Co-Founder Q&A: Katie Winokur

Get to know Katie Winokur, Co-Founder of Deaclink.



Search and Assessment, Russell Reynolds Associates

     WFU Class of 2014  

           Double Major: Art History & Communications

            Minor: Entrepreneurship & Social Enterprise


Q: Why did you start DeacLink?

A: DeacLink is an extension of Kelsey Zalimeni and my love for the Wake Forest Art Department and our desire to help students succeed following graduation. The two of us were incredibly lucky in that we were able to take advantage of all of the opportunities that the university presented us in the arts, and yet both felt that we didn't have the support we needed to succeed in the art world after graduation. As a result, we had to hustle our senior year of college to make things work. During the year, we made many fantastic connections with Wake Alums across the the country and truly began to realize how robust the alumni network was. Two years following graduation, we couldn't stop thinking about how there needed to be a resource to connect those fantastic alums with curious students, and thus DeacLink was born. 


Q: What has been your coolest art world experience?

A: This is a hard question, but I have to say visiting the Venice Biennale in 2013 as part of the Lynn Johnson Travel Award was pretty fantastic. Never have I experienced so much contemporary art in such a condensed timeframe.  


Q: Can you name your favorite off the radar museum?

A: Hands down this is the Baltimore Museum of Art - it's an absolute jewel of a collection. It has one of the finest Impressionist collections in the country which was a gift of the Cone Sisters. The works they have by Matisse are stunning. The admission is free, and the building is located right next to the Johns Hopkins campus. 


Q: Most awesome exhibit or show you've seen?

A: I think the coolest of all was spending spending several hours watching The Visitors by Ragnar Kjartansson at Luhring Augustine in 2013 while on the Art Buying trip. It was one of the most mesmerizing experiences. A close second was the James Turrell retrospective at the Guggenheim. 


Q: How did you and Kelsey become friends?

A: Kelsey and I initially bonded over an immense love of food (and food trucks to be exact). From there, we quickly discovered a mutual interest in everything from soccer to art, and from there it was hard to keep us apart. 


Q: What's your favorite city for art?

A: I would have to say London (and I am quite jealous Kelsey gets to call this home). London has an amazing mix of contemporary and traditional arts. Their museums and galleries are best in class, and many of them are free (which in my opinion gives the city a leg up over New York). 


Q: Why do Wake Arts matter to you?

A: Wake Arts matter to me for many reasons. First, I feel like the faculty and staff in the art department could not have been more supportive of me as a student and a person, and I didn't experience that kind of connection anywhere else on campus. Also, I think that the arts are so instrumental in terms of having a holistic worldview. Studying art challenges you to think about things in a broad and multifaceted way, and when writing about the subject, it forces you to engage in a respectful yet antagonistic discourse in order to defend your opinion. Those kinds of communication skills often prevent people from being narrow-minded, and given today's political and social climate, I think our country could use a bit more of this style of thinking. 




Co-Founder Q&A: Kelsey Zalimeni

Get to know Kelsey Zalimeni, Co-Founder of DeacLink.



Kelsey Zalimeni

Art Gallerist, Thompson's London

WFU Class of 2014

Major: Studio Art with Honors

Minor: Art History


Q: Were you and Katie friends at Wake? Why did you two start DeacLink?

A: Katie and I both experienced a cobbled-together path of hustling for contacts and work experience in the art world as undergraduates. We ran sort of parallel paths in Scales until junior year, where we cemented a friendship during the 2013 SUAAC ('Art Buying') Trip. It's been four years since we met, and we both now work in the arts- I'm at a gallery and Kate is in recruitment for art institutions. Even though we've both made our way, a recurring discussion between us was always about the difficulty of breaking into arts jobs, particularly coming out of Wake. We thought it ironic that a healthy percentage of WFU Alumni were working as art world professionals, yet we as students had very limited knowledge of, or access to them. Our goal was to create a single online resource which would connect and inform students and alumni alike. 


Q: Why do Wake Arts matter to you?

A: As a Presidential, Meredith, and Dingledine Scholar (all arts-based scholarships at WFU), I owe a lot to the Wake Forest Art Department. Put simply, if it weren't for those and a few other scholarships, my experience at Wake wouldn't have been possible. Furthermore, my college soccer career was cut short due to double ACL injuries on the same knee; in the gap that Spry Stadium left, Scales became my sanctuary. The faculty in the department are stellar as well; they really invest in the students and foster their aspirations. DeacLink exists to expand and improve this effort.


Q: What is the coolest art exhibit you've seen?

A: The most memorable show of late has to be 'The Infinite Mix', put on by the Hayward Gallery in an off-site location. They installed 10 video pieces at The Store, some taking up entire rooms and one showing a 3D piece in the parking garage. The variety of content was excellent, including a hologram piece by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and my personal favorite, Kahlil Joseph's two-channel Kendrick-backed video, m.A.A.d. I think I spent five hours total absorbing the exhibition- but you could easily spend twice that!


Q: Do you have a favorite off the radar museum?

A: In London we're spoiled with many excellent museums, but one place that doesn't get enough praise is the Zabludowicz Collection. My first visit was to see a four-movie solo show born of a collabo between Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch. My interest lies in crazy, post-internet digital art and they seem committed to showing lots of that.


Q: What has been your coolest art world experience?

A: I once had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at the Blum's home in LA. They were kind enough to show me around their insanely cool collection and shared stories about all of the Pop Art greats. I also came away with some solid life and career advice that day- shouts out to Irving and Jackie!


Q: Best kernel of advice you've got?

A: If you try and succeed, you did it. If you try and you fail, you still did it. Regardless, you have to keep going.