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.