Can you explain a little bit about the type of work you do here at Cooper-Hewitt?
I work in the Education Department as the Public Education Manager, which means that I develop and plan programs and activities that engage the public with the Museum, its collection, and with design in general. These include hands-on design workshops for families, talks, tours, and more.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
It has been a challenge holding programs in so many different venues while the Museum is under renovation. Each venue comes with its own set of quirks and obstacles.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love it when a plan comes together. Seeing the result of research, planning, paperwork, etc. turn into an interesting and entertaining program—whether it be for toddlers, teens or adults—is always gratifying. I also really enjoying hanging out at the Design Center and meeting the visitors that come to our programs.
How would you describe design? What is good design? Bad design?
I would describe design as a creative and considerate solution to a problem. Good design helps people in their daily lives, and bad design slows things down and makes things more difficult and frustrating.
How has the renovation either opened new doors or posed new challenges for you?
In my opinion one of the best things to come out of the museum’s redesign is the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center in Harlem, which opened in May 2012 and has been the base for our educational activities while the Museum is undergoing renovation. I love the space, it has a great atmosphere and is perfectly suited for designing and making things. The Center has enabled us to reach new audiences and build relationships with a whole new community.
Looking forward, what are you most excited about once the museum reopens?
I am looking forward to having the garden back in its full glory, and to welcoming the families and other participants who have been coming to the Design Center to the Museum so they can see the collection and exhibitions.
What is your favorite Cooper-Hewitt exhibition to date? Why?
Last summer’s Graphic Design—Now in Production exhibition on Governors Island, because the content was so fascinating and diverse, and all the designers we worked with on various public programs were so much fun. And, I got to take the ferry to work!
What was the most memorable moment for you at Cooper-Hewitt?
Seeing the transformation of the Governors Island exhibition venue from a very raw, empty space to a slick and elegant graphic design exhibition. I was blown away.
What is the future of design?
Empathy. I think design is inherently about being able to put yourself in another person’s place. The more we emphasize this, through teaching and other means, the more user-friendly and innovative design solutions will result.
Finally, if you could redesign anything, what would it be?
The NY State DMV user experience. They could use some more empathy.