Regina, Treaty 4: Jennifer Matotek
Jen is the Director/ Curator at the Dunlop Art Gallery, where I am sure we met at various openings, but it wasn’t until we attended brunch at a mutual friends’ house that we really began to get to know each other. A brunch club formed on that fateful day and so our friendship has developed over mimosas, pancakes and french toast casseroles. I am pleased and proud to introduce the fantastically witty, thoroughly professional and fiercely intelligent Jennifer Matotek.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
I’m pretty good at letting my day job consume me. So I’m mainly working on forthcoming art exhibitions and other projects at Dunlop Art Gallery. I’m learning how to play piano. I enjoy watching and performing contemporary dance and improvisational comedy. I am currently working on some art writing which I hope to pitch to a contemporary art publication in the near future.
KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?
Director/Curator, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina Public Library. I love everything about it – working with artists as part of a great team, helping great projects be realized, and managing spaces that bring art and audiences together to provoke new ways of thinking and generate challenging conversations. In my position, I oversee the activities of the art gallery as well as RPL Film Theatre (http://www.reginalibrary.ca/filmtheatre/), which is wonderful because I adore the art of the moving image. In terms of what’s challenging – it’s hard to see so much opportunity to create enriching experiences for audiences but also be aware of what resources you may have available. I’m confident that we do the best we can with what we have, and I hope other people in the Regina community who engage with our programming agree.
KC: What’s important to you?
My family, my friends, and my work. It should be my health but I kind of suck at self-care.
KC: What do you like most/least about Regina?
The most: the people and the creative energy here, and the potential. People involved in the arts community here are so smart. They read a lot, they see a lot and they’re so supportive. There’s a lot of involvement and collaboration here that is truly unique in Canada. It’s a dream. Every city in the country should be envious of what we have here.
The least: this is personal, but finding friends after moving here two years ago was really hard. I have the worst personality when it comes to social staff – I’m a friendly introvert who truly loves people but I also suffer from social anxiety (usually well masked). People here are really nice, but it’s taken me awhile to form deeper, lasting relationships. I take ownership for most of my own difficulties. But I do think for some people in Regina, they have their family and the friends that they’ve had for years, and they aren’t super motivated or interested in making new connections. Which is a pity, because life is so much richer when you open yourself up to new people and opportunities. Toronto, where I lived for a decade before moving here, wasn’t like that. Although that city has other issues that I was happy to leave behind!
KC: What is your impression of Saskatoon?
I love it. It’s a pleasure to visit. Wonderful food and people. The art community there is also so smart and electric. I try to get out there for a weekend every month or two, and often perform improv with the LadyBits crew when I can. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/LadyBits/142746125892933?fref=ts)
KC: (from the Proust Questionnaire) What is the quality you most like in a person?
Curiosity. It’s what keeps you sharp, invested, and committed. And t’s the thing that draws you to other people, and draws other people to you. It is the smartest and sexiest of qualities, and everyone should cultivate a strong sense of it. It’s not just for cats!