Spartans at Work: San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art

(This summer, SJSU Today hit the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job at summer destinations throughout the Bay Area. Our 2013 Spartans at Work series continues with art history graduate student Sarah Dragovich).

Well known in the Bay Area and beyond, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) offers free admission to some of the most innovative art exhibitions and educational programming in the region, reflecting the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley.

As a dyed-in-the-wool art lover, Sarah Dragovich, ’13 MA Art History, remembers how excited she was when visiting each new site-specific ICA installation, introduced every three to four months.

When she landed an ICA internship last year, she learned that her passion could become her career.

“There are a lot of career opportunities out there for art and art history majors. But you’ve go to be motivated, persistent and passionate to grab them. You have to build and maintain your network, know your capabilities and strengths, and find a way to integrate them with your passion. In my case, it’s art and culture,” she said.

As gallery administrator, Dragovich is the ICA’s ambassador to the public. She’s the eyes and ears of the organization, connecting artists, visitors and members to the mission.

Her role includes greeting each and every visitor to the gallery. She also manages the ICA’s membership program and administrative office, builds relationships with donors and funders, leads docent tours and manages the organizations’s member database.

Sarah is also learning the business and marketing side of the business and honing her event management skills as she and her colleagues gear up for the ICA’s Annual Art Exhibition and Auction, the gallery’s signature fundraising initiative.

“I feel I am really tapping into my passion for art and art history and making a difference by providing a genuine and genuinely inspired experience to the community,” she said.

Her advice to students and new graduates is to persevere and tap your own resources as well as those within your network. She also encourages students to seek out and apply for internship positions.