Introducing Zoe Cataldo, PC–G Graduate Assistant!

Providence College MBA student Zoe Cataldo is the 2016-2017 graduate assistant for PC–G. Read more about her interests, goals and ideas. Welcome Zoe!

Zoe Cataldo paints the walls in PC-G's Hunt-Cavanagh Gallery.

So, what does a recent finance undergrad and current MBA candidate want to do with a graduate assistantship in the art department? And no, the answer is not free tuition (although that part of the gig definitely is a plus). One day, I would like to own and run my own commercial art gallery, preferably in Cape Cod, in a building with an upstairs apartment. I may or may not already have a place picked out…

Hi, I’m Zoe Cataldo. I’m from Hingham, Massachusetts, and I graduated from Providence College with a bachelor of science in finance, just months ago in May 2016. I am currently pursuing my MBA within PC’s 4+1 MBA Program, and working as a graduate assistant for Director and Curator Jamilee Lacy at PC-G. I am excited to be working with the curator and the artists she’s invited to make exhibitions. I currently act as Jamilee’s right-hand woman, and I’m looking forward to applying my finance background where I can, likely in working with Jamilee as she develops and maintains budgets and accounts as part of fundraising, grant writing, and the moving parts of producing complex exhibitions and public problems. My goal is to take of this, and to really learn what it takes to operate a successful gallery.

Although my undergraduate studies were business focused, I have always had an interest in art. I have spent my summers in Wellfleet, Cape Cod ever since I was born, and when my parents were confident I could behave in public, I began accompanying them to Wellfleet’s gallery openings on Saturday nights. While at first these Saturday nights were just an excuse to dress up and sneak hors d’oeuvres from tables that my toddler hands could barely reach, as I grew older I actually began to look at and appreciate the art. Attending these openings has since gotten even more exciting, especially when my aunt, an artist from Virginia has her own showings. When I grew older, going to the openings wasn’t and still isn’t just about dressing up and raiding food tables, but about gaining an appreciation for different artists’ work, and making my way to the wine stand that I was once not legal to drink (just kidding).

When I was in high school I realized my passion for photography and was even lucky enough to host my own photography exhibit in my local library. I became the first high school student with a show at the Hingham Public Library. This year, I was able to keep that tradition of firsts alive by becoming PC–G’s first-ever graduate assistant.

Having a business background, and as I continue to study business in pursuit of an MBA, I am excited to see how running an art gallery is both similar and different to what I have learned in my classes at PC. I anticipate much of what I have learned as an undergraduate and continue to learn as a graduate will be helpful in my pursuit of running and owning my own art gallery, but I will be looking for ways in which I can use this knowledge to my advantage. For example, I suspect creating a sustainable business model, dealing with expenses such as rent, insurance, and salaries, developing relationships, or even getting an investment are different in a gallery setting than the context in which I studied these topics in class. I am looking forward to taking my existing knowledge and incorporating it in an entirely different business setting.

This blog will be an attempt to track what I am learning and hope to learn as a graduate assistant. I will be documenting the progress I make in my understanding of running an art gallery and be looking for connections between what I am studying in my classes and learning while I work in the galleries.

I am just at the beginning stages of my graduate assistantship, so I will end this blog post with some of the questions I have that are already piling up, and that I hope to learn the answers to along the way. I have no doubt, even more questions will arise, but for now I will leave it with these:

  • Does the owner or curator of a gallery carry artwork that only he or she is interested in? Or artwork they think others will be interested in? Or is it a combination of both?
  • How do you determine what kinds of work a gallery will show? And who decides the length of a show?
  • How do you develop a gallery with a solid reputation?
  • How often do you invite artists back to have a show? Do you invite artists back to have a second show? Do you invite artists back who might not have had a successful show the first time (for a commercial gallery, successful in terms of selling?)
  • How does one go about finding artists? Relationships? Advertisements? Both? Neither?


Talk soon,
Zoe Cataldo



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