Become an Entrepreneur

Tricia Khutoretsky — advanced her degree to become a founder of the nonprofit art exhibition space Public Functionary.

Tricia Khutoretsky

As A self-proclaimed nerd who loves to study, pursuing a graduate degree was always one of Tricia Khutoretsky’s long-term goals. But it wasn’t until she entered the workforce that she got the push she needed.

“I was working for a company where I didn’t really like what they were doing or the fact that my resources were going toward another company’s goal,” she says. The desire to make her own choices, as well as the desire to immerse herself in the art and nonprofit communities, compelled Khutoretsky to enroll in St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, where she completed her master’s in arts and cultural management in 2010.

Along with a course load that emphasized every aspect of running a not-for-profit business—from marketing to fundraising—the 34-year-old champions the instructors and the network of other professionals. That network actually led her to two galleries that combined and welcomed her as a founder, director, and curator of a new creation: the contemporary art exhibition and social space Public Functionary in Northeast Minneapolis.

“There was a niche in the Twin Cities that was missing,” Khutoretsky says. “A sort of contemporary art that I didn’t think any of the other spaces were showing, and a need for something new. The program at St. Mary’s let me understand how it was possible to set up a nonprofit and the kinds of challenges you are going to face in terms of being a founder.”


If you want to make something new:

  • “Network with your faculty and peers,” says Matt Nowakowski, dean of the graduate school of business and technology at St. Mary’s University. Unlike undergrad, fellow students have a lifetime of knowledge and experience, just like you. Engage it.
  • Rather than deconstructing or criticizing in the classroom,“focus on creating and exploring,” Nowakowski says. Openness leads to opportunity.


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