Earlier this year the Museum welcomed Mary Little as its new membership officer. Mary has worked for a number of years in administrative and customer service roles, including her most recent position providing support to the executive director at the Birmingham Public Library. She is passionate about art and earned a B.F.A. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. We are excited to have her on our team!
You received your B.F.A. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Can you tell us more about your studies?
Mary Little: I started at UAB with the intent of concentrating in painting. Then, I discovered ceramics, which led to sculpture. By the time I reached PAFA, I was interested in installation while exploring painting and drawing in new dimensions. Both UAB and PAFA were incredible experiences in their own ways. The close-knit environment at UAB still has me connected to my former professors and classmates. Philadelphia was great exposure to artists from around the world in addition to evidence of the rich American history which seemed to be at every turn.
When did you become interested in working in the arts?
ML: When I was in third grade, our school had a day where students dressed up as their future profession. To look like a painter, I wore my most French-looking polka dot dress, a beret, and carried a paintbrush. As I grew older and continued studying and practicing art, I was amazed at the amount of support artists, galleries, museums, schools, and non-profit organizations receive from the generosity of people who love art. It was a natural progression to want to be involved in supporting the arts.
What are you most excited about in your new position?
ML: I’m excited to meet and get to know our current members because we share this passion for supporting the arts. I’m also very excited to work with the staff across different departments towards finding dynamic benefits and opportunities for our current and future members.
From your perspective, what is the value of being a BMA member?
ML: One of my favorite things about the BMA is the free general admission. The support from members helps give everyone in the community access to experience art and participate in free programs. Also, with every membership, members receive free or discounted admission to more than 90 museums in the Southeast through the Southeastern Reciprocal Membership Program. At the Contributor level, it expands to more than 800 through the North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM). BMA membership benefits extend beyond the city and state!
Do you have a favorite work in the Museum’s collection?
ML: There is no way I can pick just one favorite, but I’m still thinking of the exhibition Afterlife: Asian Art from the Weldon Collection (November 2017–January 2018). Some of the objects in the exhibit accompanied the living as they journeyed into the afterlife. Intentions, beliefs, and well wishes were encapsulated in these artworks. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I came back to visit the exhibit several times!