Kaddatz Galleries begins a new eraPublished 6:13am Monday, October 21, 2013
Barsness hired as director,
Boyum shifts her complete
attention to artistic side
After Brooke Barsness left her job at PioneerCare in March, she heard whispers around town that she may be retired. Her husband recently retired, so it might have been a natural conclusion.
However, Barsness was not ready to stay home.
“I knew that I still had some fight in me,” she said. “I like problem-solving and I like feeling like I am contributing to the community.”
Barsness took over as executive director of Kaddatz Gallery Sept. 1. The position calls for Barsness to do much of the administrative and fundraising work that was previously done by Gretchen Boyum, who served as gallery manager for four years.
But Boyum is still very much a part of the gallery. She now serves as the curator and education coordinator at Kaddatz. This was not a demotion at all, as this position was created specifically for Boyum; rather, it was done to ease the workload on both women and give them more specific areas of focus.
“I think it’s more that we’re both able to dedicate our time to what we’re good at, which I think makes things work better,” Boyum said.
Indeed, both Barsness and Boyum are in the comfort zones in their respective roles. Barsness has worked for decades with non-profit organizations and has a wealth of experience working with fundraising. Boyum’s background is more extensive in curating and working with exhibitions than it is on the administrative side of things.
The Kaddatz Gallery twelve-person Board of Directors was looking to perhaps take a less hands-on approach at the gallery, according to Barsness. Having Barsness and Boyum, who each work 25 hours a week in the gallery, will allow the board to keep its eye on more long-term goals.
The board gave Barsness and Boyum three-month goals, for the period of September through November. One of the fundraising goals, Barsness said, is to raise $25,000 by the end of the calender year, which she feels is an attainable number.
There are no unique fundraising plans in the immediate future and the gallery will rely on talking with people and sending literature through the mail. For Barsness, the most important part of fundraising is building personal relationships, which she has begun doing and will continue to do in her new role.
Boyum’s main responsibility will be to increase the gallery’s educational programs. Most of these programs have been aimed at children, including the “Kaddatz Kidz” workshop series. Boyum would like to expand those kinds of programs, as well as perhaps featuring more artist talks.
So far, both women said the working relationship has been great. Boyum was pleased when she found out Barness would be taking a job, as the two knew each other before and have always gotten along.
“In discussions with the board, when they brought up that Brooke would be taking this role, it was a real relief for me,” Boyum said.
Barsness is “in complete awe” of Boyum’s ability to set up the gallery and work with the artists. Despite being thrown into the fire just six weeks ago, the job has been made easier both by her years of experience and Boyum’s help.
“I’m on a pretty steep learning curve, but that doesn’t frighten me,” Barsness said. “It’s all part of the package of a new job.”
This transition period can sometimes be a rocky one for organizations. But Barsness and Boyum both seem confident in the gallery’s future and their abilities to lead it into a new era.
Like Barsness said, she’s got plenty of fight left.