Q&A: Miranda Krajniak


Miranda Krajniak. Courtesy UICA

Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.

Miranda Krajniak is the executive director of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, whose mission is to build the creative community in West Michigan.

Before joining UICA in downtown Grand Rapids, Krajniak spent five years working in nonprofit arts programming and two years curating professional art exhibitions.

With a degree in fine art drawing from Kendall College of Art and Design, she uses her creative expertise to build successful and thoughtful organizations and programs for the community.

Biggest career break?

After years of working in the nonprofit sector, I was contacted out of the blue one afternoon and was offered the interim executive director position at UICA. That opportunity was an incredible one and ultimately led to me falling in love with the organization and a non-temporary position. This will be my third year.

Proudest moment?

Being a part of Failure Lab and sharing my story in front of 400 strangers was that moment. It was cathartic, frightening and, frankly, a very good speech.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Fake it until you make it.

Belief in your decision making and in your own ability is everything.

How did you make your first dollar?

I made my first dollar by installing cement board, tiling and grouting for my father’s ceramic tile installation business.

Most-treasured possession?

The 1950s black satin shirt-dress I wore when I first met my husband or my cat, Bad Kitty. It’s a toss up.

Dream job?

Historic costume and textiles archivist

If I were president for a day, I would . . . ?

Update the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to protect children working in agriculture.

Last book you’ve read?

“A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” by Anthony Marra

Last thing you Googled?

The history of Quincy, Illinois

Your worst habit?

I leave half empty cups with lipstick stains on every surface of my office and home.

To unwind, I like to . . . ?

I love to relax with a glass of scotch and science fiction television shows, my favorites being "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Stargate SG-1."

Dream vacation?

I’d take South Africa’s Blue Train from Pretoria to Cape Town.

Favorite food?

Potato chips and French onion dip

Person you most admire?

Anna Wintour  

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