Serena Kovalosky grew up in rural upstate New York and moved to the city where she spent eighteen years in the travel industry, 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 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.

serena kovalosky with gourd

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.

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.

Kovalosky started curating other shows and 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.

Kovalosky later became the Executive Director for Behold! New Lebanon, the Living Museum of Contemporary Rural American Life, where she worked with Ruth Abram, co-founder of the Tenement Museum in New York, to manage and direct the organization’s crucial transition period in keeping with its mission as an innovative “museum-without-walls” dedicated to attracting tourism to this rural community.

Kovalosky’s current project is a film series on working artists in America. Traveling with a professional film crew, Kovalosky visits 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.

SerenaK Title Still - Laughing

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 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.

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