Serena Kovalosky grew up in rural Washington County, New York. Her artistic inclinations were inspired her father, a professional photographer with whom she witnessed the film-developing process, accompanying him in the darkroom as a young child in the age before digital. Her mother taught her the “home arts” of cooking and gardening which she honed as she developed her epicurean palate.
As a first-generation American, Kovalosky was also fascinated by travel and foreign cultures and initially launched her career in the travel industry after studying languages at the State University at Potsdam, NY and spending a year in Tours, France in 1977-78. Following graduation, she headed for the city, working for top-level tour operators and travel management companies such as Michaud Tours, Crimson Travel and Thomas Cook in the Boston area and Kuehne & Nagel International in Montreal.
In 1997, the middle of a successful career, Kovalosky traded her well-worn suitcases for an artist’s loft in Montreal to become a professional sculptor, breaking the boundaries of traditional gourdcraft to bring the medium to the level of fine art. www.kovalosky.com
Kovalosky lived in worked in Montreal’s St. Henri district which, at the time, was a haven for artists and creatives who occupied the old factories along the canal. As with other former artist districts, developers became attracted to the area and despite organized resistance led by Kovalosky and other artists, the buildings became high-end condominiums, forcing artists to find living space and studios elsewhere.
In 2005, Kovalosky returned to her rural roots in the U.S. to work on a new collection of artwork. She also began putting her project management talents and skills to work, using the arts to develop tourism and boost the creative economy in rural areas.
She co-founded the juried biennial Open Studios of Washington County, NY, which brought substantial art revenue and tourism to a small rural community, developing the region’s visual arts as a cultural cornerstone for the area. The biennial showcases the top professional artists in the county, including Grandma Moses’ great-grandson, Will Moses, who lives and creates where his famous great-grandmother began her career. The first Open Studios Biennial was launched in 2007.
Kovalosky started curating other shows and in 2014 was contracted to produce, curate and manage a five-month national art exhibition at the Slate Valley Museum featuring nineteen artists from across the U.S. Famed stonecarver Nicholas Benson, who carved the memorial inscriptions for the Martin Luther King Monument and Maya Lin’s “The Meeting Room,” created a large wall sculpture especially for the exhibition and personally installed the piece.
In an effort to bring positive news to her rural hometown of Whitehall, which been in decline for decades, Kovalosky wrote and published a popular series of newspaper articles on iconic businesses such as the Silver Diner and J.J. Newberry’s that flourished during the town’s heyday, before malls and fast-food chains hastened the decline of Main Street. The reminiscent series became a monthly, two-page spread in the regional Manchester Newspapers and featured interactive feedback through social media.
In 2012, Kovalosky was invited by Canadian curator Harreson Tanner on a curatorial tour throughout Canada’s Yukon Territory to explore possibilities of developing projects that could generate awareness of the territory’s visual artists in the U.S., particularly the East Coast.
For one of the initiatives, Kovalosky pitched the idea of an all-Yukon edition to ACS Magazine, an innovative international digital art magazine based in Chicago. The issue was launched in 2017 and featured 14 Yukon visual artists.
Kovalosky’s most recent project is a film series featuring artists around the world. Traveling with a professional film crew, Kovalosky will visit artists’ studios as the creator, producer, director, writer and host of the series. A pilot for the Artful Vagabond series has been filmed and is currently in post-production.
Serena Kovalosky has appeared on the British BBC television travel program “Holiday,” Canada’s Life Channel, Quebec’s Canal Vie and on Joe Donahue’s Roundtable on Northeast Public Radio. She has been interviewed by CBC Radio-Canada and in Adirondack Life magazine, Artscope, Professional Artist magazine, Art Animal and numerous newspapers and online publications.
As a writer, Kovalosky has interviewed rockstar David Bowie’s first wife, Angie Bowie, WNYT NewsChannel 13’s News Chief Mark Mulholland, World Cup bobsledder and future Olympic star Codie Bascue and Santa Claus, in addition to hundreds of professional artists around the world.