An Eye for Art, a Mind for Business
Janklow student Mengyi Yan hopes to someday work in a museum or gallery
Syracuse University student Mengyi Yan may not be a professional artist, but she knows a thing or two about artistic temperament. A lover of Chinese art, the Beijing native has spent most of her life rubbing elbows with creative types who, for all their moxie, can sometimes have trouble with something as simple as balancing a checkbook.
That’s why Yan decided to enroll in the Janklow Arts Leadership Program in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. “I may not have an artist’s temperament, but I have an eye for art—and a mind for business,” she says.
Prior to coming to Syracuse in 2013, Yan spent two years at Yuansheng Cultural Assets & Equities Exchange Co. in Beijing, getting a crash-course in selling and financial Chinese art. She also has served as president of the Chen Chuhe fan club, for which she has organized live and virtual events for the renowned Taiwanese movie star.
Yan hopes to parlay her interest in Chinese art into a leadership position at a museum or gallery.
“It’s not enough to be innovative or a trendsetter; I want to make a difference in art on a global scale,” says Yan, who earned bachelor’s degrees in English language and literature and in cultural and art administration from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology.
Yan says she was drawn to the Janklow Program for its “practical approach” to arts administration and social entrepreneurship—proof that the program, which is barley four years old, has a growing global presence.
Yan, in fact, is one of a handful of international students in the program.
“The Janklow Program provides practical experience, which suits my career goals,” she says. “Our classes are highly educational, enabling me to engage in lively discussions with other students and obtain sound advice from experienced professors. It’s helping me unlock my potential.”
One of her favorite instructors is Mark Nerenhausen, the program’s professor of practice and founding director. With more than two decades of arts leadership experience, he encourages students such as Yan to view the industry from “new and different perspectives.”
“Even if Eastern and Western arts leadership styles are different, they represent two paths to the same destination,” Nerenhausen says. “Working with Mengyi Yan has taught us a lot about ourselves and how different cultures learn from one another.”
Meanwhile, Yan is soaking up everything Syracuse has to offer. In her spare time, she likes to go to basketball games, concerts and exhibitions, and various restaurants. There’s even talk of opening a photography studio after graduation.
“I guess I like to try new things,” Yan concludes. “The Janklow Program is giving me the edge I need to succeed in the arts.”