Photo by Walter P. Callahan

WORK SPACE: WENDY CLARK

By Jennifer Davis, ’95 | Spring 2016

As director of museums, visual arts, and indemnity at the National Endowment for the Arts, Wendy Clark, ’83, certainly has an impressive title. But that title does not guarantee a large work space. Clark’s cubicle is modern and contemporary, though, and impressive by Washington, D.C., standards. Clark has worked for the NEA more than 20 years. She now puts her art history classes, rather than her political science major, to work helping museums secure matching grants for exhibits, care for collections, and get insurance for art pieces.

“We’ve helped millions of Americans see work they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.”

When Michigan Alumnus visited Clark, we saw that her desk is a reflection of her personality and her passions.

clark

Photos by Walter P. Callahan

1 clarke_1 The stacks of art books are exhibition catalogs from grants her work has helped fund. “They inspire me and remind me of what we have supported.”
2 clarke_2 This framed photo shows Clark and other U-M alumni at a 2011 field hockey reunion. Clark played her freshman and sophomore years. ”The picture makes me feel connected to the University.”
3 clarke_3 This flier promotes a prison arts program and features a hand-stitched donkey Photoshopped in front of a row of prison cells. ”It reminds me of another way the NEA’s mission is achieved and reaches people who can benefit from creative engagement.”
4 clarke_4 A 72-year-old woman wrote Clark years ago looking for a creative outlet so she “wouldn’t get lonely and depressed during the cold months.” Clark connected her to a local arts organization and keeps the letter “because it reminds me of my ability to connect people and art on a micro level.”
5 clarke_5 The Blue Star Museums program, advertised in this flier, gives active duty military and their families free summer admission to more than 2,000 museums.
6 clarke_6 A series of bound chartreuse books are ledgers from the old Government Printing Office. She’s used them her entire career to keep track of her travels to museums and conferences. “I’m into how old-school and vintage they are.”

Jennifer Davis, ’95, is a freelance reporter and writer based in Washington, D.C.

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