ORIGINALLY POSTED 08/01/2016 |
FROM THE FALL 2016 ISSUE
Like Alice’s wonderland, art for Alana Coates is a rabbit hole she’s all too eager to jump into. “I really do enjoy all art from all time periods,” she says. “Once you start diving a little bit deeper it just keeps getting more and more interesting, and before you know it you’re 20 books deep into research.”
As associate director of the gallery Ruiz-Healy Art for the past three years, an art history lecturer at Northwest Vista College and a curator of independent projects, Coates has plenty of reasons to indulge her life’s passion.
At the gallery, she’s responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and promoting exhibitions. But one of her favorite parts of the job is client and artist relations. “I get to meet some of the most fascinating people,” Coates says. “The artists are amazing, but I don’t think people realize how special and unique collectors are too.”
The Rhode Island native says her path to art history wasn’t an expected one. Calling herself an “odd duck” among a sports-loving family that wasn’t really interested in the arts, Coates found herself on a path out of New England to San Antonio in 2009. “When I explored best schools for Latin American and Latino art history,” she says, “UTSA was one of them.”
She earned her master’s degree in art history and criticism as well as a graduate certificate in nonprofit administration and leadership. The fact she got her degree at UTSA helped in her hiring, says gallery founder and owner Patricia Ruiz-Healy ’05. “I knew that she was coming from a very strong program,” Ruiz-Healy says, “and that really gave me lots of comfort. She has strong language skills and does a great job with press releases. And she is very professional and reliable. Since I travel a lot for the business growth of the gallery, I feel comfortable leaving her in charge of the day-to-day activities.”
Coates’ connection to UTSA continues in multiple ways. Throughout August, the gallery is hosting an exhibit from artist and guest curator Jesse Amado that includes work from a recent graduate, ceramist Kaela Puente M.F.A. ’16. Coates is also facilitating a three-person exhibition in 2017 at UTSA’s Main Campus art gallery that will focus on multi-generational artist inspirations and feature the art of John Hernandez, Louie Chavez, and Megan Solis ’16.
Gallery work, independent projects, and even teaching keeps Coates incredibly busy. “I love them all equally, and I’m very passionate about it, so I basically work seven days a week,” she says, adding, “Oh, and I do try to squeeze in some yoga every day.”