February 2, 2015
Installation view
Installation view

Since her arrival in Orlando six months ago, UCF Art Gallery Director Yulia Tikhonova has been busy introducing herself to the Orlando art community. She has an ambitious agenda of expanding UCF’s School of Visual Arts and Design presence downtown through the arts and highlighting local artists. Her overall goal is to develop a more creative downtown scene that includes SVAD students and faculty.

Tikhonova has been busy writing art reviews for the Orlando Weekly. Her monthly profile debut can be seen in the most recent edition of the magazine where she features artist Rachel Simmon’s art-book project that was inspired by a recent trip to Namibia. Orlando Weekly’s Arts and Culture editor Jessica Bryce Young welcomes future editorials from Tikhonova. She was given the opportunity to do a review of a 26-panel public art installation New York artist Tom McGrath.

"Yulia’s broad knowledge of the contemporary art scene allows her to bring an informed eye to her coverage of local art. Her enthusiasm for exploring the Orlando artists community makes her a wonderful addition to Orlando Weekly’s arts writers," says Young.

Along with her editorial efforts and future plans for the UCF art gallery, Tikhonova is confident that her energies will also generate new opportunities for SVAD students and faculty.

She remarks that the UCF Downtown campus could provide new opportunities for artists in the coming years. “If we curate exhibitions and open vacant buildings downtown for pop-up galleries, we will encourage local artists to produce more. And if we support local artists, artists from other areas will come to Orlando, creating a critical mass for a vibrant scene.”

In addition to her extracurricular engagements, Tikhonova is busy working in collaboration with Jack Kerouac House to feature William Burroughs’ “Seven Deadly Sins,” portfolio and its relationship to Kerouac’s time in Florida. Her curatorial plans for this project include readings by local poets, participation from UCF creative writing students and various artists of the Jack Kerouac Writing Residency program.

SVAD Director Byron Clercx says, “Ms. Tikhonova, who earned an M.A. in Art History from Bard College, brings a wealth of experience, enthusiasm, and acumen about contemporary art to this position. Yulia, a Russian national, conducted noteworthy curatorial work as the founder and curator for Brooklyn House of Kulture. She also has significant experience abroad in Auckland, New Zealand and Moscow, Russia as an arts teacher and gallery assistant.

“Keenly to attenuated underrepresented and/or oppressed individuals/groups, as evidenced by her work as an Assistant Curator at the Institute for Women and Art at Rutgers University, Tikhonova maintains a passion for the visual arts as a reflection of the unique human experience and as an agent for civic-engagement and social change. Yulia personifies the think globally and act locally idiom and we look forward to discovering the innumerable ways her experience and expertise will shape our students, program, and community for the better.”