Where are they now?
Talking with Mary Tinti, Curator at the Fitchburg Art Museum and 2000 graduate with a dual major in Art History and Humanities
What was your most unexpected learning experience during your time at Bert Gallery?
I vividly remember being asked to go through a random box of James Drummond Herbert sketches and artist materials. The goal was to separate out the trash from the treasure. I was so naïve at the time, I didn’t realize that Herbert’s pencil drawings on sketchbook paper should not be put in the trash pile! I mistakenly thought these studies – lovely though they were – simply were like “first drafts” that naturally would get tossed once the real paintings were complete. Cathy laughed when she saw my piles and patiently, graciously taught me that the marks of an artist, no matter how preliminary, were creative gestures to be cherished and shared.
What were your favorite and your least favorite part of the internship?
My favorite part of the internship was chatting with the people who came through the door….answering questions about the art on display or the artists represented by the gallery. My least favorite part? I can’t really think of one. Even if you weren’t thrilled to be doing something, you likely weren’t doing it for that long before you were on to the next cool project.
Who was your best-loved PC professor and why?
Each of the professors in the Art History Department was very good to me and I learned so much about art and life from them all. But Dr. Deborah Johnson most directly shaped my thinking and personal development at the time, and continues to be a much-admired mentor and friend.
In college, who was your most admired artist or work of art? Who is your favorite artist or work of art now?
In my early years in the art history department, I remember being obsessed with Turner’s The Slave Ship (1840), contemporary artist Liza Lou, Italian artist Alighiero e Boetti, as well as anything related to the work of Jackson Pollock. There will always be a special place in my heart for those artists/works that first spoke to me during my art historical journey at PC. Today, I find that my favorite artists are too many to name, too diverse in style to put in just one category. At FAM, I have the great fortune of working with immensely talented contemporary artists in New England – each of whom becomes my new favorite as we work together towards an exhibition.
Five years from now, Mary looks forward to having helped transform the Fitchburg Art Museum into a vibrant community art museum and a sought-out space for innovative New England contemporary art. We must also congratulate Mary on her recent promotion from Associate Curator to Curator!
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