The North Carolina Museum of Art was my babysitter throughout my childhood and my mentor in the stressful years of adolescence. Today, as an (almost) adult, it is my turn to care for the Museum in the same way it has always been present for me—in the role of an intern.
Looking up at Rabble on a school visit to the Museum sparked a lifelong relationship for Catherine Seifert, who later became an intern.
In my life the NCMA has been a constant. I remember visiting during a second-grade field trip
in 2003 or so and looking up to see the magnificent Rabble
in all of its glory, freshly installed, its butterflies flapping with life. Compared to my 8-year-old body, it was huge, constant, steady. I looked up in awe and was hooked. Elementary school field trips allowed me to visit the galleries, and weekend trips with my family allowed me to immerse myself in this wonderland filled with beautiful and thought-provoking art. During those (in)famous North Carolina snow days, my family came to the Museum Park and sledded on the beautiful rolling hills. My dad even let me drive a car for the first time in the Museum parking lot.
When I was in high school, one of my teachers recommended me for the Teen Arts Council at the Museum. I relished the behind-the-scenes aspects and organizing ArtScene, the major spring teen event. I loved brainstorming with my fellow council members about ways we could attract high schoolers to the Museum from all around the state. During the stressful season of applying for college and standardized tests, coming to monthly TAC meetings became a respite. The council reminded me in those rocky years to focus on what I thought was important; the role of art and museums in the lives of individuals.
Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter, Rabble (detail), 2003, mechanized Mylar butterflies suspended from stainless-steel cables installed in ceiling and anchored by pewter weights with contrails of fabric flowers, H. 10 x W. 15 x D. 44 ft., Commissioned by the North Carolina Museum of Art with funds from the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest)
Fast forward to today, as an intern
in the Development Department at the NCMA, I am grateful for the opportunities the Museum has given me to explore what I want in a career, and for the amazing people I am privileged to work with. In addition to working in Development, I work in Membership, brainstorming events for members, coming up with new ways to better connect them to the Museum, and devising ways to expand our member base all over the state. I love doing this because I long to foster our members’ individual and intimate relationships with the Museum. We work on improving the Museum’s accessibility to all walks of life, making it a place for everyone.
Every day when I walk into East Building, I look up at Rabble and remember how far I’ve come. I think about what I want to do in this museum; to help it continue to be a space of inspiration and discovery, as well as a space to foster connections between individuals and art. So whenever I throw a snowball in the Park, or help my little brother do a three-point turn in the new parking lot, I hope that my work here will make a difference—helping the NCMA become and continue to be a babysitter, mentor, and a lifelong friend to countless others.