Morgan Everhart works in painting, installation, curation, and writing. Everhart’s practice challenges naturalism and ontology through reflection on personal experiences, identity, and art history. In addition to her creative practice, she has facilitated arts education programming in universities, museums, and private collections for over a decade. All of Everhart’s pursuits in the arts are grounded in a fundamental belief that visual language is an essential part of therapy, communication, and social change. Through this notion, Everhart uses art as a conduit for developing collaborations with a range of individuals and communities. Everhart has exhibited internationally, with recent solo exhibitions at the Longwood Museum and The David Owsley Museum of Art. Currently, Everhart has a mural in the LES that fundraises for The Clemente Center and Lower Eastside Girls Club. Everhart is a contributing writer to A Women’s Thing publication. Morgan Everhart received her BFA from the University of North Texas, and her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
What was the most important thing you learned at your first job in the Arts?
My first job in the arts was at The Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, Texas. As their audience development intern, I found myself observing the intersections between customer service, event operations, and marketing. In that role, I realized how important it is to never forget why we’re doing something. If your job is to promote engagement in the arts, don’t forget to spend time with art and people. It seems obvious, but people get stuck in meetings, their computers, and social media.
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 the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, where art holds a different kind of reverence and appreciation than I’ve seen in other places. With more space, time and disposable income, people invest in creativity more openly. For example, DFW is fortunate to have families like the Nashers and Rachofsky’s share their extensive collections with the public. The Nasher Sculpture Center and Nasher’s collection at the NorthPark Mall heavily inspired me to study art. Working for Thomas Feulmer at The Rachofsky Collection motivated me to get my MFA and move to NYC.
You wear many hats. How do you balance your artistic practice with writing, curating, and other endeavors in the arts?
You have to wear many hats in the art world, especially if you don’t come from privilege. Being an artist is more than just creating artwork, it’s running a business. Right now, artists are not widely equipped with the resources and skills to run a sustainable practice. Frankly, I’m sick of it. Writing and curating is an extension of my painting practice that allows me to connect and amplify other arts professionals I’m passionate about. Finding balance is a constant challenge, but I ask myself three questions when I’m prioritizing – 1. Does this bring me joy? 2. Am I learning something new? 3. Is this an investment for my career?
You have a new studio assistant, Bennie. Tell us about him!
Bennie is a Portuguese Water Dog that loves to eat, play, cuddle, and make new friends. It’s been such a joy to have a puppy in the studio. His loving, playful personality is inspiring similar energies in my new paintings. Creating art is often an introverted practice, so Bennie is a great reason to take more breaks and explore the neighborhood.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
The artworld is incredibly dynamic and small, where one minute you’re nobody and next you’re the hottest in the market. Be supportive and show respect for those that are at different stages of their career.
What do you think defines a good employee? And what defines a good supervisor?
Honesty, respect, clear communication, and positive reinforcement. It’s amazing how productive teams can be when they recognize each other’s strengths and amplify them.
What are you most excited for this year in your art practice or in the art world as a whole?
It’s so nice to see people in person again. Having studio visits and directing Season One of The Art Career Podcast with some of the best people in the artworld has been one of my greatest joys of this year. As we move into the fall, only more great conversations will happen, along with more celebrations and events. This year also brings more outdoor art installations and medium explorations in my studio practice. I’m partnering with more organizations to create murals and larger double-sided, plexiglass paintings.
How do you think the art world can become more transparent?
Frankly, financially. I mean that in every sense – salaries, commissions, secondary markets, contracts, costs, etc.
What is the best exhibition you have seen recently?
I recently went to the National Museum of Contemporary Art – Museu do Chiado in Lisbon, Portugal, which exhibits Portuguese artists from 1850-present. I was in a museum almost full of artists and visual languages that I wasn’t very familiar with, and it felt like I was looking at art for the first time again.
If you could own work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?
My fingers crossed that listing these artists will manifest this collection. Anna Park, a Saskia Fleishman sculpture, Marlene Dumas, and R.B. Kitaj.