Meet a Doctor: Heather Darcy Bhandari

Meet a Doctor: Heather Darcy Bhandari

“I love getting to know new work and meeting the artists behind work I’ve seen before.” – Heather Darcy Bhandari

This month NYFA is hosting Doctor’s Hours for Visual Artists on September 26 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM. You can get practical and professional advice in person from one or more arts professionals. 

One of the evening’s Doctors, Heather Darcy Bhandari, Program Director at The Artist Project/LA, took the time to speak to us about why she loves being a NYFA Doctor, what you can expect from the 20-minute appointment with her and, what she wishes every artist knew.

NYFA: What kind of advice have you previously given to artists at NYFA’s Doctor’s Hours?

Heather Darcy Bhandari (HDB): The reason I love participating in NYFA’s Doctor’s Hours is that I never know who is going to sit down next and what conversation will follow. I’ve had surprisingly interesting discussions given the short format. We’ve discussed future goals, websites, and artist statements. I’ve helped put together submissions, grad school applications, and grant proposals. We’ve strategized next steps or simply talked about the work. It’s always helpful when artists know what they want out of the twenty minutes so we’re focused. I love getting to know new work and meeting the artists behind work I’ve seen before.

NYFA: What is the number one mistake you see artists make when they submit artwork to galleries, competitions, open calls?

HDB: I always cringe when I see artists who have not done their research. No matter how beautiful the images or text, if the venue/opportunity does not support that type of work, a rejection is inevitable. Some artists submit to everything, thinking it’s a numbers game. It is a game of luck to some extent, but it’s also about matching work and goals to an opportunity’s mission and audience. Even for-profit institutions have a mission and audience. The context needs to be right.

NYFA: What is the one single thing you wish all artists knew?

HDB: No one can choose a successful path for you. We/your community can give suggestions, make introductions, and offer observations, but you are the only one who will ultimately know what’s right for you and your work. You need to have goals and an idea of what you want out of your art career. Only then can we help you get there.


Heather Darcy Bhandari, Program Director, The Artist Project/LA
Heather Darcy Bhandari, while based in Brooklyn, is the Program Director of The Artist Project/LA, a new nonprofit fellowship in Los Angeles dedicated to serving emerging artists. She is also an adjunct lecturer at Brown University and a consultant to the yet-to-be-released domain extension .ART. The second edition of her book, ART/WORK, published by Simon and Schuster, is scheduled for release in 2017. Bhandari is on the board of directors of visual arts at Art Omi (an artist residency in Ghent, NY) and serves as an advisory board member to Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn. She is a member of the College Art Association and the film committee of ArtTable. Most recently, she sat on the board of NURTUREart (a nonprofit in Brooklyn that offers opportunities to emerging artists and curators) and was a Director at Mixed Greens gallery in New York City. During her 15-year tenure, she curated over one hundred exhibitions while managing a roster of nearly two-dozen artists. She was a member of NADA and co-chaired the programming committee for ArtTable in NY. She lectures and participates in portfolio reviews and panel discussions across the country. Bhandari received a BA from Brown University and an MFA from Pennsylvania State University. Before joining Mixed Greens, she worked at contemporary galleries Sonnabend and Lehmann Maupin, both in New York City.

Doctor’s Hours for Visual Artists
When: Monday, September 26, 2016 from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Where: NYFA, 20 Jay Street, Suite 740, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Cost: $25 per Doctor’s Hours appointment; there is a three-appointment limit per registrant. 
Registration for Doctor’s Hours for Visual Artists will open on Monday, September 12, 2016 at 11 AM. Registration tends to fill up quickly so please be online exactly at that time to ensure a spot.

– Mara Vlatkovic, Digital Communications Officer

Images, from top: NYFA image; courtesy of Heather Darcy Bhandari.

Amy Aronoff
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