Meet Jonathan Levy of Fort Worth Community Arts Center
by VoyageDallas | January 10, 2018
Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Levy.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am an artist by training with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. I have worked in many different aspects within the art world from selling art in a retail setting, teaching painting classes and working in non-profit arts programs as well as pursuing my own artistic passions. I lived in Maui, Hawaii for five years and Brooklyn, NY most recently before moving to Texas, following a girl who I had a horrible first date with but who is now my future wife.
After a year together, she moved back to her hometown of Fort Worth for work and I began looking for jobs there as well. A year ago when I was reading the job description of my current position Program and Exhibition Manager at Fort Worth Community Arts Center, I couldn’t help thinking it was made for me. Planning new programs and exhibits has been a passion of mine for years and this position combines that along with arranging aesthetically pleasing exhibits in a way that shows the piece in its best and truest light, all within a non-profit setting which I prefer.
The past year has been challenging adjusting to a new community and familiarizing myself with the artistic community which I now work but overall, it has been extremely rewarding. The Fort Worth Community Arts Center gives the community a creative outlet to exhibit and view art that they otherwise might not come into contact with as well theater productions and other programing. It is a unique and special situation for local artists which does not exist in many places in the world, as well as an asset to the community.
Has it been a smooth road?
Although I would not say it has been smooth, I do believe there has been a measure of fate in my journey leading me here to my current position at Fort Worth Community Arts Center. Coming to town as an outsider from New York no less, I was met with mistrust initially from some of the local community, though the vast majority were very supportive and welcoming to my surprise.
In the past year since I started at my position, there have been definite struggles as the local artistic community adjusts to some of the changes I have made along the way. Change is never easy or comfortable but without it, extinction looms. Operating within the cultural district of Fort Worth, real estate is at a premium and new construction plans can threaten older, historical buildings such as the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.
Staying relevant and dynamic is imperative to survival for arts organizations as funding cuts are made. Although the Arts Center is easily taken for granted, if it were to dispersal it would leave a major void in the community.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Fort Worth Community Arts Center is a very unique organization. It gives local artists an opportunity to exhibit in a beautiful, historic building previously occupied by the Modern Art Museum. Not only is the gallery space beautifully appointed, the knowledge that the walls previously displayed some of the giants of modern art give it added significance.
In addition to the gallery space, our building houses two theaters which hosts local theatrical and musical performances. The Community Arts Center is a unique, significant asset to the local creative community.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
The Fort Worth Community Arts Center sits in the heart of the Cultural District surrounded by 3 Nationally recognized art museums, Will Rogers Memorial Center, the Museum of Science and History and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Just a short distance from downtown Fort Worth and the West 7th Street Crockett Row Development, we are in an area that is thriving.
Although faced with inevitable obstacles, we are optimistic and excited about the future of the arts in Fort Worth. We are in a good place at a good time, In my opinion, the arts scene here is at an interesting place and on the verge of being recognized nationally.
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