+ Melissa Unger curriculum vitae
Prior to founding Seymour Projects in 2011, Melissa, a Franco-American, built a successful 20+ year career in media, arts, and public service. Her career kicked off in 1986, when she embarked on a Summer internship as a studio assistant to the iconic fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier in New York City. In the late 1980’s she moved to London and entered the music video industry where she worked with the innovative director Ralph Ziman production managing his videos for musicians/bands including Faith No More, Alice Cooper, Living Colour & many more. In the early 90’s, back in NYC, she held positions on the production crew of a number of major feature films, working with director/producers Martin Scorsese, Robert Redford, Irwin Winkler and many other industry luminaries. Melissa was also the personal assistant to actors Robert De Niro and Daniel Day-Lewis.
It was in the late 90’s, during her time working in development of children’s programming at Disney’s Jumbo Pictures that she came into contact with the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero, a pedagogic endeavor that focuses on learning through the arts and examines fundamental questions of human expression and development. Inspired by this experience she applied to Columbia University’s School of Social Work. Though successfully admitted into their Masters Program, she chose instead to go to work for the Ad Council, a legendary organization that leverages creativity to enact social change. In her role as Vice President of Media Outreach, she was responsible for managing outreach and partnership efforts across all U.S. media (TV, Radio, Outdoor/OOH) for the Ad Council’s 40+ public service advertising campaigns. She also represented the Ad Council at a number of trade shows and conferences.
In 2004, seeking new horizons, Melissa moved to Paris. She was appointed Manager of the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, one of Parisʼ leading contemporary art galleries. During her time at Ropac she had the opportunity work with many prominent artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Antony Gormley, Tom Sachs, Sylvie Fleury, Jean-Marc Bustamante, Sturtevant. In late 2007 Melissa left the gallery to become a freelance consultant for arts-related organizations and creative brands such as: Galerie Impaire, Creative Growth Art Center, artnet, Savannah College of Art & Design, Galerie Christian Berst, Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld & PC Valmorbida. During her time at artnet Melissa also conducted one on one journalistic video interviews with numerous international art world luminaries including: Robert Longo, Tony Cragg, Gabriel Orozco, Jules de Balincourt, Liza Lou, Anish Kapoor, Not Vital, Alex Katz.
Throughout the last decade she has researched a number of issues; principally the effect of technology on human consciousness/evolution, the nature of identity/relationship to self and others; the Flow state and the benefits of solitude, silence, sanctuaries. Today in her role as Founder and Creative Director of Seymour Projects, she conceives of, designs and produces the non-profit organization’s multidisciplinary projects.
Melissa and her projects have been featured in numerous international press publications, including: The Huffington Post, Die Zeit, ELLE Magazine, Le Figaro, Libération, Le Monde, New York Magazine.
Melissa was also a founding member of the ephemeral special events collective HELLO, MY NAME IS BILL which hosted a series of unusual events throughout Paris in 2009. Her first novel GAG, was published by Roundfire Books in 2014.
Melissa is regularly called upon to deliver educational lectures and presentations on a variety of topics linked to her professional experience and the Seymour Projects mission. Melissa is passionate about collaborating with other forward-thinkers to help shape a desirable, humane future.