Communications/External Affairs Assistant Devon Fero is a Wake Forest University graduate who’s explored Museums from NYC to Venice, Italy. She is the daughter of local glass artist Shane Fero, and has deep roots in Asheville’s art community.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The first thing that comes to mind is being able to stroll the gallery halls whenever I’m in need of some inspiration. Between the works in the SECU Collection Hall continuously rotating and new exhibitions to look forward to, there’s always something new to discover or work that speaks to me in a particular moment. When I find the time, I love indulging myself in a cloud of research when I write a Work of the Week for the blog. Every time I write one, I get this nostalgic feeling that I’m researching a work for one of my undergraduate Art History classes again. Along the same vein, I jump at the opportunity to write exciting and thought-provoking questions for our Artist Spotlights, this one featuring photographer Evan Kafka. He’s photographed Bill Gates, Robert De Niro, John Legend, and many live animals—and I got to ask him about all of that.
Lastly, I love unearthing and posting about hidden gems in our Collection that haven’t been seen or celebrated enough. I follow a lot of museum social media accounts such as MoMa, the Whitney, and the Getty—museums I’ve visited and some I haven’t yet, but regardless I want to keep up on their works and exhibitions from afar. It’s like a daily armchair visit to their galleries and vaults. So, I suppose I fancy the idea of someone like me following our Collection and exhibitions from far away, and hopefully something we post inspires them or brightens their day. In so many ways I think social media is a fantastic tool for a museum to have a wider reach as it has really changed and hopefully improved the accessibility to consume art and culture from anywhere.
What’s your favorite work in the Collection and why?
Ah! That’s a tough one! How much time do you have? I’ve formed a special bond with Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald’s Japanese Magnolias, currently on view in Intersections in American Art in the Museum’s SECU Collection Hall. I became enthralled (some would say obsessed) with Zelda as a historical figure during graduate school and was elated to learn we had a painting of hers in our Collection. I think because she only exhibited her work once in her lifetime, not many people know that she was a painter, as well as an accomplished novelist and dancer. She was also a resident of Asheville during the latter years of her life, and perished in a fire at Highland Hospital. Her paintings reference Surrealism and Cubism, but unfortunately, many of them were destroyed by her family members after her passing.
However, my most recent obsession is Virginia Scotchie’s Around the World featuring Object Maker Series featured in our latest exhibition, Fantastical Forms. I love the textures, the bright colors of the ceramic objects, and Scotchie’s reference to pop culture! It’s also the perfect spot for a Museum selfie.
Share a fact about yourself that hardly anyone knows.
I went to Wake Forest University (twice!) and during my junior year, I studied at one of Wake’s study abroad houses, Casa Artom in Venice, Italy. The house is a former US consulate building that’s conveniently located right next to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Some of our courses allowed for frequent field trips to the museum, and we also received a free guest pass to visit any time and as many times as we liked. I would sometimes go every day in a week. I loved having a quiet moment of reflection or coming across a work that I hadn’t noticed before. I think that was the first time I realized I could envision myself spending a large portion of my day in a museum.
What’s your favorite menu item from Perspective Café?
Grilled Pimento Cheese Panini add bacon!