Here at People’s Liberty, we like to highlight the work of our grantees, as well as share the stories of our leadership team. In an effort to introduce you to our core staff members, we asked Program Director, Aurore Fournier to tell us a little about herself:
Q: What brought you to PL?
A: I had just moved back from New York City, was working at the Contemporary Art Center as a preparator and I had a lot of experience working in museums, experiential agencies and galleries with installation, exhibition design and production. A mentor of mine recommended me for a position to oversee the first installation of the Globe Gallery, which was Good Eggs with Jason Snell. So I met with some of the People’s Liberty staff, we hit it off, and I started right away as a producer. Early in January 2015, Jake asked if I wanted to come in part-time to start dabbling in grant-making and do more than just oversee the gallery. Then the workload started to become bigger and someone had to take over that position as a program director. Jake and I talked and he offered me the position and I was like “hell yes!” I would be crazy to say no. I officially became a program director in March of 2015.
Q: What do you do at PL?
A: I oversee all of the grant making opportunities. That means I prepare for upcoming grant cycles, which requires: managing all of the calendars, training the jurors, meeting with the jurors, meeting potential applicants for 1-on-1’s, giving them guidance and overseeing our grantees journey. I’m also overseeing everything on grantcycle.co, which is the application process and our review process. Other than the grant opportunities, I also manage the Globe Gallery, so I’m very in tune with the Globe Grantees. I try to help them envision what will happen in the gallery whether it’s finding installers or thinking about a layout and what would look good and work well with the space.
Q: In regards to the Haile Fellowship 2.0, how do you feel that it's evolved? Do you feel more confident in it the second time around?
A: Yeah, it was a rough turn and change of events considering the fact that we pushed pause at the end of last year. But I think the time we spent redesigning it as a team was productive. Thinking about the questions, targeting it more towards the individual and how we can help that individual grow during those twelve months and beyond is the new approach. I think we kind of hit the nail on the head, for lack of a better term. Our new approach was much more successful; we attracted a lot of people of all ages and industries. The applications this time around were crazy strong, so it was awesome, and worth it
Q: Do you feel that either PL or you, individually have made a significant difference in the community based on the results of the work you have done?
A: Yes. I’m not the one who's making a difference though, I think the grantees are making a difference. And I think as a team, together, working with the residents, we’re making a difference in the community, in the sense that we are taking risks on people and giving them a chance to actually act on those ideas. We’re taking it to the next level and giving people the funding to make their project or idea happen. On the resident side, it's great that we are able to invite younger professionals to see what the philanthropic world is and learn about it to ask: "is this something that you’d like to do?" That’s part of the fun of People’s Liberty; we’re trying to demonstrate new philanthropy. We call ourselves a lab; we’re here to experiment.
Q: Is there any individual or group of people that influenced you to go this direction in your career?
A: I never thought I would end up in philanthropy. It’s completely different from what I studied in school and from my work background. I saw it as a challenge that was crazy intriguing and I wanted to learn more about it; I’m still constantly learning. I'm kind of leaning on Eric’s shoulder and the Haile Foundation to learn more and grow in this field to become great at what I'm doing. I volunteered before, but it was never to an extent that I felt I was making a real difference. This is different. It's more hands on, we get to talk to the people who we are funding and hopefully have a positive impact on them and their project.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Like I said before, I never thought I would end up in this industry. Ideally, it would involve a balance between the art, the design and the museum worlds. It could be anywhere, I think I need to see more of what's out there.
Q: If you didn’t have to work to make money, what would you be doing?
A: I would travel. I would probably be a photographer, go to art fairs and art museums. Travel, museum, and photography.
Q: If you could give your younger self a piece of advice with the knowledge you have now, what would it be?
A: You’re capable of doing much more than what you think. Sometimes I think “I can’t do this” or “I’m not going to be able to finish this.” I’m constantly surprising myself that I’m able to accomplish these things, and overcome that fear.
Stay tuned for more posts about our PL Team and grantees. Don’t forget that Globe In The Dark is on February 26th at 6pm, and Project Grant three opens on March 2nd. You can view the info session page here.