Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer is the Executive Director of the Queens Council on the Arts. As a lifelong Queens resident, she is a firm believer in the power of the arts to mobilize and transform community. She is the author/illustrator of “Rabbit Mooncakes”, a picture book published by Little, Brown & Company. Her next picture book is in progress with Harper Collins. Hoong Yee holds diplomas from the Mozarteum in Salzburg in piano and a Masters Degree in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
What was your first job in the Arts and what was the most useful or important thing you learned in that experience?
My first job in the arts was publishing a picture book entitled, “Rabbit Mooncakes” with Little, Brown & Company. The experience I had on book tours and author visits showed me how important literature is to young minds.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
After publishing my book, I realized that the arts was the sector that I wanted to work in. I publish daily sketches on Instagram as @hoongyeelee.
What do you do now?
I am the Executive Director of the Queens Council on the Arts, a local arts service organization serving artists in Queens, NY.
Where are you from and what is the arts community like there?
I live in Rockaway Beach, NY and there is a thriving dance, film and visual arts community here among the local surfers.
Has where you come from shaped what you do in the arts today?
I grew up in a family that loved music and books so being surrounded by people who also love these art forms is important to me.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
I always tell writers and all art makers to create a space in their work for the reader or the person in the audience to step into and become part of the experience.
What is one of the greatest accomplishments in your career so far? And what has been a challenge?
Building out a 5000 square foot space in Long Island City, NY was both a great accomplishment and a great challenge.
How is your current job adapting to the ever-changing digital landscape? What do you think can be done better, if anything?
Since the pandemic, we are still trying to figure out the best way artists can create, share and connect with people.
What do you think defines a good employee? And what defines a good boss?
An ideal employee knows what he/she/they don’t know and asks for help. Same for the boss.
What is your advice for making yourself stand out in the workplace? Any good tips for giving a great interview?
Being a good listener automatically makes your interview better.
What is/was your greatest WFH challenge? Or a WFH luxury you don’t want to lose ever again?
I love WFH. My challenge is finding the silent space to do focused work in the office.
Is there any advice you would like to give people entering the art world?
Learn how to write a grant well.
What is the best exhibition you have seen recently?
Bisa Butler’s exhibition, “Portraits” at the Art Institute of Chicago.
How do you think the art world can become more transparent?
The art world has to cede power, visibility and agency to new people with different points of view and values.