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Exceptional Opportunities

Education includes world travel, internships


04/01/2009

Two years ago, Jordan Pagan '09 spent a semester at MCLA with the Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP). Then a studio art major at a mid-sized university in Utah, Pagan had selected MCLA because of B-HIP's intensive hands-on learning opportunities in the arts.

Once on campus, Pagan learned about MCLA's arts management major. She decided to transfer permanently.

"MCLA's arts management program was so attuned to my needs," said Pagan. "The area is so culturally rich, and MCLA offers incredible opportunities. I loved my old school, but they didn't offer anything like what I've found here."

Since transferring to MCLA, Pagan has worked in two galleries, traveled to some of the world's great arts destinations, won art competitions, visited world-class museums, and learned the ins and outs of arts management - from marketing to curating, from exhibiting to fundraising, and from staffing to advertising.

Now a senior, Pagan until recently served as the assistant manager of MCLA Gallery 51, the College's downtown gallery that features the work of local and international artists. Over 200 people visit the gallery weekly. Pagan oversaw scheduling, tracks visitors, assists with monthly installations, and helped to create gallery materials.

At MCLA Gallery 51, she built on experience she gained working at Kolok Gallery, the site of her B-HIP internship. At Kolok Gallery, a private contemporary gallery that has been featured in the New York Times, Pagan worked directly with art buyers and international artists. After her internship, she stayed on as a paid gallery assistant.

Last spring, Pagan traveled to Italy as a part of MCLA's spring travel course. During this nine-day program, she visited Rome, Florence and Venice, viewing masterpieces she had only read about in books. She described the experience in a single word: "amazing." 

In August, she was selected to participate in a College trip to Scotland - a gift from an MCLA supporter - to see the acclaimed Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival. With her peers, she took in multiple performances daily - one day, she saw six shows - including music, dance, opera and theater.

Pagan also helped coordinate North Adams Open Studios, served as a studio assistant to a professional artist, exhibited her work in several shows, and took a variety of courses that prepared her for a career in the arts. Through all of this, MCLA faculty have been engaged and supportive, and have encouraged her to take new risks.

What's next for Pagan? She is spending her final semester this spring studying in Florence, Italy. This fall, she will begin a Masters in Public Administration degree program with an emphasis in nonprofit management at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., where she recently was accepted.  Long term, she plans to continue working in the arts - ideally in London, Edinburgh, or New York City.

"My experience at MCLA has been incredible," said Pagan. "I have had so many opportunities that I could not have had elsewhere. I feel so lucky. In terms of my career, this is the best choice I could have made."