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The artist behind the MFA’s sound

Northeastern alumna Jasmine Hagans has lived and breathed music her whole life. Her father is a professional jazz musician, and she has worked at local venues, managed two bands on tour, and played drums in a rock band for the last year and a half.

“I don’t think I could live happily without music being a part of my life,” said Hagans, a 2009 graduate of the music industry program with minors in business administration, urban studies, and history.

Thanks to both her doggedness and valuable experiential-learning opportunities at Northeastern, music currently plays a role in what she does every day. Hagans is the curator of lectures, courses, and concerts at the Museum of Fine Arts on Huntington Avenue. In this role, she programs more than 150 events per year, ranging from adult art history and culture classes to dynamic lectures and concerts.

In particular, Hagans has embraced the opportunity to expand the MFA’s music offerings. She proposed and implemented a program called Sound Bites, which brings in free live music one Thursday a month between the fall and spring. As a result of her creative insights into planning and music, the museum has featured both popular and worldly acts such as Passion Pit, Oliver Mtukudzi, Emeline Michel, Califone, Lost in the Trees, So Percussion, and My Brightest Diamond.

Opened in 1876, the MFA is one of the globe’s most comprehensive art museums, with a collection comprising nearly 450,000 works of art that are viewed by more than 1 million visitors each year. To Hagans, building the MFA’s concert slate to complement its remarkable art exhibits and educational programming seemed like a natural fit.

“Why not? This is the MFA,” she said. “As you walk around the museum, you feel truly inspired by these artists, and I felt that adding more music programming could only bring it even more to life. It gets you in the mindset that you’re in a special place.”

Hagans started at the MFA in June 2006 as a part-time intern, helping to coordinate and manage winter and summer programs and other events at the museum. Over time, she took on more responsibility as production assistant and then a manager, eventually coordinating all aspects of the museum’s concert programming, from production to hospitality.

After graduation, Hagans spent a year teaching English in South Korea. When she returned, she soon realized her heart remained with the arts. So she reconnected with her former employer and earned a position as the manager of lectures, courses, and concerts in Oct. 2010. In July of this year, she was promoted to curator.

She credits her Northeastern education for fostering her open mind as well as for furthering her engagement with arts, culture, and the music industry.

“Each day I have the opportunity to look at a visual encyclopedia of human history,” Hagans said. “Working here is nothing short of inspirational and fulfilling both on a personal and community level. Not a day goes by in which I don’t learn something about the world’s history and how we’re all moving forward.”

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