Adam Myatt BA'12


Adam Myatt wearing a white hat with a peak.

January 2020

Adam Myatt BA’12
Gallery Assistant
Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery
Halifax

“I love art, the creative process, and hearing people’s stories. That’s the main reason I love working in the arts, the ability to help people actualize their stories and vision.” 

What made you choose to study at Saint Mary’s?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was graduating from high school. I was generally good in academics, but I wasn’t focused in any particular area. I applied to a couple local universities as I grew up here. Saint Mary’s offered me a really good entrance scholarship, so that was the key incentive to come here.

Why did you decide to get your Bachelor of Arts in Psychology here?

I decided on psych because of my professor in the intro to psychology class I took at Saint Mary’s. There weren’t any psychology classes in my high school, so I had no previous exposure to it. My intro psych class was incredible. The professor was great, Dave Bourgeois, who is still a professor here. He was really funny and smart and I felt like these were the kind of people I wanted to be around and that psychology was what I wanted to do.

What was your experience like at Saint Mary’s?

At first, I wasn’t sure how I’d fare here as it’s a big sports school and I’m not a sports person. I was a little nervous as I wasn’t sure how I’d fit in. I really liked my time here, in fact I ended up sticking around working at the Saint Mary’s Art Gallery. The educators here are incredible and the classes are smaller than elsewhere, which is great.

Could you tell us about your current position as the Gallery Assistant at Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery?

I started working at the art gallery as a volunteer while getting my degree. That quickly turned into an events position and I kept getting more involved with the gallery. There were a few years where I was helping with installations and now I’m the full-time Gallery Assistant. Now I’m the installer for shows with the Assistant Curator. I love the work! It’s interesting and exciting, I’m always the first person to see the stuff and open the crates.

Are there any upcoming exhibitions at Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery you’d like to mention?

This month there is a show of works from our permanent collection, which focuses on contemporary Canadian artists. In April, there will be an exhibition of Michael Bidner’s work. He was on the cutting edge of mail art and a pioneer of using print media and photo copiers. A lot of his work isn’t really well known, so the point of the exhibit is to put a spotlight on him.

What was your career path after graduating from SMU?

I graduated from Saint Mary’s in 2012 and since then I’ve had a varied employment path because of opportunities that came up. For a number of years, I was the Education Coordinator at the Youth Project which is a local LGBT advocacy organization.  I spent a few years traveling Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick doing education work. I talked to classes, did assemblies, and was heavily involved in queer education and advocacy. I also chaired a provincial queer activism organization called the Rainbow Action Project. I spent a few years in that line of work and needed a break. Then I started working at Pier 21 and now I’m back here at Saint Mary’s and back in the art world. Also, during that time, I started doing stand-up comedy, written and performed in a few plays, and wrote and produced my first short film through the Film-Makers’ Cooperative. 

What moments in your career have been the most rewarding/exciting so far?

My work as an Education Coordinator was, and still is, very important to me. That position is probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done so far. I’m also very proud of the work I’ve written and produced and my stand-up comedy. Working at the gallery is also rewarding. Putting in long hours to actualize someone else’s creative vision is really rewarding. I love art, the creative process, and hearing people’s stories. That’s the main reason I love working in the arts, the ability to help people actualize their stories and vision.

Do you feel Saint Mary’s University prepared you for your career? How?

During my time was an Education Coordinator, I applied my formal education more than any other job I’ve had. My degree might not be exactly applicable to some of the positions I’ve had, but my education helped me become more well-rounded and develop skills like empathy. My ability to collaborate with people and do that work was precipitated by my experience in university. I may not be applying Freud’s theories directly to my work, but I spent a lot of time talking with people and collaborating.

Have you used Saint Mary’s alumni network as a student or an alumnus? How?

I don’t stay formally connect to alumni through the network, but I do get the correspondence and see what’s happening. There is a core group of people I went through school with that I’m still connected with. I think that kind of community is really special. That’s why I really liked the Faculty, Alumni, Student, and Staff (F.A.S.S.) Art Exhibit we had in November/December. It’s the one time of the year that I see a lot of people that I haven’t seen in a while.

Do you have any career building advice to offer students?

At the end of the day, I just think people should be doing what they want to be doing. I think if there’s a way to do something that you like, and you’re going to be able to pay your bills that way, do it! Be open to new possibilities as sometimes we get stuck in our own ideas of who we are and what we should be doing. For a long time, I thought I couldn’t work in the arts because I don’t have education in that area. I was wrong; if you want to do it - you just start doing it. The only difference between you right now and someone who is doing the thing you want to do, is that they’re doing it. That is literally the only difference.

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