Tower Web Extra: Alumni Who Are …

Bridget Marx
Bridget Marx ’99
Ester Ippolito
Ester Ippolito '07
Clare Chadwick
Clare Chadwick ’11
Dylan Key
Dylan Key ’11
  • Bridget Marx ’99
    B.A. Studio Art

    Associate Director and Curator of Exhibitions
    Meadows Museum
    Southern Methodist University


    Explain the nature of your current job.

    I am the associate director and curator of exhibitions at the Meadows Museum. As such, I am responsible for all museum exhibitions, as well as the day-to-day operations of the museum such as facilities management, security, special event rentals, box office and gift shop.

    How has a UD education helped you in your current profession?

    After our shared experiences, specifically the Rome semester and liberal arts education, sometimes I am a bit surprised more UD grads are not art historians! These two iconic elements of UD have helped to inform every step of my education and career path.

    While standing in Raphael’s Stanza della Segnatura, Dr. [William] Frank convinced me that I needed to be an art historian. Art was always something that I enjoyed, loved to study but failed to see how I could make into a career. After our lively fresco discussion, he carefully explained several career paths within the field of art history and encouraged me to pursue my passion.

    Exhibiting art in a museum setting requires me to present a painting, or group of objects, within its historical context. I draw upon UD’s core curriculum on a constant basis, pulling theological, philosophical and historical comparisons into my discussions of the art object.

    In what way are you contributing to Dallas’ growing arts scene?

    As the largest collection of Old Master paintings in Dallas, the Meadows Museum offers an alternative to the modern and contemporary art scenes that are typical of the downtown museums. The focused nature of the Spanish collection, and the fact that we are a university art museum, enables us to explore themes that are more in-depth and historical than aesthetic.

    For example, our current exhibition on Diego Velázquez’s early court portraits explores the Spanish master’s work during his first decade at the court of King Philip IV, thereby helping to present a better understanding of the artist’s creative process before “Las Meninas,” his seminal masterpiece. This exhibition is the culmination of a three-year partnership between the Meadows Museum and Madrid’s Museo Nacional del Prado, where masterworks from their collection have been traveling to Dallas. It was important for the Meadows to not only exhibit works from the Prado’s collection, but to investigate our own collection. One of our three Velázquez paintings, “Philip IV,” underwent X-ray analysis at the Kimbell Art Museum and during this process it was discovered to be the first painting the artist painted for the king, the one that secured his position as royal court painter.

    It is thrilling to build upon the knowledge of our collection and help tell its past. It is a lasting legacy that we are building for the citizens of Dallas.

  • Ester Ippolito '07
    B.A. Art History

    Membership Database Coordinator
    Nasher Sculpture Center


    Describe your current position.

    The membership database coordinator is a key role in the development department at the museum assigned to maintaining the membership database, helping increase memberships, and interacting with members to ensure their satisfaction with their membership benefits.

    How has a UD education helped in your current profession?

    My academic career has proven useful in supporting visitor interest in cultural activities. Art has a history of improving the quality of life in a city by creating an outlet for its citizens to experience a spectrum of emotions. I am committed to cultivating interest in and support for the arts. I believe that the UD Core helped me to appreciate the arts from a variety of avenues and to broadcast information about artists and events to the greater population. I am especially grateful for being able to study studio arts as part of my art history curriculum while at UD. It helped me appreciate and understand artistic endeavors from the artist’s point of view.

    In what way are you contributing to Dallas’ growing arts scene?

    The public has the ability to cultivate and support the cultural assets in a city, but this can only be successful if they are met with a team of people who help guide them. As someone who has worked in visitor services and currently in development, I pride myself on my interpersonal skills, especially my ability to promote memberships and spread interest in the cultural gems of our city.

    Recent Achievements

    In the summer of 2012 I received my M.Phil. in history and philosophy of art from the University of Kent at Canterbury upon completing my thesis on “Re-Imaging the Family: Examining Representations of 1980s Domesticity in the Neo-Expressionist paintings of Rainer Fetting, Eric Fischl, Robert Colescott, and Ida Applebroog.”

  • Clare Chadwick ’11
    B.A. English

    Development Assistant
    Dallas Contemporary Art Museum


    Describe your current position.

