When Keidra Daniels Navaroli received her M.A. in Art History in 2007, she did not anticipate returning to a university campus for some time. “I enjoyed my classes and professors tremendously, but I felt eager to see what was out there,” she states. Having completed an undergraduate internship with Sotheby’s New York, Keidra had entered graduate school at FSU with an interest in art law. Her interest in arts administration was furthered by an internship with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After graduation, she was offered a development position handling corporate and foundation relations for the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA). “The Met was wonderful, but everyone is so specialized. It’s hard to see the ‘big picture.’ With the OMA, I worked directly under the executive director, so it gave me an inside look at what it was like to work with an institution at a macroscopic level – funding, strategic planning, audience development…everything.”
This broad experience at OMA was an important foundation for her current work. Navaroli now serves as the Assistant Director and Curator of the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech), where she oversees daily operations. Founded in 2009, the Ruth Funk Center is the only textiles center in Florida and one of few in the nation. The Funk Center houses a collection of traditional garments and hand-made textiles from Asia, Africa, and Central America, as well as historical American and European costume and contemporary fiber art.
As a university museum with a rotating exhibition schedule, the Funk Center promotes interest in art on campus and in the surrounding communities by designing exhibitions and educational programs that offer substantial learning in a non-traditional environment. Keidra began her work with the Center shortly after its founding, giving her a unique opportunity to grow with the institution – first within administration and now also as curator.
My environment is dynamic and the ability to adapt quickly and to communicate effectively – skills finessed during my graduate career – have been essential. In addition, my work as the director/curator of an academic museum (a position I did not anticipate, but nonetheless prepared for through my Art History studies) requires a diverse skill set: conducting research, developing exhibition content and presenting lectures, while also handling the administrative duties of managing staff and interdepartmental relationships – tasks that still seem easy compared to writing three research papers at once!
Since 2010, Keidra has curated many exhibitions, including Light and Shadow: Contemporary Fiber Art, which presented abstract weavings, embroideries and installations by South Korean artist Hye Shin and Reimagined: Innovations in Fiber, an exhibition of Miami-based contemporary artists characterized by their use of experimental materials. She curated the current exhibition Flora & Fiber, which runs through August 26, 2017, from the Center’s permanent collection. In addition, Keidra is preparing to present alongside fellow FSU alum and Florida Tech Director of University Museums, Carla Funk (M.A. ’96), at the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries Annual Conference in Eugene, Oregon this summer.