I dedicated myself to Art History and a career in the arts quite early on at Carleton. Before graduating, I worked as an assistant at two galleries, solicited memberships at the Chesterwood Historic Site, and was a security guard at the Williams College Museum of Art – work that was about as gratifying as it was unfocused. Before leaving Carleton, however, I became aware of the folk/self-taught/outsider art field, a subject that I took an immediate interest in during my junior year (I think) and would come to largely direct my career. After graduating from Carleton, I interned briefly at the Clark Art Institute before finding work in Boston at the House of Blues, giving tours to school kids that incorporated their collection of folk art. The year I spent doing this work provided enough evidence that I could (and should!) find work that connected with the interests I had cultivated at Carleton. So I left Boston for New York to return to school, choosing the Folk Art Institute of the American Folk Art Museum. Unsatisfied with these studies, I quickly turned to gallery work. And, from 1999 to 2004, I worked for Luise Ross Gallery, one of the few galleries in New York (at that time) specializing in folk/self-taught/outsider art.
In 2004, I began graduate work at Indiana University, earning a PhD in 2012 with a focus in American art, African American art, and folklore. During my graduate years, I worked at the Indiana University Art Museum, interned at the National Gallery of Art, and received research fellowships from the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies, and the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African American Studies at the University of Rochester. In 2012, I became Curator of Exhibitions for the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina, a small university museum with a regional focus. I oversee all on-site and traveling exhibitions, working with the staff, guest curators and regional artists to develop, construct and install temporary exhibits. The Museum’s dedication to the communities, folk traditions, and material culture of the Southeast is actually an ideal setting for me, allowing me to develop exhibitions that are closely aligned with the very academic interests that began (oh so many years ago!) in Boliou Hall.