Main content

Theo Haegele

The Importance of Improvisation and Collaboration

Theo Haegele ’24 is a Sculpture major who spends his time getting into the Purchase art scene and delving deep into his work.

He’s an RA on campus, which he says is a fantastic experience for building community, getting in touch with fellow students and spreading awareness. He loves the programs that RAs get to put on: movie nights, LGBT History brunches, and loves getting people together and excited about something.

Choosing Purchase

Theo’s first tour as a high schooler was a key moment in his decision to come to Purchase: walking through the VA, seeing all the work on view, and the sheer commitment to art, and how totally immersed people got– that was what drew Theo in. He appreciated getting to see how people treat Purchase not just as an academic experience, but an opportunity to engage with art on so many levels.

Theo’s “Aha!” moment was when he realized the potential of sculpture during his second semester. During a class called Thinking in 3D, Theo build a wooden radiator that sat on the floor while on display. When he presented it to the class, everyone sat on the floor to get on eye level with the sculpture, and Theo was moved that people were engaging with his art so happily. The piece was kept on display for another semester, and people would recognize Theo in the halls as “The Guy Who Did the Radiator.”

When it comes to Theo’s favorite place on campus, he’s quick to answer: the Neuberger Museum of Art. He was a curatorial intern at the museum in the past, and loved getting to see the behind-the-scenes at the museum and learning what it takes to put art on display. The Neuberger is also a teaching museum, which to Theo means there’s a level of curiosity and willingness to show things that wouldn’t necessarily be typical of a museum to show.

Advice to Future Students?

Theo’s advice to incoming students is simple: getting things done will always open up more possibilities to get more things done.

He says, “It’s very rare that a decision will close things off. If you find an interesting opportunity, take it! Be open to that sort of improvisation, and to collaboration.”

It’s easy to come to college thinking that it’ll be a solo show, but Theo believes his best work has primarily been his collaborations.

“Come into this expecting to be part of a community,” he says.


*Quotes edited for grammar and clarity.