Meet the Staff: Emily Bowles

EMILY BOWLES is the Ackland Art Museum’s Director of Communications.

 
bowles_roaminggnomeHow long have you been at the Ackland?
My first day working at the Ackland was August 30, 2010, so as of this writing I’ve been here over six years.
 
What brought you to the Ackland?
A job that was the perfect mix of my backgrounds in the arts and in communications. And a freelancing gig that was about to dry up after eight solid years.
 
What do you do at the Ackland?
I make sure that the word gets out about all the amazing exhibitions and programs that we have going on. That means I’m responsible for the website content (text and images), our bi-weekly eNews, media relations, press releases, advertising, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), printed invitations and posters, e-fliers and printed takeaways, flat screen TV slides, etc. It’s a big job because we are a very active museum.
 
What is a memorable Ackland experience of yours?
I have several, and most of them fall under the category of highly anticipated works of art arriving in the building; I call them “Big Truck Days” or “Big Crate Days.” There’s a wonderful, heart-stopping moment when you get to see in person the work of art that you’ve been “seeing” reproduced in small jpgs during months and months of exhibition planning. The hush when the loaned Francis Bacon is finally on the wall. The “oooohs” when a Roy Lichtenstein painting is uncrated. There’s also the thrill of unusual pieces being installed after months of anticipation, like the time an Indian rickshaw was steered into our lobby. During the Ackland’s 2013 exhibition More Love, it was Jim Hodges’ “spider web” piece Hello, Again (1994-2003) being deftly installed in a corner of the ceiling and his huge curtain of flowers, You (1997), being hung.
 
What is your favorite thing about working at the Ackland?
As you can guess from my previous answer, for me it’s the chance to see great works of art up close, in person, and this is always possible working at the Ackland because I can walk downstairs to the galleries at any time. I studied art history both as an undergrad and as a graduate student. I never take for granted the opportunity to look closely at a work of art when it’s right in front of me. It’s the reason why I am devoted to getting the Ackland the attention it deserves: everyone should know about and visit a world-class art museum and see art from all over the world, up close and in person.

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Meet the Staff: Allison Portnow Lathrop

headshot1ALLISON PORTNOW LATHROP is the Ackland’s Public Programs Manager.

How long have you been at the Ackland?

I started at the Ackland as a graduate student intern in August 2009, then continued working here while I was finishing my musicology PhD in the Music Department at UNC. A short while later, I was hired full time as the Ackland’s Public Programs Manager.

What brought you to the Ackland?

I was interested in applying for the internship because I thought I’d learn some strategies for teaching music in a more interdisciplinary way. I ended up in a more administrative internship–but immediately fell in love it with it. While most musicology PhDs pursue college-level teaching careers, I knew after just a few weeks at the Ackland that a career in arts administration, specifically, museum administration was a better match for me.
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Meet the Staff: Katie Voss

Katie Voss is the Ackland’s Administrative Assistant to the Director.

How long have you been at the Ackland?

I started working at the Ackland as a temporary employee in January 2013. In October 2013, I officially joined the Museum’s staff as the Administrative Assistant to the Director; combined, I have worked at the Ackland for a little over three years.

What brought you to the Ackland?

After graduating with my undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and moving to North Carolina to be closer to loved ones, I was quickly drawn to UNC-Chapel Hill and the Ackland as I wanted to work in the non-profit sector, and because I believe in the importance of higher education and the arts.

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Upstairs, Downstairs…

As the Ackland’s Museum Administrator—the person responsible for finance, HR, security, and facilities—most of my time is spent handling the administrative side of museum operations in the upstairs offices. Planning and mounting exhibitions as ambitious as our newly-opened one, The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989, is so complex and requires so much in the way of lead time, logistics, paperwork, etc., that it is sometimes hard for me to get away from my desk, wander in the galleries downstairs, and discover what the exhibition will be all about. Continue reading