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Rachel Neugarten, Alum
Columbia College 2004

"Perhaps this is old news but I heard the West End was at last closed down. V&T's is still around, I hope? And what of the Hungarian Pastry shop next to it?"

I received this question through an alumni e-mail network I joined after graduating from Columbia and moving to Portland, OR. When I first moved I was without a job, far from friends, family, and all the professional contacts I had developed in New York, and living in a beautiful but unfamiliar city.

Having just come from New York, I was able to respond to this question, which led to an e-mail correspondence with the questioner. He turned out to be the primary art critic at The Oregonian, Oregon's largest newspaper. I mentioned that I used to write art reviews for The Columbia Spectator, and before I knew it I had work as a freelance art reviewer!

I had never imagined I would pursue a career in art criticism (my degree is in environmental science) but that opportunity has opened countless doors into the vibrant world of contemporary art, journalism, and the heart of a new city. I have never before, or since, experienced such serendipity.

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