August 31, 2018
Class of 2018: Behind the scenes

40 Under Forty: Staying outside the Worcester Art Museum

Photo | Erika Sidor
40 Under Forty winners and members of Team WAM (from left) Kate Campanale, Ryan Canuel, Alvara Gjylapi and Bert LaValley.

After we decided to shoot this year's 40 Under Forty photos at cultural destinations around Central Massachusetts, the one place I put at the top of my must-get list was Worcester Art Museum. It also was the one location I was most concerned about.

Despite the emergence of more youthful and interactive art spaces in the region, the 120-year-old Worcester Art Museum remains the iconic symbol of Central Massachusetts' cultural identity. Housing nearly 40,000 pieces of art and situated in a grand building anchoring Salisbury Street, it would have been wrong to do a Cultural Destinations theme and not have the museum.

Photo | Erika Sidor
Campanale finished this prop about 45 seconds before this photo series was shot.

Yet, the museum is notoriously difficult to get pictures in. That's partially understandable. You can't have models, photographers and heavy equipment moving unfettered around all those priceless pieces of art. To shoot photos there, you have to get security guards to follow you around, are you're restricted in how close you can get to the art, as well as what type of equipment you can use.

Because we wanted to create a more youthful vibe for all the 40 Under Forty photos and largely be unfettered as we did the shots, we decided just to stay outside the Worcester Art Museum.

Luckily, the 40 Under Forty winners who were members of Team WAM – Kate Campanale, Bert LaValley, Alvara Gjylapi and Ryan Canuel – were gracious and careful models. Campanale even created an elaborate prop using a gallery frame and iconic Worcester symbols to inject some liveliness into the proceedings.

Photo | Erika Sidor
The open outdoor courtyard at Worcester Art Museum offers several artistic backdrops.

We only really had two minor incidents with the Worcester Art Museum rules.

The first came when we wanted to move from the outside staircase to the outdoor courtyard on the other side of the building. Rather than walking three blocks around the museum, I asked if we could simply cut through the lobby and empty cafe inside the building. We eventually got the approval, but we need a chaperone to walk us through the building. It felt a little weird needing to be watched in order to go past some empty tables and chairs. (I'm guessing the issue was you can access the rest of the museum from this cafe, but I never asked.)

Photo | Erika Sidor
When the members of Team WAM switched positions after this shot, the main incident occurred (it was really, really minor).

The second – and much more egregious issue – came in the outdoor courtyard when Campanale, LaValley, Gjylapi and Canuel were taking photos behind a twisting rusted sculpture. One of the winners (who shall remain nameless) almost hit his/her head on the sculpture when standing up and had to grab onto it for support. That elicited a "Please don't touch the art" warning from the museum observer. That was as dangerous as we got.

Ultimately, I'm grateful to all the 10 locations that allowed us to shoot photos – for free – in ways both potentially loud and disruptive. Because of this, we were more than willing to abide by any of the rules they laid out ahead of time. Worcester Art Museum might have had more rules than any other location, but – in the end – our cultural-destination-themed 40 Under Forty included the region's most iconic cultural destination.

Read about the entire 2018 Class of 40 Under Forty.

Michael Alden - Ascentria Care Alliance

Che Anderson - City of Worcester

Victor M. Archila - VMA Electric Inc.

Allison Beckler, DO - YOU, Inc.

Sam Bitar - Webster Five

Mark A. Borenstein - Seder & Chandler LLP

Kate D. Campanale - Massachusetts House of Representatives

Derek Canton - paerpay

Ryan Canuel - Petricore, Inc.

Jennifer Caron - Body Therapeutics

Danielle J. Clark - Clark Career Coaching

Heidi Cooper - Cooper's Hilltop Farm

Matthew M. Copeland, P.E. - Copeland Building Envelope Consulting

Pat Davis - The DAVIS Cos.

Efua T. Dufu, MSW, LCSW - Ellite Event Planning

Grace Elton - Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Ursula Furi-Perry, J.D. - Becker College

Jared E. Gentilucci - Nitsch Engineering

David Gilchrist, MD, MBA - UMass Memorial Health Care

Alvara Gjylapi - Santander Bank

Erica Grinkis - The GazBar Sports Grill

Meredith Harris - Marlborough Economic Development Corp.

Erin Jansky - Worcester Housing Authority

Ben Jones - Boston Scientific Corp

Alexis Kelleher - Crust Bakeshop; North Main Provisions

Bert LaValley - Sustainable Comfort, Inc.; deadhorse hill & simjang restaurants

Jennifer Leger - Fidelity Bank

Brian Lemerise - Quiet Logistics, Inc.

Tom Lubelczyk - The Worcester Jazz Collective

Laura Marotta - Creative Hub Worcester

Ryan Matson - Small Business Insurance Agency

Michael P. McDonough, CPA - McDonough, McDonough & Corsini, LLP

Madeline Mendoza - NewVue Communities

Jessica Morris - MCPHS University

Nathan Oriol - Oakdale Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center (Oriol Health Care)

Nicholas Pelletier - Pelletier Properties at Keller Williams North Central

Courtney E. Pelley - Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center

Lilian Radke - Unic Pro Inc.

Blaine Schnare - Harrington HealthCare System

Bonnie J. Walker - Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Learn how the winners were picked on our judges' page.

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