Will Work for Art: Clara Hatcher

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we feature a member of the frontline. Clara Hatcher works as the de Young receptionist and supports the visitor services and marketing departments. Originally from Ithaca, New York, Clara has been with the Museums for three years.

What do you do here at the Museums?

I assist with visitor services, marketing and education department projects. I help plan and implement the Friday night hands-on art table. And as the receptionist, I act as a general hub of information about the Museums.

How did you become involved with the Museums?

I first began working in the Museum Stores when I moved out to San Francisco to pursue my MFA in photography.

What is your favorite artwork or gallery in the Museums and why?

My favorite piece at the museums is James Turrell’s Three Gems. I believe a museum can and should be many things to many people, and this piece can serve as both a temple and a forum. Three Gems is an amazing place for quiet contemplation, as well as a gathering space for active dialogue. It bridges interior and exterior space, and harmoniously connects the natural and the manufactured.

James Turrell (American, b. 1943). Three Gems, 2005. Concrete, plaster, stone, and neon lighting. Foundation purchase, gift of Barbro and Bernard A. Osher. 2003.68

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I am a full-time MA Museum Studies/MBA student at John F. Kennedy University. I also teach art residencies with international arts non-profits.

Clara making art with Tibetan refugee children in Dharamsala, India.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on streamlining and maintaining a database for all of our visitor comment cards. We welcome feedback from patrons, as it helps us better serve our community. I also hear a lot of feedback by answering one of the museums’ main phone lines. It’s an incredible way to hear myriad stories each day, and it’s an opportunity for me to get hundreds of people excited to experience the Museums.

I'm also designing a curriculum for a teaching assignment in Costa Rica with an organization called ComunicArte, and as a member of the California Association of Museums Program Committee, I am reviewing proposals for next year’s conference in Berkeley.

Do you remember the first time you visited the Museums?

Shortly after moving to San Francisco, I remember attending Ruth Asawa’s Contours in the Air at the de Young. I was greatly impacted by her artistry, technique and dedication. The shadows the sculptures cast on the gallery walls were mesmerizing. Now I get to see her work each day when I walk into my office!