Around the University of the Ozarks campus, Chelsey Becker is known to many as the "Zumba Lady," but there's much more to the senior from Claremore, Okla.
Senior Chelsey Becker spent a month in New York City this summer studying about the art gallery business and visiting galleries and museums.
Becker is an art and business administration major who, along with teaching Zumba classes on campus and in the community, has a love for dancing and for cooking. This past summer, she spent a month in New York City taking a class called "Fundamentals of the Gallery Business," at the Sotheby’s Institution of Art, a renowned graduate college devoted to the study of art and its markets. Becker used funding from the U of O Academic Enrichment Fund to live and study in the eighth largest city in the world.
"It was a great experience and one that will help me tremendously in my career goals," Becker said. "I’ve spent a lot of time working on my art and thinking about one day possibly owning my own gallery. This experience helped put me that much closer to that goal."
Becker was in class four hours a day, Monday through Thursday, for four weeks. The topics covered included, how to set up a gallery, pricing and marketing strategies, business plans, curating art and hosting special events. She also had the opportunity to visit numerous small and large galleries and museums throughout the city, both on her own and as part of the class.
"I really learned a lot about the art business and how it works behind the scenes," Becker said. "One neat thing about the class was that there were students there from several other countries, so I got their perspectives and ideas as well. And, just being in that city with all the great galleries and art was inspiring in itself."
The experience affirmed Backer’s desire to one day own an art gallery, even though her ideas of the concept may be a little untraditional.
"I have a love for art, but I also love to make food, which I consider an art form as well" she said. "One of the first things I’d like to do when I get out of college is to own a food truck. Eventually, I’d love to own a combination art gallery and restaurant. That would be my ideal setup."
She would especially like her future gallery to showcase lesser known artists from rural America.
"Being an artist, I know how difficult it is to get your work in galleries," she said. "In larger cities, there seems to be a lot of opportunities for artist to get their work displayed, and I want to give artists from small cities and towns the same opportunities. I have a special place in my heart for those rural artist."
Until then, Becker will continue to teach Zumba, work on her art, study business and pursue her dreams.
"You don’t see too many art and business majors, but it’s perfect for me," Becker said. "Ozarks has helped me discover myself and has opened so many doors for me. I’m ready to take advantage of those opportunities and go after my goals."