Gertrude Stein Questionnaire: Deana Haggag shares her thoughts on Legally Blonde, The Bun Shop, and Eating Tacos Everyday, Forever

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Deana Haggag is the Director of The Contemporary located in Baltimore, MD. Before this, she was the Curator-in-Residence at Gallery CA, located in Baltimore’s City Arts building, which is home to over 90 artists. Deana is also the Dean of the Baltimore Chapter of The Awesome Foundation and co-organizes The Koban Project. She recently received her MFA in Curatorial Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art. More information can be found at

Name: Deana Haggag

Age: 26

Occupation: Director, The Contemporary

Baltimore Neighborhood: Ednor Gardens

Obsessive Collections: I seem to accidentally collect museum admission tags and nametags from events and conferences.

Currently Reading: Liz Lerman’s “The Critical Response Process”

Coolest Place You’ve Ever Been: Aswan, Egypt

Hobbies or Leisure Activities: I really love sleeping– which is 100% a lasting residual effect of graduate school (and then subsequently taking on a directorship). I also spend a considerable amount of time fantasizing about the day my student debt is paid off. What will I be wearing? What will I have for dinner that day? Who will be the first person I call? Will I even live to see the day? Sigh.

Favorite Food to Eat at Home: I am a lazy cook and have perfected the art of dressing up boxed mac and cheese.

Favorite Food to Eat Out: Right now it’s Toucan Taco in Laurel because tacos are the greatest thing on earth – even mom tacos. I could eat tacos everyday, forever.

Favorite Beverage of Choice: I drink a lot of water.

Political Leanings: I am waiting for a President who will realize and adequately address the effects of our grossly sensationalized media (because the United States should be better than that).

Favorite Baltimore spot to hang out: I’ve been getting in the zone at The Bun Shop and wish I could make it out there more frequently.

Pets: I have a nearly two-year-old Lab/Pitt mix named Mason who has these huge paws he can’t seem to control. I also have a one-year-old black cat, Pippi, who is as bitchy as her fur is dark. She is the boss in my house. Oh, and I have a spider plant named Olivia Newton-John that has taken a great deal of personal determination to keep alive.

Favorite Artist, Living or Dead: This is hard and I let myself change my mind all the time– I really love Félix González-Torres and I think Francis Alÿs is very important. I would also love to have a conversation with John Baldessari.

Movie that Sums Up the Current State of Your Life: I am feeling a little Legally Blonde these days but also a little like Robocop which I think is the best way I can describe nonprofit life or rather #nonprofitlife.

Favorite Bad Habit: I have a thing for bad TV.

Mantra or Favorite Quote: “When you’re climbing the ladder of success, don’t let the boys look up your dress,” was sent to me recently in an email by a very wise old lady. It made me laugh. Though, I seem to always come back to Kurt Vonnegut’s sage advice from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater: “God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” It really is too true.

Photo Credit: Olivia Obineme, Strangers With Style

* The Gertrude Stein Questionnaire began as an idea for the Urbanite Magazine’s Arts and Culture E-zines written by Cara Ober from 2009-2012. Like Vanity Fair’s ‘Proust Questionnaire,’ the questions always remain the same, and are roughly inspired from the life and experiences of Gertrude Stein, a visionary writer and art collector who spent her formative years in Baltimore. Stein lived in Baltimore from 1891 – 1902, where she studied medicine at Johns Hopkins and befriended Etta and Claribel Cone, (donors of the Cone Collection at the BMA) after regularly attending their Saturday night Salon series.

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