By Jordan Smith
The Washington Pavilion is beginning a new year with fresh leadership in its Visual Arts Center. Kara Dirkson took the helm of the VAC in late 2014, and now spends her days completing varied tasks, like meeting with donors, examining artwork onsite, painting gallery walls, and of course, creating budgets and strategies for the organization’s success. Dirkson talks with us about her path to the head of the VAC.
How did you get started working with fine art?
This is the third step of my career. Academically, I focused on research in humanities and social sciences. Then after college I ended up teaching high school history and social studies.
After a while, I stopped teaching, started a family, and completed my master’s degree. At that time, I decided time to move into working with fine art. I started working in a retail gallery setting in eastern Iowa, and then because of major flood there, they required my assistance with the insurance appraising of fine art. It was there I realized even though I don’t create fine art, I can research, analyze, and interact with it. I went to Chicago and completed post-grad studies in appraisal studies. Shortly after, I decided to relocate back to Sioux Falls and worked in art consulting.
I got involved with the Visual Arts Center board and served for a while and came to love The Pavilion. The job is a unique opportunity to serve a community that I really love and an organization that I am excited about. I also love this old building.
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