While there have been many opportunities to learn about Beacon Gallery’s amazing artists through our ongoing Beacon Gallery Connections blog series, we don’t often get the chance to spotlight the important individuals contributing to such work behind the scenes.
The Beacon Gallery Team is a small but mighty one, and we would love to be able to connect with our fellow art community on a more in-depth level. With that said, we’re excited to present a moment to meet Beacon Gallery’s Marketing Manager and Assistant Curator, Presley Ackeret!
What sparked your interest in the arts?
It’s hard to say— I was always drawn to the arts for as long as I can remember. As an angsty teen, there was a good period in which I perused to the Saint Louis Art Museum a likely unhealthy number of times (I would have gone every day, if I could) and once I was able to sign up for AP Art History– well, the rest is history. All this, but I never believed art could play a larger role in my life than as a secret, personal passion. When I finally stumbled upon the amazing opportunity to fit that personal passion into my career, I realized just how much I’d been missing out on all along.
Alain de Botton explains in his book Art Therapy (which I recommend!) that we’re attracted specifically to art that reflects what’s lacking in our own inner worlds. With my previous experience as a mental health specialist, this stuck with me. I’m a firm believer that our active acknowledgement and appreciation for art exists hand in hand with wellbeing and existentialism.
You and Christine have the coolest meet-cute, can tell us about that?
Ah, yes! Christine and I were brought together by none other than the strange workings of the universe – there’s no other way to put it. We met *organically(?)* which is the ultimate romantic never-happens-anymore occurrence.
After a period of feeling unfulfilled and searching for local art resources but continuing to come up short, I threw a blind line into the vast expanse that is Reddit. Requesting *anyone* offer guidance on Boston art “stuff”, a stranger dm’ed me claiming they might be able to help. After a few messages back and forth, which grew longer and longer each reply, I finally met Christine in person, at the gallery, and had a lovely discussion – one I still consider my very first initiation into the Boston art scene.
Can you tell us about the food writing that you are doing?
As someone who has followed the work of Anthony Bourdain (among other food/travel/culture names) since childhood, I’m super stoked to be doing some writing for Eat Like Bourdain, a site which maps out (both literally and figuratively) his entire body of work. There’s certainly more on this to come(!), but all I’ll say for now is that it feels pretty surreal being paid to watch No Reservations, A Cook’s Tour, and the shows I’d otherwise be binging for absolutely free.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love to cook… and eat… I’m a big foodie (sorry). I’m also an avid reader, though there never seems to be enough time in the day to do it as much as I’d ideally like to. Last year I logged 52 books, whereas this year I’m only on track to get in 26. No complaints, though – it was a fair trade. This year has been a great one.
What do you value?
I value meaningful relationships. Over the past few years, especially, I’ve learned that loving what you do very much also means loving who you do it with. That goes for every part of life.
What was your favorite class in college?
Currently having flashbacks to the many very pretentious things I said as an undergrad student (if you don’t feel the same way about yourself, I’m calling you out here) but if I had to choose just one, I’d say my favorite course was Existentialism. The subject material allowed me to explore the intersection of philosophy, literature, history, art, culture, and more. As the perpetual escapist I am, it was freeing to escape to a world of people — Simone de Beauvois, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus— more eloquent and dreamy than I.
What artist, artwork, music, book, movie, or podcast represents your mood right now?
I’ve described my permanent, unrelenting mood as “a Hopper’s Nighthawks-esque atmosphere but with Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees echoing menacingly, yet funkily somewhere in the background”. Let’s keep it at that… I have so many different consumer moods, the owner of my local go-to bookstore commented that I’m one of the oh-so special regulars he can never seem to figure out.
What are your personal goals for Beacon Gallery through your position?
Before I worked at Beacon Gallery, I was always a bit wary of art galleries and tended to shy away from them. To be honest, I think the vibe at many art galleries can be overwhelming and off-putting. Christine has a very conscious understanding of this and goes out of her way to give attention to those little, often overlooked details that bring people comfort. My goal is to support the gallery to this end by promoting and sharing the space as a place of genuine, welcoming community.
Thanks to Presley for taking the time to tell us a bit more about herself!
About Presley Ackeret (she/her),
Marketing Manager & Assistant Curator of Beacon Gallery
Presley is a “Jill of All Trades,” a passionate art professional, and manages a range of projects for Beacon Gallery in art, curation, writing, media, operations, and more. She also worked as Digital Editor & Community Relations for the Boston Art Review and currently serves as Communications Coordinator of Harvard University’s Department of Anthropology.
Through the Summer 2022 session, Presley attended an artist residency program at The Bottega Projects in Montebuono, Italy. In September, she was selected to serve as judge of the 2022 Newton Art Association‘s Annual Awards Show.