CCAD alum Linda Diec finds art life balance
Before she found her calling as an artist and arts administrator, Linda Diec (MFA, 2013) thought she wanted to be a doctor.
To that end, she started her undergraduate career as a pre-med biochemistry student.
“But then I had a revelation,” she said. She changed her major first to architecture, then to art history, then to art.
“My parents had no idea what was happening,” she said with a laugh. “I remember exactly when I took my first glass blowing class, because it was as a joke. But then I really loved it.”
Eventually, Diec went on to earn a BFA. After that, she worked for several years in galleries and art spaces around Columbus: Junctionview, Glass Axis, the Idea Foundry, 400 West Rich, the Wexner Center for the Arts, and more.
But in 2011, Diec decided to return to school; specifically, she decided to enroll in CCAD’s then-brand-new MFA program.
“Going to grad school is giving yourself the gift of time,” she said. “You’re a different kind of citizen as a student. Working as an artist … it’s not as romantic as it seems. You still have to work. As a student, you’re not ’working’ but everybody knows you’re working hard at something.”
And her time at CCAD required a lot of hard work.
“CCAD was challenging,” she said. “But that was a good thing. Grad school is all about being challenged in a safe spot, with professors and mentors to help you. If it wasn’t so challenging, I wouldn’t have gotten anything from it.”
Instead, Diec got a lot from her time at CCAD.
She worked with a diverse group of artists who created across an even more diverse group of mediums.
She met “wonderful people” and forged lasting connections to the Columbus art community.
She meshed neon lights and geodesic domes with Ikea furniture and projected images and sounds to create a multidisciplinary, room-size thesis project.
“In grad school, you take time to build on the foundations of undergrad, to find depth,” Diec said. “You learn where you fit in the giant lexicon of art.”
And at CCAD, Diec confirmed her space in that lexicon is firmly in the world of contemporary art.
Today, Diec works as an exhibition coordinator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, CA — the perfect place for a contemporary art enthusiast, she said.
As an exhibition coordinator, Diec works with everyone from curators to preparators to artists to accountants to share a diverse perspective of contemporary art with the public. Basically, she says, the department and everyone in it works in ways to accomplish great artist feats. A perfect job for the “uber problem solver.”
"I love MOCA’s mission," she says. "Being able to contribute in making great art is what’s great about my job. Art administration is what I do and what I’m good at, and contemporary art, specifically, is up my alley.”
The skills Diec puts to work every day at MOCA were fostered as an artist in Columbus. The art she produces, including her recent piece for the Museum of Neon Art’s She Bends: Women in Neon exhibit, references and relates to the work she did as a CCAD student.
“Because of where CCAD is, because it’s a microcosm of the world, it’s a perfect playground,” she said. “CCAD and Columbus gave me the opportunity to shape the future. They gave me a lot of space to make big things.
“I still prize the relationships I made and experiences I had in grad school.”
All photo credits to Linda Diec