Lizzie Jones is the Director of Operations at The Cultivist, a global arts club. Prior to joining The Cultivist, Lizzie worked as the Director of AKArt Advisory, where she helped to produce exhibitions, performances, and events, as well as promoted artists of all disciplines. Lizzie has worked at galleries, art organizations, and nonprofits in New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
From as early as I can remember, I’ve been interested in art, but it wasn’t until college that I thought about pursuing a career in the art industry. Even during college, I chose to study Art History and Graphic Design, but only because those were the classes I wanted to spend my time taking. Gradually I started to think of a career in art as something I could realistically do.
Where are you from and what is the arts community like there? How has your upbringing shaped what you do in the arts today?
I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Midwest might not typically be the first place people think of when they think of the art world, but there are many vibrant communities of artists and makers there. Growing up, my best friend and neighbor’s mother was (and still is) a painter. Every time I went to their house, I would end up in her studio watching her paint or asking questions about what she was working on. Looking back, it seems inevitable that I ended up working in the arts, even though I never thought about it that way growing up.
What was your first job? What was the most important lesson you learned from this experience?
After different internships at galleries and nonprofits, my first job in the art world was at an art advisory company geared towards artists. We helped artists capitalize on, or find additional, opportunities for their work. The most important lesson I learned was that no project or job is too small or undeserving of your attention. Especially working within a small team, you’ll end up wearing many different hats and a lot of the knowledge you pick up along the way will be helpful in the future.
You are the Director of Operations for The Cultivist. Tell us more about the company and your role!
The Cultivist is a membership program for anyone interested in learning more about the arts. As our Director of Operations, I get to work in a variety of different areas of the business, which is exciting. Day to day, I have my hands in all the different ‘behind the scenes’ projects or tasks that help our team run.
What is something you do every day to keep you motivated?
Operations isn’t usually a very glamorous job, and that’s ok! I like to remind myself that even the seemingly small or mundane projects eventually accumulate into important aspects of a successful business.
What does a day off look like for you?
Usually, a long walk in my neighborhood, running a few errands if I need to, and cooking dinner with friends.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
Just like any other industry, don’t undervalue yourself, treat people well, and work hard.
What are you most excited for this year at The Cultivist or in the art world as a whole?
At work, I’m very excited for all the ways we keep evolving as a business and the different benefits and unique experiences we continue to offer to our members.
How do you think the art world can become more transparent?
Wage transparency laws like the one that just went into effect in New York City are one step of many. Outside of legal requirements, I hope people can work against the stigmas in place that block or discourage people from sharing basic information so that areas of the playing field can be leveled out.
If you could own work by 5 different artists/craftspeople, who would be in your collection?
Marcus Leslie Singleton, Sally J. Han, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Gordon Parks, and Jordan Casteel.