The front-of-house of any live venue/gallery is by definition ‘open to the public’, but that does not necessarily mean that the public is fully aware of the orchestra of staff and volunteers fine-tuning each visitor’s experience. The conductor of this front-of-house team is Matt Poushinsky, Yukon Arts Centres’ client services and volunteer coordinator. A man of many hats, Matt manages much more than just the bar and box office: his experience and expertise ensure that any presentation, event or exhibition runs smoothly from beginning to end. With over eleven years here at YAC, he has been a jack-of-all-trades, doing everything from installing exhibitions to running the Old Fire Hall. We talked with Matt about his diverse duties and abiding passion for the arts and his community.
DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO AT THE YUKON ARTS CENTRE IN FIVE WORDS OR LESS.
A Little Bit of Everything.
WHAT IS A CLIENT SERVICES & VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR?
I oversee the operations of the Box Office and volunteers at YAC as well as act as a Bar Manager. I also liaise with our presenters and user groups to help plan and execute the numerous performances and events held in our different spaces.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES?
Budgeting and planning for the Front of House services. Scheduling and planning of casual staff and volunteers for all events at YAC. Meeting with clients to help plan and execute events and performances of all kinds. Creating and implementing Policies and Procedures for the Box Office, Bar, volunteers and user groups. Ensuring training and Health and Safety standards are met for volunteers and FOH staff.
WHAT IS AN AVERAGE DAY LIKE FOR YOU?
Varied… Any given day can see me work on multiple projects that go far beyond my established role of Client Services/Volunteer Coordinator such as working with our marketing department or programming team on planning events or setting up gallery exhibitions (often A/V installations). A day could include Client intake meetings, scheduling, training of staff/volunteers, website maintenance (Yukontickets.com) working a performance night and much more. It is not uncommon for me to work a 12+ hour day.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The community we serve. Working with such a vibrant and dynamic arts and culture community such as Whitehorse is always challenging and exciting. I have worked on a 1000+ events/festivals/performances/etc. over the years. I am endlessly amazed by our audience and volunteers. There seems to be a never ending well of support for arts and culture in our community.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS CAREER?
I started working at YAC as a custodian about 11years ago and since then have worked in many different capacities such as Gallery Preparator, FOH manager, Coordinator of the Old Firehall, and a bunch more…honestly I have a really hard time picturing my life without being involved with the arts and culture community and YAC. Working in the arts is such a rewarding and fun career.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE YUKON?
Our great community.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE SHOW YOU’VE WORKED ON?
The White Stripes: It was a lot of fun hosting such a big name act. Seeing the wild response from our town (remember the free Lepage Park Concert) and the awesome show they put on here at YAC (check out the live DVD they put out of the tour “Under Great White Northern Lights”, lots of YAC footage in it). There have been tons of other events that were a blast to work on too – too many to mention.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?
The Yukon should have a Hip Hop Festival.
WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
I volunteer as a Member of the FOG [Friends of the Gallery Society] board (current Chair) which juries the purchasing of pieces of visual art for the Yukon Permanent Art Collection. I also have been hosting a Hip Hop radio show The Underground Railroad on CJUC 92.5FM for the past 8 or so years.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
Spending time with my wife Joanne and son Mikhail.