Mana Professional:
A Career-Development
Platform for Artists

Sept. 13–Dec. 21, 2017

Registration for the fall session is now closed. For questions please contact:



Mana Professional is a career-development program designed to support the professional development of emerging and mid-career local artists, along with Mana’s growing community of multidisciplinary artists. The program is developed with curator Sara Raza (Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator for the Middle East and North Africa).

Mana Professional has invited a fluid faculty of art and culture specialists to deliver workshops and one-to-one mentoring, which focus on diverse fields such as curatorial, art law and copyrights, digital strategy and branding, public relations, arts management, fundraising and development, and financial planning.

Experts include Elissa Black (Managing Director of Van Alen Institute), Yng-Ru Chen (Head of Partnerships and Marketing at Tattly), JiaJia Fei (Director of Digital at the Jewish Museum in New York City), Leah Heister (Senior Director of CCS Fundraising), Mathew Heggem (CEO of SUM Innovation), Yayoi Shionoiri (Senior Counsel at Artsy), and Sara Raza (Guggenheim Curator).

The program is designed to function as a catalyst for emerging and mid-career independent artists, and offers carefully curated professional, flexible, and workable tools to support and complement the development of professional studio practice. Through a combination of bespoke workshops, mentoring, and lively networking events, the program helps artists to develop the necessary practical knowledge for balancing a long-haul career.

Workshop Schedule

A unique array of workshops define the key areas affecting studio practice today. Further events to be announced.

Art and Curating
Curator Sara Raza will explore art curating within both a local and global context, mapping institutional and outsider DIY experimental projects. Q&A moderated by Ysabel Pinyol.

Art Law, Copyright, and Intellectual Copyright
Art lawyer Yayoi Shionoiri will address some of the complex areas pertaining to law and copyright issues affecting artists today. Q&A moderated by Sara Raza.

Marketing and Public Relations
Communications specialist Yng-Ru Chen will highlight the importance of messaging your practice to wide and diverse audiences. Q&A moderated by Sara Raza.

Fundraising and Development
Leah Heister will deliver a workshop on how to fundraise to develop your practice. Q&A moderated by Sara Raza.

Arts Management
Elissa Black will focus on the importance of studio management and deadlines to achieve a smooth running studio. Q&A moderated by Sara Raza.

Digital Technologies
JiaJia Fei will break down the vast field of digital technology and provide practical tips for branding and applying social media to communicating your studio practice.Q&A moderated by Sara Raza.

Financial Planning
Mathew Heggem, an accomplished dancer and financial planning expert, will explore the relationship between money and creativity and how to successfully balance the two. Q&A moderated by Sara Raza.

Expert Bios

Elissa Black
Elissa Black is a longstanding arts manager and attorney. Since early 2017, Black has been the Managing Director of Van Alen Institute, a Manhattan-based cultural organization that uses design to tackle the most complex social, ecological, and cultural challenges of our time. Black is a graduate of Columbia University’s New York-based master’s program in Arts Management. Black also holds a Bachelor of Arts (in Fine Arts Critical Theory) and Bachelor of Laws (Juris Doctor) from the University of Sydney, Australia.

Yng-Ru Chen
Over the last fifteen years, Yng-Ru Chen has worked in the cultural and creative sector as an arts administrator, arts specialist, and business development lead. Currently, she is the Head of Marketing and Partnerships at the Brooklyn-based Tattly Temporary Tattoos. In this role, she has forged relationships and established partnerships with the White House, National Gallery of Art in Washington, Art Basel, Christie’s, and many more. She is an alumna of Williams College and Duke University, and received her MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University.

JiaJia Fei
JiaJia Fei is the Director of Digital at the Jewish Museum in New York City, where she assumed the newly created position in January 2016, overseeing all digital strategy and online initiatives including the website, blog, mobile, email marketing, and social media. Prior to joining the Jewish Museum, Fei served as Associate Director, Digital Marketing, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2010–15), bringing modern and contemporary art to a global online audience through award-winning digital projects. JiaJia received her BA in the History of Art from Bryn Mawr College, and has lectured on social media and digital marketing worldwide. 

Mathew Heggem
Mathew Heggem is the “dancing CEO” of SUM Innovation, an accounting consulting firm headquartered in NYC with offices in Denver and Dallas, founded in 2001. They have over twenty-five team members who leverage their expertise to offer clients a broad range of services, including an Outsourced Accounting department (CFO and bookkeeping), technology training (QuickBooks, Xero, etc.), and recruiting of CFOs, finance managers, and full-time accountants and bookkeepers. In 2015, Heggem was recognized as one of CPA Practice Advisor’s “40 Under 40” honorees.

Leah Heister
Leah Heister is a Senior Director with CCS Fundraising, an international fundraising consulting firm that specializes in working across all nonprofit sectors. At CCS, Heister has advised consultative projects for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Wagner College, and Weill Cornell Medicine. Heister is a graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, IL, with a degree in Political Science and International Business. She received her master’s in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member for the program, specializing in the course areas of fundraising fundamentals and nonprofit governance.


Sara Raza
Sara Raza is the Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator for the Global Art Initiative Middle East and North Africa where she recently organized the exhibition But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa. Formerly, she was the Curator of Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, and served as the Head of Education and Public Programs at Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Baku, Azerbaijan, and Curator of Public Programs at Tate Modern, London. Raza is the longstanding West and Central Asia editor of ArtAsiaPacific magazine and is currently editing a book on her research entitled Punk Orientalism. She blogs regularly at

Yayoi Shionoiri
Yayoi Shionoiri is Senior Counsel to Artsy, where she advises on technology start-up operations, special projects, intellectual property issues, and digital media strategy. From 2011 to 2015, Shionoiri was the Associate General Counsel of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, advising on legal aspects of matters including exhibitions and nonprofit operations. She received her A.B. from Harvard University, her JD from Cornell Law School, and her MA in Modern Art from Columbia University. As a U.S.-Japan Leadership Program Fellow and an Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leader, she actively contributes to the ongoing development of cultural collaborations and political ties across nations.