Carolyn Wachnicki is a habitual non-profit employee that also identifies as a graphic designer, painter, athlete, music aficionado, documentary photographer, educator, and now, Design + Exhibition Manager. Carolyn comes to SPACE from The Long Now Foundation, an organization in San Francisco established to inspire long-term thinking.
New to Portland, but not New England, Carolyn was raised in the Mount Washington Valley. There, amongst people that wore many hats (literally and figuratively), she learned early the virtues of being a generalist. This led her to study liberal arts at Wesleyan University with the intention of also playing Division III ice hockey. However, she quickly traded in her goalie gear for a paintbrush and double-majored in Studio Arts and Art History (with an unofficial minor in community radio–WESU 88.1FM).
After college Carolyn set out on her hero’s journey, stomping the trails as AMC ‘hut croo’ before heading to NYC for a curatorial internship at the Whitney’s Altria Space (RIP–’the corporation giveth and taketh away’). After putting in her 10,000 hours on freelance exhibition and collateral design, Carolyn joined the New Museum as their first female in-house graphic designer. The New Museum’s proximity to the lower east side inspired her to moonlight as a documentary concert photographer (note: she did not sleep much those years).
Carolyn climbed out of her creative rabbit hole briefly to work as a packaging designer for beverage companies and as an album art print production specialist for record labels (whilst slowly migrating west to California). After taking a brief sabbatical to write and illustrate a children’s book (Olin The Greyhound), Carolyn rejoined the non-profit world at the Museum of Sonoma County–just in time to celebrate the 40th year anniversary of Christo & Jeanne Claude’s Running Fence.
Carolyn’s curatorial interests at present are found at the intersection of monuments, sites, and memories. She is particularly drawn to work that activates historic spaces and landscapes in new and transformative ways.