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MSLCE Student Hopes to Modernize China’s Fine Arts Market

By Jacob Nelson

Mona Fu wants to modernize China’s fine arts market.

The MSLCE student was inspired to apply to Northwestern after she worked for three years at a Beijing fine arts auction company. During that time, she realized that the auction industry in China is too traditional compared to the industry in the U.S.

“When I was traveling with my general manager in New York, we would visit Sotheby’s and Christie’s and I could compare their operation structures with ours,” Fu said, “and I found their’s were more advanced.”

That realization gave Fu the kick she needed to head to Evanston to get her master’s degree. After she’s done at Northwestern, she’s unsure whether she wants to work for an auction firm, a gallery, or a museum. She does know, however, that she wants to stay in the fine arts industry.

“I want to get some practical experience in America for several years and then I can bring that practical experience back to China.”

Fu would like to help China’s fine arts auction firms digitize their business. For instance, the firm she worked at was lacking in its online presence, whereas U.S. auction firms make it easier for people to buy and sell art online.

“In China, we don’t have an online platform to sell artwork online,” Fu said, “but in America they’ve already done this, and I think that will be the trend in the future.”

Fu is excited to take the skills she learned about project management and nonprofit arts management during her coursework to whatever her next job will be. She feels especially prepared to reenter the professional world as a result of Cory Sandrock’s Finance in the Creative Industries course.

“He taught us how to do the business side,” Fu said. “I think that is really important for our future careers if we want to open our own companies.”

Fu is unsure if she will try to open her own company, find another job, or if perhaps she will pursue a PhD in the fine arts. Whatever happens, she says she will remain within what she calls “the fine arts ecosystem.”

“This is the area I’m most interested in,” she said.