In con­ver­sa­tion with . . . Nata­ley Nagy

The Daily Courier - - OKANAGAN - By AN­DREA PEA­COCK

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.

Spe­cial to the Daily Courier

Nata­ley Nagy has been work­ing as the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Kelowna Art Gallery since mov­ing to Kelowna from On­tario in 2010.

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