Interview with Pauline Noyes
Jul 7, 2014

Pauline Noyes poses in front of the new Whitney museum in a hard hat.

Pauline Noyes on a hard hat tour of the Whitney’s new building, June 2014. Photograph by Edith Young

In spring 2014, Pauline Noyes became the Coordinator of School and Educator Programs in the Whitney’s Education department. Before joining the Whitney, Pauline worked at the Rubin Museum for five years, where she ran the high school and college programs and also worked in school and teacher programs. Now that she’s had some time to settle in, I asked Pauline a few questions.

How did you become interested in museum education?

After graduating from the School of Visual Arts as a sculpture and installation major, I traveled and lived in Asia for three and half years. When I returned, I was looking for a way to deepen and share my love of Asian art and culture, so I volunteered as a docent at the Japan Society. I was teaching at a Brooklyn High School at the time, and became interested in the kind of hands on, inquiry based learning that can happen in museums. Later I studied at the Bank Street College of Education and received a Master's Degree in Museum Education.

What upcoming programs are you looking forward to?

I’m most looking forward to the school partnerships and teacher exchange. One of the reasons I was excited to work here is that the Whitney values ongoing relationships with its school and educator communities. In the new building, there will be an even greater emphasis on our long term partnerships. Whitney Education puts artists, their art, and their ideas at the center of our work, and I’m excited to see how this approach can enhance the ways in which our audiences see the world.

What are you excited about for our move to the new building?

I’m inspired by the Whitney’s efforts to get to know the community in the Meatpacking District and surrounding area. I think it’s really important to ensure that the Whitney is accessible to its new neighbors and responsive to the community. I’m looking forward to expanding school partnerships and learning how we can be a resource and a cultural anchor in our new neighborhood. I’m also looking forward to creating and building relationships with new schools and thinking about schools as communities—teachers, students, their families, and school administrators. Finally, I’m a fan of the Highline as a place, not only for its neighbors, but for people who visit New York City from around the world—our move to the new building at the south end of the Highline is an unprecedented opportunity to facilitate a lively engagement with art and make it more accessible to all visitors.

By Dina Helal, Manager of Education Resources