GET TO KNOW US: CATHERINE GONZALEZ
Ever wanted to put a Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) name to a face? Every month we feature a different member our staff, providing a little insight into who they are and what they do.
This month the spotlight's on Catherine Gonzalez.
RESPONSIBILITIES: I assist the Communications team in its community outreach, public relations and marketing responsibilities. My position consists of information collection and proofing; digital marketing; event production support and staffing; volunteer coordination and some administrative responsibilities.
DEGREES / CERTIFICATES: BA in Art History, University of Houston
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE ARTS? My first job in the arts was an internship within the Mexic-Arte Museum curatorial department. I gained lots of hands-on experience researching artists and helping with exhibitions proposals. I worked with curator Claudia Zapataand witnessed the launch of her many projects, including the co-founding of ChingoZine, a Latino art zine; and Chingolandia, a Latino designer toy line as part of her Latino art collective, Puro Chingón Collective, LLC. This experience was incredibly inspiring and taught me about the possibilities of where I could take my art history degree.
WHAT IS YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE WORKING IN THE ARTS & CULTURE? Before arriving at HAA, I interned and worked at different institutions around town. I interned in Development at the Contemporary Arts Museum and in Curatorial at the Blaffer Art Museum. I was also a docent at Blaffer! (This experience taught me how to confidently talk about art.) My favorite job during college was at the UH Jenkins Architecture + Art Library. The people who worked there were my best friends in college. Not everyone was a real librarian ... “we just played them on television.” I was responsible for providing research assistance to patrons and performing general circulation/shelving duties. Shelving was so therapeutic for me... I learned how to organize information and subjects in my mind. Libraries are dreamy places.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT WORKING AT HOUSTON ARTS ALLIANCE? My favorite thing about working at HAA has to be the Communications team and the many lessons I have gained from them. Over the past year and a half, I’ve learned a great deal about arts marketing, digital media strategy, content planning, public art, public relations, Houston’s creative industry and arts administration. I feel like I speak a new language now... and it all circulates!
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS / ATTRACTIONS / EVENTS IN HOUSTON? There is so much to do here! My mother always says that “people should never be bored in Houston.” In my free time I like to stroll through the Surrealist galleries at the Menil Collection, see artsy films at Sundance Cinemas, browse through all the records at Vinyl Edge Records and meditate at the Rothko Chapel - or James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany.
FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF: I am a nerdy art historian. I like to tell people that I can research anything for them. I wrote my senior honors thesis in art history focusing on American Realism and Magic Realism painting in the 1940s. This experience changed my outlook on how to perceive magic in our rational world.
IF YOU COULD CLOSE YOUR EYES AND BE ANYWHERE ON EARTH WHEN THEY OPENED, WHERE WOULD YOU BE? I would like to wake up in a lavender field in Provence, France.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE OF YOUR LIFE? If we are focusing on personality, I think I want Greta Gerwig to play me. Her eccentric confident role in Mistress America shook my soul, and I haven’t been the same since.
HAVE YOUR EVER SANG KARAOKE? WHAT'S "YOUR" SONG? Yes, I have sung karaoke. I believe that singing can save lives. Sometimes I take it to digital form. (My friends on Snapchat had to deal with this a few weeks ago.) My song is Don’t Rain On My Parade – the Barbara version. Last March in California, my friend Nina and I performed this song to a small crowd. It was glorious.
WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU HEARD OR SAW WHICH MADE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD? The last time I truly laughed out loud (as in "fell out of my chair, rolled on the floor, ribs became sore") was probably about a month ago—while watching The Beatles’ Help!—with my friend Lindsey from Austin. We couldn’t get over the scene where the sneaky snowman gets pulled away to win an award for the “ski race” he entered himself in - while chasing the Fab Four down the French Alps. Everyone should watch that movie. It makes me so happy.
IF YOU RULED THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ON DAY 1? I would support an effort to supply free and accessible water to all.