Big news! I’m becoming a free(lance) agent.

In a month, I’ll be leaving my position at SFMOMA in order to pursue creative projects and freelance work at the intersection of art + technology.

So long, SFMOMA!

So long, SFMOMA!

This is a big change, but the time has come for me to shift gears, and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s next.

During my time at the museum, I have worked on so many fulfilling projects. I began as an intern in what was then known as the Interactive Educational Technologies department, and then went on to work in the Education department, helping out with research projects, live art events, family programs, and more. Three years ago, I applied to be the Stein Social Media Associate, was hired, and thus began my foray into museum social media.

As I began to learn the ropes of running the SFMOMA Twitter and Facebook accounts, I quickly became fascinated by the potential of the platforms, especially in how they could open up the museum and the artwork that we champion. I eagerly pushed our social media presence to the next level by fostering online communities on new platforms, developing a consistent voice for the museum, and fleshing out a social media strategy that was one part marketing, ten parts awesomeness. I championed the values of openness and interestingness on social media, and worked to convince my colleagues that social media can actually be a medium for real art experiences – a realization that will only become more obvious as more and more brands work to stay relevant and create meaning online.

Since I took on the museum’s social media accounts three years ago, so much has been accomplished, and it will be tough to leave – however, other ventures are calling.

My time at SFMOMA has given me a unique perspective on the challenges which cause tension between the worlds of art and technology. Museums move slowly, and are skeptical of fads – for good reason. While we at SFMOMA are always working to keep pace with the quickly-evolving landscape of digital media, challenges such as preserving digital art, reaching the right audiences, and budget/bandwidth all play a role in slowing the museum down. While museums take a measured approach to digital integration, the art world at large is hurtling forward, and the ‘importance’ of digital artwork needs to be articulated. Museums are excellent at evaluating whether or not it makes sense to call something important, but first the substantiating evidence must take place outside of the museum world.

As this art + tech convergence fully enters the cultural zeitgeist, I intend to work on projects which will push the field forward in important ways. If there’s one thing I know about the Internet, it’s that it is a powerful tool which we have not yet figured out how to make the best use of. A year ago today I published the post, Why don’t techies care about art?, which was my first stab at investigating why the worlds of art and tech don’t always see eye to eye, and thinking about how this problem could be solved. The post catalyzed more ideas, conversations, and new relationships than I ever could have imagined, and today I am excited to be part of an ongoing conversation that is picking up momentum in a profound way. While I write this post a whole year later, I am energized by the chaotic productivity and the electrifying tensions that rip through conversations related to art and digital technology in San Francisco. Contained within the Internet is a powerful creative advantage, and we have an unprecedented opportunity to make shit happen. Let’s use the zeitgeist to jumpstart the next phase of collaborative work.

Zeitgeist

Let’s turn this art + tech zeitgeist into a productive moment!

As networked creativity continues to expand, I want to help to define what comes next. I’m sure I’ll return to work with museums in the future, but right now I’m beyond excited to work on projects which prove the value of mixing art and technology in order to create impact. As I launch out of my role at SFMOMA, I’m interested to hear from people who are similarly looking to work on these types of projects, so if you have something brewing, email me!

Click the image to see more of my work for FutureCoast.

Before I sign off, here are few examples of relevant projects which I’m excited to be working on this month:

  • I’ve been acting as an NPC (non-player character) for FutureCoast, an alternate reality game and climate science education project. For this job, I’ve been acting as Future Watcher Girl, a social media-savvy agent using her creative GIF-making abilities to help build climate change awareness. This project has been incredibly interesting to me, as it uses social media to create a real network of players, getting people together to collaborate on saving the environment in creative, adventurous ways.
  • I’m working with Jenny Sharaf of Gallery Daily to co-curate PROOF OF WORK, a one-night-only exhibition examining how digital technologies, while distinctly inhuman, exacerbate our humanness. The event will take place at The Sub on April 24, and more details will be announced this week.
  • I’m on the Digital Communities jury for the AAM Muse Awards, which recognizes outstanding achievement in Galleries, Libraries, Archives or Museums (GLAM) media.
  • I’ve been working on a couple of art writing projects which will be published over the next couple of months… more on those soon 🙂
  • Lastly… I’m working on plans to be in NYC this summer for a month or two! I need to find somewhere to stay, and someone to take care of our SF apartment (and possibly our cat) while we’re gone… if you have a lead, shoot me an email.

Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “Big news! I’m becoming a free(lance) agent.”

  1. Jess C
     ·  Reply

    Congrats Willa! I’m super happy for you and have always thought that you do really interesting + fun work!!

  2. Elka
     ·  Reply

    Good luck, lady! Can’t wait to see/read your art writing projects! Best to you, Amazon

  3. Dana Mitroff Silvers
     ·  Reply

    Congratulations Willa! You’ll love the freelance/post-SFMOMA life! Keep in touch.
    Dana

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