A new face in the gallery: the new director of the art exhibition and awareness is welcomed at USM


Kat Zagaria Buckley, new director of the art exhibition and outreach outside the art gallery on the Gorham campus. Cassandra Regner / Staff Photographer

By: Lydia Simmons, Arts & Culture Editor

For Kat Zagaria Buckley growing up, she always had an idea of ​​what she wanted to do with a living. His strong passion for art allowed him to orient his education and, later, the development of his career.

His passion for art was nourished by his mother, a graphic designer. Growing up just outside of New York City in New Jersey, Buckley’s mother would find different art exhibits for her and her family. Of his education in the art world, Buckley said: “Growing up going to galleries so often and so often to museums was always something I did. I have always been interested in art and creating art myself, but I was particularly interested in gallery spaces and exhibitions and their navigation.

Buckley received an undergraduate fine arts degree in art history from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Speaking about his decision to start high school here, Buckley said, “I chose this program because I really wanted hands-on experience with art material. I think knowing what you’re dealing with in terms of paintings and mediums makes you a better curator and custodian of works.

After graduating from MICA, she worked in museums in Philadelphia where she realized she needed a master’s degree to secure a position as a curator. She then applied and was accepted into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as part of its Art History program, where she completed and earned her Masters. After graduation, she worked in libraries, archives, and museums in Chicago.

The University of Southern Maine found its place on Buckley’s radar thanks to the Kate Cheney Chappell Center for Book Arts, as well as the Osher Map Library. When her scholarship she had at a Wisconsin museum came to an end, Kat found herself looking for a job. A professor who knew she was on the hunt told her about the job listing at USM for a new director of art exhibitions and outreach, a position she enthusiastically applied for. “I’ve had this feeling ever since I applied, ‘I have a good feeling about this one’ so it was good,” she said of her initial reaction to the post. and the application process.

The fact that the position of Director provided the opportunity for an integrated and interdisciplinary look at future exhibitions made Buckley’s decision to accept the position when offered in a simple and exciting way. Of this opportunity to provide unique and inclusive exhibitions, Buckley said, “I think art is at its best when you can bring it to someone through another discipline or through an integration with it. another discipline. When you can help someone make these different connections.

The position involves a lot of work, but she is ready and enthusiastic to take on the new roles and provide a quality artistic experience for members of the USM community and visitors. Buckley hosts exhibitions at the Gorham Gallery, invites artists and helps manage the USM’s Visiting Artist Program and manages the Artist-in-Residence Program. She also does outreach and grant development work and is responsible for public art on campus as well as other gallery spaces around campus.

Although the position may seem a little intimidating to her, it is a position that allows her to do a job that she is passionate about. “I really believe that art gives people new experiences and new ways of seeing and thinking about things. So I really like the idea of ​​being a vehicle for these experiences, ”she said.

Her hope for the gallery’s future is to create a welcoming environment where USM students can come together and enjoy art. When asked if there was one thing in particular about the position that she found exciting, she spoke about working directly with artists. “I think my role as curator is to really bring artists’ visions to life and their realization and manifestation in the gallery space,” Buckley said.

The fall exhibition at the Gorham Gallery opens on October 14 and runs until December 8. On the evening of October 14, there will be an opening celebration from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a special artist talk.


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