Meet Kelly Peck, Vice President of Barrett Barrera Projects
With a BA in Art History and an MA in Non-Profit Management, Kelly Peck bridges creative thinking with analytical savvy. As Vice President for Barrett Barrera Projects, Peck has championed cross-disciplinary artists Charlie LeMindu and Hideko Seki, led logistical operations for events and exhibits, and served as business strategist alongside an innovative group of originators redefining the art experience.
You’ve been at Barrett Barrera since the beginning. Explain how it all took shape.
Susan and I started worked together at the World Chess Hall of Fame, and after the A Queen Within show in 2013, we would meet at coffee shops or my house, and it started unfolding from there. projects+gallery was really the first initiative, but behind the scenes we were working on strategies for the entity that became Barrett Barrera. Susan and I found that we have an aligned skill set. She’s a concept person and the artistic vision of the company—very much about what she wants to see programmatically from an aerial view—and I’m much more about what that means for staff, how we structure that, and how we begin to execute her vision in a tactile way.
You have both a business and fundraising background. Did you also have an interest in fashion prior to A Queen Within, or was that cultivated in the process of that project?
I’ve always had an interest in fashion—especially in its application to art and art practice. Working with Susan and Sofia Hedman, the curator of A Queen Within, allowed me to cultivate it further, to recognize that the interests of art and fashion are not separate. You can live them both, and we believe that we can build a company with the principle that there are many disciplines outside what is considered traditional “fine art,” but are part of the art world. Separate disciplines don’t even have a place right now; there’s a convergence of thinking.
Give an example of a particular project that exemplifies your multidisciplinary process.
Typically there’s first a project inquiry—for example, at the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles with Charlie LeMindu. Because I’m his agent in the US, when he was in LA I represented him at that meeting, asking about timelines, budgets, expectations, and what creative reign he could have. It’s up to me to work with the host venue to execute the artist’s vision. I do a lot of contracts for our artists, a lot of contracts for our projects, and a lot of project management in terms of what resources Barrett Barrera provides, who from our staff participates and how—a lot of filtering out of information. I’m not strategizing creatively, but more say what’s possible in terms of what a project’s needs are, what’s realistic.
How have things evolved in the years since Barrett Barrera started?
In the beginning we were a startup. Given how our team has grown, the day-to-day challenge for me now is delegating work—operations oversight, structuring, and making sure that the expertise we have on the staff is exercised in the best way. We know what we’re good at, and can step outside the bounds and be flexible and creative, but not so much that it distracts from the work that’s important to us. The firm is in a period of transition—and I can see it with a long lens since I’ve been here from those early conversations. We have the right mix of expertise to move everything forward, which is so exciting.