3 Questions with Adrienne Sacks (’16), Communications Coordinator at SMFA

In just a few sentences, please tell us about your current job.

I work for Tufts! I currently work two half-time remote positions from Brooklyn, NY. One position is serving as the Communications Coordinator for SMFA. Yes, a real person compiles and sends the SMFA Update every week 😉 .I also work with the rest of our team on email blasts, website updates, social media, and design. With things a bit quieter during the summer months, I have had some extra time to interview students and faculty about their amazing experiences with their studio practices, internships, study abroad experiences, and shows that we can publish on the website and social media throughout the fall. My other position at Tufts is working as the Website Manager for Student Life. I oversee all the changes and updates that are made to students.tufts.edu.

However, first and foremost, I really do see myself as an artist. I have been both working and making art since I was fourteen, so I am used to balancing the demands of employment and my art practice. I spend a lot of time researching, making, applying for grants and residencies, planning shows, and working with curators, galleries, artist collectives, and museums.

How did your time at Tufts influence your career journey?

Tufts was the place where I got honest with myself about what I cared about and what I was good at. I actually started at Tufts as a Civil Engineering major! I changed my major a lot of times- to Engineering Psychology, Architectural Studies, and finally, Clinical Psychology. However, I was a Studio Art minor from freshman year. I took as many art classes as I could, simply because they were my favorite. Outside of making art, I am super passionate about mental health. At Tufts, I participated in Ears for Peers and Big Sisters of Boston.

During my senior year, I interned at Eliot Community Human Services in Everett, MA and McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA. I gained experience working with all sorts of people in a way that felt urgent and meaningful to me, and I developed administrative skills along the way, doing intake coordination and data entry. The Monday after graduation, I started work as a Clinical Research Assistant at McLean.

I have spent the past five or so years more focused on my artistic interests. After leaving McLean, I moved to Los Angeles and pursued a three-year Visual Arts MFA at California State University, Northridge. I worked for the university in the art gallery, as a studio technician, and as a lecturer. I have taught two-dimensional design at CSUN, CSSSA at CalArts, and Pratt Munson. During graduate school, I worked in the conservation department of Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Last year, I spent some time doing research and development at a paint company in upstate New York.

I am lucky that along the way, the art side of my career has continued to grow and develop over the past seven years. One opportunity has led to the next and my audience has grown slowly and steadily over time. I am grateful that I get to push my work materially and conceptually and be quite experimental because I don’t have the same commercial demands as someone whose art-making is their full-time job.

What advice would you offer to a student who wants to pursue a career path like yours?

My career path has been more of a winding mountain road than a straight and narrow path, but I’ve enjoyed that! I have always maintained a focus on working for mission-driven organizations such as schools, healthcare settings, and museums. I have tried to focus on slowly building my skills in administration, software, and communications. At this point, I feel like I have a diverse set of skills that are well-suited to those industries. Being a bit of a jack of all trades allows me some flexibility in pursuing roles that support goals outside of work, such as maintaining my artistic practice. So, I guess my advice would be, make sure every job you take will allow you to learn something new!

By Katie Sullivan
Katie Sullivan Assistant Director