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For the Love of Art: Mary Joyce

MARY JOYCE
Digital Strategy Consultant
Member since 2013

Why do you love art?

Art helps me to think differently, to see the world in a new way. I particularly like contemporary art for this reason—it is bounded only by the artist’s imagination and their ability to physically realize the idea.

What’s your occupation? What are your hobbies or passions?

I am a digital strategy consultant with a particular focus on using digital tools for activism. That means that I help people who want to change the world figure out who they need to persuade in order to do that and then how to persuade them. In the realm of political activism, often people want someone in the government to make a change. But it could be any kind of audience. If you want to change the world, usually you have to persuade someone to take some action and that’s where communication comes in.

I hear you worked on the Obama campaign.

Yes, I did, in 2008. It was very exciting to do the first digital campaign. I was the operations manager for the new media department. We had 60 people working on email, graphic design, and video. It was really cool to see how the technology and communication work was being driven by strategy. There was a Facebook group called “A Million Strong for Barack Obama.” One of the reasons to do that was not only to gin up [individual] support, but to seek media support. They said, “Oh you are never going to have a million posts in a Facebook group.” Then when we did, there was additional media coverage from that. So doing something new was part of the branding.

What brought you to Seattle?

I came here for grad school. I have an MA in communication from UW. Right now I am doing communication consulting and also working on an organization that’s going to do strategy training practice online. There is a lot of activism around right now where people are really passionate but it’s not clear who they are trying to influence or what their demand is. Sometimes it’s ok to go out there and show your feelings, but if you can direct these feelings for some practical change—that’s what I’m for.

Where does art fit into the picture?

Art is basically part of liking humanity. Why would I want to oppose oppression or support human rights? Because humans can do beautiful things like make art. It’s very much an alpha/omega situation for me. Defending human rights, helping people make their lives better so that they can make beautiful things like sculpt, paint, play music, or write poetry—that’s the connection.

Do you think art is something that people are freed up to do once they achieve . . . would you call it freedom?

I think that people are hardwired to create. Obviously, in history, people in horrible conditions have created beautiful art. But if you free someone’s spirit from fear, physical need, or other kinds of oppression, then there is an opportunity for that person to blossom and more fully express themselves. I would say that oppression and art can coexist, but people who are free to express themselves are more likely to do so.

How does the museum fit in?

The museum is where I can easily come in contact with art. We can see art in a magazine or we might pass a piece of public art in the city, but if you want to seek art out you know you can have that experience in a museum. And in addition to their collection, SAM has talks and performances that provide all kinds of artistic experiences throughout the year. It’s also just a relaxing and pleasant place to hang out and take a break.

Why did you join SAM?

I was a student at the time and a friend brought me for an event. I was buying a ticket and the very effective salespeople told me that for $10 more I could become a member for the whole year. The student rate was such a great deal to allow me to support an arts institution. In my family supporting culture is valued. Obviously as a student I really didn’t have resources but because I could afford the student rate and support an institution, I wanted to do that.

Because SAM believes everyone should have access to art and creativity, we offer memberships at a variety levels. Find out more about joining as a student and begin enjoying SAM for free for an entire year. Join now and see Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series before it closes on April 23. The Migration Series focuses on social justice issues surrounding the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North in the decades after the First World War. If you agree with Mary that art is crucial to our humanity, share in art at SAM starting today.

Photo: Scott Areman.

For the Love of Art Member Profile: Paige Mathew

PAIGE MATHEW
Pharmacology student, UW
Student member / gift membership since 2013

You’re in the sciences?
I’m a pharmacy student right now.

Do you like it?
Yes! I do.

Why do you like going to art museums?
Being a part of the science world, there’s not a lot of ways to express yourself—everything is black and white. So it’s fun to get out of my box and go explore different museums. And then it’s nice because SAM has a lot of events like Remix.

Paige Mathew, SAM Student Member

Do you think of art as a way to learn about the city you’re in?
Art is definitely a way to learn about the city. In the sciences things are more rigid, with art the rules are more free and free flowing. Exploring helps me express my creativity and have fun, seeing the things in the city. Being a SAM member is a way to get around and learn more about Seattle and what art can do.

No matter what you’re studying, student memberships are discounted to create increased access to art for anyone with a student ID. Consider how art impacts your life  join SAM as a Student Member today!

Photo: Scott Areman.

For the Love of Art Member Profile: Libby Hughes

LIBBY HUGHES
11th grader
TAG student member

Libby, you’re part of SAM’s Teen Arts Group. Why did you join?
Yes. Because it’s a volunteer service and also because I really, really like art and it sounded really cool to get involved in it.

What do you like about art?
Well, I really like doing art and I like looking at how other people do art and seeing what they think of. What I really like is how people decide to do art, like imagination and stuff like that…

Art is so personal. We have had people sit here and say, “Well, I didn’t like art for a long time and then I realized…”
Well, I used to draw and then became interested in looking at it.

What is your favorite part of TAG?
I really like meeting the people and I really enjoy just interacting with art and doing all these cool things. We did tours for Teen Night Out and just this semester we recorded audio tours which was really cool.

Do you think art is important for society?
Yes, I do. I think it’s a way to express yourself and it triggers emotions. It’s how you portray the world—you’re showing how you see the world to other people.

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork here?
I really like the Italian Room just because I did the audio tour for it. So I learned about it. Yes, I thought it was really interesting. Art-wise, I really like—it’s not out right now but it’s a mouse—looks like a black rat on the bed. That one is my favorite.

Why do you like it?
I don’t know. It’s kind of creepy and I don’t want to be like, “Oh, I like creepy art work,” but I really like artwork where it invokes a lot of emotion. And the first thing you think is, “Oh, that’s creepy” and you think about it a lot and why it’s there. I really like artwork that makes you think.

I like Mann und Mouse. A lot of people like it, actually, which I think is interesting. A lot of kids like it—really little kids. I could see that maybe they think it’s a cute mouse. It’s funny because it is a little bit scary—but little kids are often drawn to scarier things than we give them credit for.
Yes, I think people think kids should be too sheltered but I think people should, even when they are little, know what sadness is and stuff. And artwork can do it.

What role do you think artwork plays in that?
Well, for me it was always a part of it and I always loved to draw and my dad was really into painting, too. He was always showing artwork. I always thought it was a way for people to express themselves. Even things like sadness or dangerous things. I remember when I was little my dad brought home this magazine and it was called High Fructose and all the pictures in it were really creepy, but I thought it was super cool.

Do you know what you want to do when you “grow up”?
I really want to be a character designer for games and stuff.

Do you think being in a museum now relates to that? Is it helping you think about that?
Well, it is definitely a kind of artwork. It’s not exactly the type I was looking at but I do really like looking how other people do it. What kind of artwork other people do and seeing what’s popular and what people like and what’s interesting…

How long have you been part of TAG?
I started last semester and this is my second semester, so about a year now.

Are you going to keep doing it?
Yes, I’m probably going to keep doing it until I graduate. I really like it.

Calling all high-school aged teens—take over the museum during Teen Night Out this Friday, May 6! Get loud with incredible DJs, teen art tours, and art making workshops led by Seattle’s coolest contemporary artists. Free—RSVP on Facebook.