We are happy to announce the return of Will Work for Art, a series of interviews featuring the incredibly diverse group of people who work here at the Fine Arts Museums! This week, we introduce you to Carrie Cottini, the acting member council administrator. Originally from Sacramento, Carrie has been with the Museums for four years as of this week. Happy anniversary, Carrie!
What do you do here at the Museums?
As member council administrator, I oversee the activities of several of the Museums' auxiliary groups. I work most closely with ArtPoint and Friends of New Art (FONA). ArtPoint is a group of young professionals who support the Museums by hosting eight to ten events per year. These range from galas for over 1,000 people to gallery parties for as few as 50 guests. FONA, on the other hand, is a support group dedicated to increasing the Museums’ collection of contemporary art. Their programs include studio visits, intimate gallery tours, day trips, and opportunities to view private collections. I'm also the point of contact for the American Decorative Arts Forum, European Decorative Arts Council, and San Francisco Ceramic Circle. All of these groups are run by very dedicated volunteers and their programs are truly top-notch.
How did you become involved with the Museums?
When I originally applied to work here I had been living in San Francisco for about a year and working in media relations. While I loved my job and still enjoy working with journalists, I missed working at a museum and being surrounded by artwork. Previously I worked at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, where I helped them launch their young professionals' group, so when the opportunity to work with ArtPoint came up I jumped on it.
What is your favorite artwork or gallery in the Museums and why?
Not to sound morbid, but I keep coming back to the coffin in the shape of a cocoa pod by Kane Kwei. I love how its design commemorates the life of the person buried in it; it’s a surprising, quirky and extremely personal object. It’s a celebration of craft and design, and a reminder that functional items can and should be beautiful.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
When I'm not at work I spend as much time as possible with my dog Cricket. She's a rescue, and a 65-pound lap dog. I live between Alamo Square and the Panhandle, so she has lots of room to run around.
I'm also an avid thrift shopper, and love to hunt for vintage treasures in second-hand shops, flea markets, and yard sales. I’m always on the lookout for ridiculously large sunglasses, worn-in leather boots, and books from the Time-Life Nature’s Library series.
What are you working on right now?
Planning ArtPoint’s third annual Bastille Day party, Paris Is Burning. We're changing the format this year and expect about 2,000 guests, so needless to say, it's going to be a huge bash. I'm working with a very talented planning committee who’ve been pooling their resources. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will tell you that guests can expect live music, drag queens, and a few surprises in Hamon Tower.
Do you remember the first time you visited the Museums?
Very clearly! I was working at the Crocker Art Museum and the head of security (who was a friend of mine) invited me on a behind-the-scenes tour of the new de Young before it was open to the public. At the time, there was no artwork on the walls. I remember going up to the tower and thinking what a cool space it would be for a cocktail party. I also was completely fascinated with the Andy Goldsworthy crack installation leading up to the main entrance.