggenheim opening in Abu Dhabi, in general it is very interesting to see what the Guggenheim is doing in terms of its global initiatives. I believe it is key today for an art administrator to have a very wide international perspective.

That sounds amazing, what will you be working on?

I wrote my thesis about development models in visual arts museums in Israel.  I’ve explored four museums and looked at what they are doing in terms of development, especially in Israel where there is no giving mentality. It’s a similar situation to many European countries where there was this tradition of government support for the arts and as a result, other mechanisms for fundraising from private sources were basically undeveloped because they didn’t need it. UNESCO offered me a two-month internship dealing with the implementation of development models, so it will be this natural process of continuing what I’ve researched thus far. I’m really looking forward to working there to see the situation in Europe and what the European Union and the UN are doing about it. How are they educating arts organizations, especially in developing countries, to self-sustain?

And after your internship, then what?

I’m going in many directions; I think that’s the same for every international student. There’s the option of going back to your home country and implementing everything you’ve studied. But, especially in our program, when you get exposed to all these cultural institutions, and especially to other people who will one day be your colleagues, I feel that unless I work here for a while in a cultural organization—in an American organization—I won’t be really fulfilling everything I think I’ve gained from the program.

Do you see yourself going back to Israel one day?

It’s funny because I was on this really clear path of graduating and then looking for a job and then working here for a few years. But I spent all of the winter break in Israel, and there is something really exciting going on there. it felt like there was so much going on—these new centers opening, talk of two museums that are now in the final stages of raising money, a new director for the Tel Aviv Museum, new foundations opening up. It does feel that there’s some new blood maybe. The prospect of going back to Israel really excites me now, being such a small country, with so much going on culture-wise is really inspiring. For me this program is really important because there aren’t such programs in Israel, in most cases it’s usually that a person comes from an arts background and through the years acquires managerial skills just from working in the field.I think it could be highly valuable for the next generation of arts administrators to have these managerial and business skills, especially in face of the recent shifts in development and funding for the arts.

What else have you gained from the program?

I think first and foremost it’s the camaraderie of the student body. We were a pretty tight unit—the Arts Admin community. It’s kind of like there’s no one else here that speaks our language. And also, being an international student, it’s great to see people—Americans, non-Americans and other international students—with that same basic passion that you’ve had all your life—people who’ve worked in the field that believe in the same ideas you believe in, in terms of what the arts can do and how programming can go an extra mile. I knew that a lot of these people are not just classmates but years later will be my future colleagues. You know that you can turn to these people at any stage of your career later on—for a job, for advice, for another view of things.