To say Beth Giacummo is a busy young woman with a distinct artistic vision would be an understatement. She typifies what it means to be a diligent and efficacious artist—someone who not only generates her own work, but also manages her day-to-day business, which includes upholding an online presence, networking with other artists and participating in as many art openings as possible. “As an artist in 2012, you have to wear a lot of hats. I think the general public still believes that all artists are ‘starving’ and that we slave away in our studios, just hoping to be discovered. Not true. If you want to be a working artist, you have to create your own opportunities,” Giacummo says.
At 29 years old, Giacummo has appropriately carved out her own multifaceted identity, as the Administrator/Curator of the Islip Art Museum, Chief Curator at Briarcliffe College (where she’s also a full-time professor) and President of the Patchogue Arts Council. Yet, she still makes time to produce her own sophisticated work, which tends to be installation-based, sculptural, interactive and generally touches upon such contemporary themes as sexual identity, oversaturation of information and various other extant motifs. “I have an iPad and lots of Post-it notes,” she laughs. “If I didn’t have these things to organize myself, I think I’d topple over.”
The upcoming months for Giacummo will be just as overloaded with administrative duties, but she plans to set aside some time to focus on her own work, as she’ll be an international resident artist in Romania at the D. Fleiss & East West Residency. “Last year, I did this same residency and it opened me up to an array of opportunities. The traveling, the mixing with other artists, their worldly perspectives, all provided insight for my own work, whether as an artist or an administrator. I really began to understand what collaboration entails, and that can be extremely informative and a lot of fun.”
With this knowledge and newfound vision, Giacummo is now intent on rallying other artists together. This idea is evident in her work and most recently with her contribution to the Islip Art Museum’s “Hit the Lights,” a bi-monthly event at the museum, which is geared toward younger artists networking. “There’s live music, food, drinks, art and lots of ideas being passed around. It’s a really a great time, and the buzz is really getting out there.”
Whether Giacummo is organizing upcoming exhibits at the Islip Art Museum, Briarcliffe College, administering events for the Patchogue Arts Council or working on her own material, there seems to be a consistent communal thread to all of her pursuits—she wants to create and maintain a strong sense of community amongst all artists. “When I was younger, the Islip Art Museum gave me an opportunity to showcase my work, and that led to me interning here, which led to me eventually working here. Now it’s my turn to reciprocate the favor with some of these upcoming young artists.”
At the Islip Art Museum this month:
The Islip Art Museum’s upcoming show will be Urban Suburban. The show runs from April 11 to May 27 with a reception being held on April 22. 50 Irish Lane, East Islip. (631) 224-5402, islipartmuseum.org.