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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Framing Skye, Curator of the Harbor Art Gallery

Framing Skye, Curator of the Harbor Art Gallery

When walking through the Harbor art gallery we pass through pleasant and insightful exhibits, but don’t see everything. Who or what is behind them? The answer is Skyela Heitz. Skye has been behind the scenes at the Harbor art gallery thoroughly analyzing the presentation of art pieces. Skye is a senior and she has been at UMass Boston since 2000. Skye is in the capstone art program that helps students prepare for life after college. She came to UMB from Northeastern because she took a class by Paul Tucker – who is an art historian and Director of Arts on the Point – and “fell in love” with it. When asked for her farewell speech to UMB she said she enjoys the opportunities that are here and that students should take advantage of them. She likes that UMB is smaller than Northeastern, and said she worked hard to come here.

Skye is a laid back person, but very meticulous when it comes to art. She spoke of the value of doing community service and said she would like to travel again. She collects vinyl records and enjoys Rock and Roll. It is easy to talk to Skye about art, she does not carry a big ego. Other than art she enjoys sociology, women’s studies, reading Kurt Vonnegut, and she can recommend a good video game.

Skye’s art is about going against stereotypes and taking things out of context. She has produced several portraits some of which are, a Japanese tourist, an American tourist, an overweight cheerleader, and a smoking nun. When asked to describe her art she says, “Silly”, and says she wants to make people laugh. These portraits were all originally photos taken by Skye when the people weren’t looking, and then put to paint with a color background. Skye favors the cheerleader because, a heavy set cheerleader leading the pack isn’t what you would expect in our culture. The smoking nun is another eye popper, as she seems to be thinking “This is my only sin”. The American tourist is typical with his hands perched on his sides with a map in his pocket and an “are we there yet” expression on his face. The Japanese tourist has two cameras. These portraits are something everybody can relate to.

“You have an emotional tie with your work because you work so hard on it and you have so much passion for what you’re doing,” Skye said of her relationship with her work. When she is working on a piece she feels she doesn’t blink, as though she is caught in the welcoming glare of the television. She spoke of the pressure of being an artist and going against the enormous amount of art history.

Skye enjoys working at the Harbor art gallery because she took well to their mission. Her motivation for getting into it was that she wanted to learn more about the business side of art and she was interested in other artists. Galleries are often intimidating and Skye didn’t want the Harbor Art Gallery to be like that. Over the years Skye has seen many exhibits. Among her favorites are a graffiti artist who brought fourteen of his friends, to create something that isn’t permanent and made it permanent. She enjoyed the Jack Wolf Vietnam paintings too.

Skye would like to work at a gallery in the future. She spoke of the hardest part of life after college, “You’re used to following through with this routine and goal and once you’ve finally accomplished it your like, what now.” Skye has had a mystical encounter with a famous person. At a show she was sitting next to Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, and he bought her a beer and the cap said, “Nothing is better than a beer with Eddie Vedder.” Strange coincidences aside, wherever Skye goes in the future she will use her amazing experience from the Harbor Art Gallery, and build on it.