Interview with Marie A. Longo
This week, justArts&Culture spoke with Marie A. Longo, who was appointed as the director of development and external relations for the Rose Art Museum at the end of the summer.
JustArts&Culture: Tell us a bit about your role in the museum.
Marie A. Longo: My role is senior director of development and external relations. And in that role it’s my job to work with our director to expand the footprint of the museum and to increase visibility and awareness and engagement and outreach and donor support.
JAC: What do you see as the relationship between the college and the museum?
ML: The Rose Art Museum stands alone as a university art museum because it has a very focused collection on modern and contemporary art, and it’s an institution that has a reputation that is known nationally and internationally. So it’s not an encyclopedic collection like say Harvard Art Museum. And because of that nature it really draws the attention of the art world outside of the University. Nonetheless, being situated here on campus and being a part of Brandeis is critical to the life of the institution. And it’s important that we are mounting shows and exhibitions that really align with the institution’s values and interests — so things like social justice and diversity and freedom of expression and lifting up voices that haven’t been heard before. Those are important principles in how we do our work, and I think they align nicely with the University.
JAC: You mentioned in an email sent out by the Rose that you will be “raising visibility [and] enhancing brand awareness.” How would you like to accomplish that?
ML: An immediate goal is that we want to get our Instagram followers up to the 10,000 threshold. We’re just a few hundred shy of that, so if folks here on campus haven’t followed us on Instagram, please do so. And I think that we are really going to think about how we utilize our position here within Waltham and MetroWest Boston, as well as on campus to expand the network, to open the doors to convey to folks that this is a place that belongs to everybody, and is open to everybody, and it’s free, and it is a wonderful place to come in to relax, to refresh, to get away from the day-to-day.
JAC: You previously worked at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, a large institution with an incredible amount of collections. In your opinion, what is the merit of a smaller institution like the Rose? How do they compare?
ML: I think for a museum like [the] Rose, its small size makes it accessible. And so for someone who perhaps is new to contemporary art or new to the visual art community at large, it’s a great way to be introduced to it. There is no judgement. Everybody is welcome and equal. And our hope is that you come here and you see something that makes you stop and pause, maybe rethink your own perspective on the world or some political occurrence that’s happening. So I think the accessibility makes it distinctive from a larger encyclopedia museum. Not to mention that it’s free. You know in the art world, sometimes you have to be at an eschalon to afford to go and see things.
JAC: Is there anything you want to add?
ML: Come by and visit! Follow us on Instagram. The institution will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in the year 2021. So that’s two years away, which seems far away, but in planning terms it’s really not that far off at all. I’m interested in working with our staff and the Brandeis community and our Board of Advisors to determine ways that we can mark that milestone in a fun and celebratory way.