It’s Friday night, to most it’s pay day, to some it’s the end of a long work week, to an artist it’s the show opening of their artwork, and to the preparator it’s the calm after the storm. People fill the gallery space, walking around sipping wine, examining the work on the walls, having sophisticated conversations about brush strokes and techniques. A preparator walks into that same opening and sees the lighting, the spacing between the paintings, the placement of the pedestals and how they would arrange it differently, where the labels are positioned, how the shadows are being cast from the frames and canvases. It’s almost a sickness. I was told I’d never walk through a museum with eyes to just see the art on the walls again, which as an artist petrified me. I’d notice all the things that were once invisible to me, that are very much invisible to all those who pass through a museum, but don’t work in one. I am proud to say, I, an almost legally blind girl, can see the invisible.
Our best work is Invisible -Wayne Vonada
When I started this internship at the beginning of the summer I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I thought I would be in a museum just hanging artwork on walls. Boy was I wrong, and I’m extremely glad I was. Museum Preparator isn’t a position I knew much about upon taking this internship. While working with Wayne Vonada, there have been many things I’ve learned not only about his position in the museum, but also about museum work in general. The inner workings, you could say. There are many factors that go into a Friday opening at MoFA, from exhibition design, art handling, labels, lights, spackling and painting, vinyl and many more things I couldn’t possibly list in a short period of time.
With so much to learn in such a short amount of time, I created a list of goals. Most of which seem attainable this summer, others might take a bit longer. One of my goals was to network. I wanted to meet as many people in the art community as possible. I’m proud to say that I’ve met many important people in the University thus far, as well as many artists including artists through the Artists’ League exhibition. In addition to meeting such lovely people I learned a bit about The Artists’ League. This organization is a great way for local artists, including students, to be a part of the local art community and have the opportunity to exhibit in town as well. All for only $15 per year, with a little extra to exhibit of course.
I’ve also set the goal to hang as many different types of shows as possible. Which I’m happy to say I’ve learned that all shows are very different. The process of hanging a show is generally the same—you do some math, drive a nail, or multiple, and hang the piece or float it off the wall. The layout of the works, the works themselves, and all the behind the scenes aspects of the show that make it so aesthetically pleasing for the viewers, that’s the fun part, that’s what’s different every time. You get to take time to examine the works, from size, subject matter, medium, color, all to determine where it will go in this big empty freshly spackled and painted room. A place where this piece will shine in all its glory for weeks to come.
Oh, and did I mention I got the chance to have my prints exhibited in one of the shows we hung at WJB? Original Copies: Prints, Process and People.
I started college thinking that internships were impossible to attain, that they were only for straight A business students, I’m happy to report that is not the case. If I can do it, I’m sure that any student can. You just have to find what you’re passionate about and search until you find a position that suits you to open up. Sometimes you may not even know what position it is, you just know the atmosphere you want to be a part of. I’m so grateful to Wayne for all that I’ve learned and will continue to learn this summer.
You learn something new every day, sometimes it’s good things and sometimes it’s bad things.
The goal is to keep learning anyways.