    I work as the development assistant at Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, a non-collecting art museum presenting new and challenging ideas from regional, national and international artists. I contribute to fundraising efforts that support Dallas Contemporary's exhibitions, learning programs and annual fund by planning and executing art-related fundraising events, soliciting and negotiating individual and corporate sponsorships and stewarding museum donors. I work closely with Dallas Contemporary’s Board of Directors to facilitate their governance and to ensure that their vision and strategy is implemented through exhibitions and learning programs.

    How has a UD education helped in your current profession?

    The rigors and range of UD academics helped me to develop the right kind of work ethic for a career in museum development. The nature of a non-profit art institution is that there is always a lot to be done by just a few key people in a very short period of time—and usually with very limited resources. My job requires that I not only contribute to the production of innovative, creative programming in spite of certain obstacles, but that I also empower museum partners, donors, artists and volunteers to make positive contributions to the institution. By studying humanities at UD, I became a resilient worker, but was also trained to be sensitive to the finer details of communication, problem solving and relationship building.

    In what way are you contributing to Dallas’ growing arts scene?

    Dallas Contemporary’s mission is to present the art of our time to the public: to document new directions in art through changing exhibitions, publications and learning programs for visitors of all ages. With over 37,000 square feet of exhibition space in Dallas’ up-and-coming Design District, along with a reputation for risk-taking and institutional taboo breaking, Dallas Contemporary represents limitless possibility for contemporary artists. The museum not only organizes exhibitions within its galleries, but pioneers community based, collaborative art projects throughout the city. High profile artists from around the world are now setting their sights on Dallas as the place to showcase their large scale and seminal projects. I am so thrilled to be part of an organization that is elevating Dallas’ status in eyes of the international art community while providing its 80,000 annual visitors with amazing, edifying programming in collaboration with artists like Shepard Fairey, Erwin Wurm and Inez and Vinoodh.

  • Dylan Key ’11
    B.A. English and Drama

    Associate Director
    Undermain Theatre


    Describe your current position.

    Working in a professional theater is a unique blend of artistic creation and organizational administration, particularly at Undermain. Katherine Owens and Bruce DuBose, the artistic director and executive producer of Undermain, respectively, have built a theatre that runs like a well-oiled machine but never at the expense of its artistic pursuits. Accordingly, any given day is a continually shifting set of responsibilities. One day it's reading new scripts, auditioning actors, hanging lights and meeting with designers, the next day you're reviewing grant applications, attending fundraising events, making marketing calls, programming interns and editing promotional videos. And once the day's work is done there's always a rehearsal in the evening or a new show to attend around town.

    How has a UD education helped in your current profession?

    My University of Dallas education is invaluable each and every day. There's no way I would be the artist I am now without the support and formation from faculty such as Kyle Lemieux, Stefan Novinski, Susie Cox and Tristan Decker. Their guidance and passion is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. The UD Core curriculum has given me the well-rounded academic background that one needs to survive in the demanding art world, where reading and writing skills are essential in the workforce. Meetings to discuss future productions can turn into discussions of Cindy Sherman's portraits, Robert Browning's poetry and Rabindrinath Tagore's plays, so a strong understanding of Western thought and its relation to our modern world is an essential aid.

    In what way are you contributing to Dallas’ growing arts scene?

    While Undermain Theatre continues to be an essential landmark in the historical Deep Ellum arts scene, a live theatre surrounded by great music bars and cutting-edge galleries, Undermain has also made some inroads into the Dallas Arts District about which I'm particularly excited. With the recent completion of Klyde Warren Park and the Dallas City Performance Hall this fall, the Dallas Arts District is almost near completion. Through Undermain I've directed staged readings of works at the Dallas Museum of Art, and I'm currently producing our production of “Penelope” by Enda Walsh, which will be the first full theater production in the new Dallas City Performance Hall this January. A unique collaboration between Undermain Theatre, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, and the city of Dallas, “Penelope” will contribute to the continuing growth of the Arts District within the arts and entertainment scene of Dallas.

    Recent Achievements

    This summer I had the pleasure to participate in the 2012 Lincoln Center Directors Lab in New York City where we spent three weeks working with 70 other directors across the world exploring the nature of comedy in all of its dramatic forms. While in New York I also had the chance to give a quick lecture on Aristotle's writings on comedy with some assistance from UD professor Teresa Danze.

    I also am on the faculty of Cistercian Preperatory School, as the head of drama, where I get to teach a truly terrific group of young men, many of whom will hopefully someday attend UD!

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