AN: What exactly have you been up to for the past year? We have two guesses, which is helping kids fix bikes and collecting mushrooms.
ZF: Yeah, I do that a lot! I’m also really involved with local politics. So yeah, I work two days a week teaching bike repair to students with special needs. We set up a community bike shop where we fix up bikes. People donate, and we give them away. That’s been a really interesting job, I actually haven’t been an employee for about 15 years, but this is really an amazing place. So I do that, and I’m going to continue to do that for two days a week. And then the local politics.
AN: What’s your involvement in local politics? Are you running for office?
ZF: No no. I’m just working with the county and the town party, we have a really contested congressional race coming up, but we also have a lot of local races for assembly and for state senate. So I’ve been working a lot with his strategy and developing candidates. And just working. It’s just labor.
AN: What will you be doing at Art Omi?
ZF: I’m going to be working with Ruth Adams, who is the executive director, and Nicole Hayes, who is the curator. We’re going to be developing the park more, we’re developing the building that’s going to open in 2022, which is going to double the exhibition space and create more education space. We’ve also bought a lot more land, so there’s a bunch of expansions that are happening there, which is part of why this job is exciting for me. I get to be involved in the next iteration of this institution—the new land, the new building—and I’m just going to keep programming.
AN: What drew you to Art Omi?
ZF: My family and I have been using that institution since we moved here. I live 15 minutes away, and it’s where we go. I bring my kids there all the time, we cross-country ski there, we hike there, my kids go to camp there, we eat there. It’s just a really major asset for our community. So I’ve been talking with both Ruth and the curator and sort of just figuring out strategy stuff with them and advising very loosely, and then when the position opened up, they asked me if I would do it. I didn’t think I was going to get involved in art again, but this was a place I really care about, so it was easy for me to get involved.