5 Questions: Calcagno Cullen

We’re taking our Five Questions series around the office and finding out more about SFMOMA staff members, and what’s changed for them now that we’re under construction. Today we’re talking to Calcagno Cullen, Education Associate, School and Teacher Programs, in our Minna Street offices, where many of us have been located for several years, and will be until 2016, when our new building opens.


Please describe your job in three sentences or less:

My position is dedicated to partnering with schools and developing teacher professional development programs and resources. I’m all about facilitating the use of SFMOMA resources by teachers and schools.

What are you thinking about now that you weren’t thinking about before the museum closed?

I’m most concerned about making sure teachers and schools don’t forget about us. Because field trips aren’t happening without a museum, I don’t want that to be a reason kids are missing out on contemporary art this year. I’m reaching and communicating with teachers a lot more to make sure they know we are here and are continuing to offer programs and resources for them.

Do you collect anything?

I collect typewriters and rotary dial phones. I make a lot of art about communication and I love these antiquated communication devices because they are both functional and sculptural. I use the typewriter to compose and send letters to strangers in New York City about three to four times a week. I install the phones in galleries where they either record visitors talking into them or play a recorded story.

If you could spend an afternoon with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

I’m reading a lot of Tom Wolfe right now. He seems like he’s got a lot of stories to tell. I don’t know if this is cheating, but I’d rather have a party with a group of people. I’d invite Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, Tom Wolfe, Charles Bukowski — it would be fun.

If you could steal any artwork in the world to have in your home, what would it be?

I really like Candice Brietz’s Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon) from our collection. I would just need a bigger room for it.

If you weren’t an Education Associate at SFMOMA what would your gig be?

I would probably be a full time artist, or maybe an anthropologist.

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