Laura Dickey Corey

BA, 2008 – Art History, French

How has being an Art, Art History & Visual Studies graduate from Duke helped shape your professional success?

My undergraduate degree in Art History was the first important step in my curatorial career, effectively a pre-requisite to pursuing a PhD, which I completed at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. My Duke professors not only gave me a strong foundation in Art History but also helped me navigate the complex process of graduate school admissions. Professionally, I have made valuable connections in the art world through Duke alumni, both informally and through Duke programming. As a bonus, the Institute of Fine Arts is housed in the James B. Duke mansion on 5th Avenue, so I immediately felt at home and connected to my original alma mater.

What advice would you give students in Art, Art History & Visual Studies?

Internships are critical to establishing yourself in the art world, so get started as early as possible. It can be helpful to spend time in different settings (eg. museums, galleries, auction houses). Language skills are very important. Reach out to alumni for advice and perspective. In my field, the curatorial side of museums, it typically takes many years to work your way through all of the education and up the professional ladder, but the pay off can be incredibly worth it if you are passionate, dedicated, hard-working, and patient. When you are making decisions about your next steps after graduation, you want to think not just about the immediate future but also the long-range view.

Laura Dickey Corey
Research Associate, European Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY