In conversation with . . . Nataley Nagy
Nataley Nagy has been working in the visual arts sector for more than 23 years. Before coming to Kelowna, where she now works as the executive director for the Kelowna Art Gallery, Nagy was based in Ontario.
She previously worked as the executive director of the Textile Museum of Canada, the director of the SAW Gallery, arts officer of the Ontario Arts Council and executive director of the Gallery of Windsor.
Nagy is a graduate of the Getty Leadership Institute and the Banff Arts Administration Training Program.
She also has an honorary doctorate from the University of Windsor for her contribution to arts and culture.
Nagy recently spoke with the Daily Courier about her work at the Kelowna Art Gallery and the importance of the arts in Kelowna.
COURIER: I understand you were studying law in university. What inspired you to pursue a career in the arts?
NAGY: I was at Carleton University and had completed my undergraduate degree in law and English.
I was very involved in athletics as well as our community radio station, CKCU FM.
Through my work on a radio program at CKCU-FM called Artistic Licence, I found my passion in the arts.
While interning at a law firm, I applied and was hired by SAW Gallery-SAW Video as assistant director/publicist in 1984. I have worked in the visual arts ever since. COURIER: What drew you to Kelowna and the Kelowna Art Gallery?
NAGY: I had heard about the gallery and when the position of executive director became available, I thought it would be a great job for me, as I want to go somewhere where I could make a difference.
I knew with my interest in community engagement and my experience in the field would be a great match for the Kelowna Art Gallery.
I was happy to accept the position as executive director in April 2010, and I got to move to a beautiful community and I get to lead an organization with a dedicated board of directors and staff, who like me, want to use the arts to make a difference and make a positive impact on our community.
COURIER: What is the biggest challenge working at a local art gallery?
NAGY: I feel that our biggest challenge is getting the word out to those that do not know about the Kelowna Art Gallery.
We want to include more people in our exhibitions, educational and social programs.
We want everyone to know that we have a nationally-recognized public art gallery in our region and that all are welcome to be a part of our amazing organization.
COURIER: What is the most rewarding part of working in an art gallery?
NAGY: The people: the artists, the professionals, the volunteers and the visitors I get to work with every day.
Then of course, there is the art itself that I am privileged to work with and present to audiences.
COURIER: How important are art galleries for a community like Kelowna?
NAGY: Art galleries and museums are indicative of a great city.
They provide windows which look out on the broader, richer and deeper things in life.
Art Galleries and Museums ensure a high quality of life for our residents and offer an important cultural attraction for our visitors.
Our youth and children depend on the Kelowna Art Gallery to gain exposure to art and cultural activities.
COURIER: Are there any misconceptions about art galleries you’d like to set straight? NAGY: Art galleries are museums. They are often confused as being different, but they are not.
Art galleries are art museums too, we just display and collect fine art and crafts. COURIER: Are you an artist yourself? NAGY: No, I leave that to others with much more talent than me.
Nataley Nagy has been working as the executive director of the Kelowna Art Gallery since moving to Kelowna from Ontario in 2010.