Carolina Alvarez-Mathies, Deputy Director at Dallas Contemporary
“Many times, we are asked to find our mission, our passion, and then find our community—for me, it has worked the other way around.”
Meet Carolina Alvarez-Mathies, Deputy Director at Dallas Contemporary, whose work always goes back to one thing—bringing like-minded people together. Whether that’s with the artists who are featured at the nonprofit art institution, or through her own team, Alvarez-Mathies sees herself as a connector.
As it happened, her role at the museum started in December 2019, just before COVID-19 hit and forced the museum to temporarily close for 10 months. “The leadership challenges were significant. My team was just starting to get to know me and my work style and, of course, I them,” she tells us. “It took a lot of trust and dedication on both our parts—we came together quickly and pivoted to new ways of engaging audiences and innovated towards new revenue sources.”
It's this solution-oriented mindset, which also happens to be one of her top work weapons, that’s gotten Alvarez-Mathies to her respected position in the art world today. Here, we speak with the creative and business professional on what it is that keeps her going—our chat spans everything from beauty must-haves to how both travel and cooking are sources of inspiration.
I am the Deputy Director at Dallas Contemporary, a non-collecting contemporary art museum in Dallas that presents some of today’s most compelling art from across the globe, always at free admission. I also sit on Y.ES Contemporary’s advisory board, a foundation dedicated to supporting and developing contemporary art in El Salvador (where I am from) and beyond.
I see myself as a connector. Bringing people together through creative outlets is most certainly what brings me joy, and building community is essential to me. I knew this from an early age—it's what drives me. Many times we are asked to find our mission, our passion, and then find our community—for me, it has worked the other way around. It is through building a beautiful network of like-minded individuals who are curious, generous, and understand the great power that lies in artists' voices to transform society that I am able to enact change.
A walk in silence, ideally surrounded by nature.
Look inward and then call my dad! He’s where I get my business instinct from and is great at guiding me through the right questions to come up with my own solutions.
I moved to Dallas from NYC in December 2019 to start my position at Dallas Contemporary. Just a few months later COVID-19 forced us to temporarily close for 10 months. The leadership challenges were significant. My team was just starting to get to know me and my work style and, of course, I them. It took a lot of trust and dedication on both our parts—we came together quickly and pivoted to new ways of engaging audiences and innovated towards new revenue sources. We are resilient and I’d like to think we are so much stronger now having had that experience.
how i make it happen
3 morning musts…
2. My morning playlist—always includes “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and the Economist’s morning briefing.
3. Calling my partner—half of the time it’s long-distance, and it's nice to have a moment to connect before our days get going.
3 life hacks…
1. Remain curious.
2. Be kind.
3. Have a tribe. As I get older my friendships are less but deeper—I’ve gotten more selective with who I have in my life. My friends are my chosen family.
3 secret work weapons...
1. Take risks.
2. Be solution-oriented.
3. See challenges as opportunities for innovation and growth.
My three-stone emerald ring. It's coming into my life is a beautiful story and emeralds are known to be the stone for abundant love—they are wonderful for the heart and incredibly healing.
Best advice received…
“Listen to understand, not to respond.”
Wear what feels comfortable.
Wearing Veronica Beard makes me feel...
That final tug on the lapel when you put on a VB blazer—it’s my "Ok, I’m ready for my day" feeling.
Travel. It's my greatest source of inspiration, and it links to my second, food. Exploring new cultures and how they utilize ingredients and flavors is such a huge part of how I plan my trips—cuisine is such a powerful tool of expression, much like art.
Île Flottante. I don’t make it that often, but it’s my mom’s recipe and I have the best memories of us in the kitchen whipping this up. She has taught me everything I know about cooking—little did I know that through that she was teaching me about precision, keen attention to detail, multi-tasking, time management, and of course the importance of nurturing with love.
Dallas women—they do it all and in heels!
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