My summer internship at the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts has been an incredible learning experience. I first found out about the internship possibilities the museum has to offer through volunteer coordinator Jasmine Van Weelden. Jasmine was very informative and helpful in the whole process of setting up and applying for the internship. There are different types of internships offered by the museum, and different people to intern under. Jasmine helped me get in contact with Wayne Vonada, the preparator at the museum. I emailed, and then met with Wayne on several occasions, and even volunteered a couple of times before we decided I should be an intern for the summer.
Since my internship has started I’ve learned a lot. Wayne’s job includes a range of different tasks I’ve had the opportunity to help with. My first week at the museum was installation week for the Artist League of Tallahassee. Wayne taught me how to lay out a show. He made me think about all the different aspects that make up a show. What paintings should go where? Based on the way the museum is laid out who will see what work first? What looks aesthetically pleasing next to each other? After laying out the show based on these questions, the next step was hanging. Hanging pieces is the most tedious task because to calculate at what height the nail needs to go into the wall it takes a bit of math. First you take the height of the painting and divide it by 2, then subtract the distance from the top of the wire that is on the back of the painting, from the height of the painting. Once you get the answer you add that number to 60. Other things to think about when setting up a show are sculptures. Where should they be placed? Do they need to be showcased on a pedestal? The final details of a show are lighting and the vinyl lettering. All of which I learned how to do from Wayne.
An interesting aspect of my internship that people wouldn’t expect it to include is the amount of handy man type construction I’ve been learning. This past week I’ve deconstructed a wall type closet fixture in the museum, and have started helping Wayne with constructing a new wall fixture. Later on this month we are also going to start re-dry walling the upper back gallery. Due to these projects I’m learning all about different saws, drills, drill bits, and screws.
This internship so far has been amazing. I love what I’m learning, and that I’m being taught so many things. There really never is a dull day. I like that now I know how to construct wall fixtures, I understand how to lay out and hang a show. As an artist it has been incredibly helpful to see all the steps the process of hanging a show includes. Currently my short term goals are to help Wayne successfully redo the dry wall, to help prepare the graduating BFA show, and to complete my internship successfully. My long term goals are to move to Baltimore and start attending MICA with the class credit and experience to intern or work in a gallery on or off campus. So far one of my favorite days at the museum was working with the YMCA youth program making arts and crafts. I hope I will be able to continue doing art programs with kids in future museums when I move. So far the experience has been great.