Friday, November 2, 2012

Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital’s Art Ability Office



My name is Sarah Hepworth and I am an upcoming Junior Illustration major. This summer, I was an intern at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital’s Art Ability Office. The hospital provides both physical and cognitive rehabilitation services to its patients for a range of disabilities. Art Ability is a program Bryn Mawr Hospital runs, which focuses on celebrating artists with disabilities by supplying them with galleries to promote, share, and sell their artwork and crafts. The Annual Art Ability Exhibition is an internationally renowned event that the hospital has been hosting for years. Artists must apply and a couple hundred are hand-selected to be a part of the show, out of which a few are presented with awards.


Working in the Art Ability office, my supervisor was Leighton “Mac” McKeithen, the Marketing Director at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital. I also worked closely with the Art Ability curator, Susanna Saunders. My main responsibilities dealt with the preparation of the Annual Art Ability Exhibition. Beyond various tasks that Susanna gave me to complete daily, I managed the submissions by the artists for the show— both by mail and through the online system, Callforentry.org. I also had the internship-long project of writing the artists’ profiles for the event’s program book, and created the judging sheet for the jury so they had background information on each of the applicants.

I am extremely proud of my role in being a part of the foundation of this international exhibition. Repeatedly, the curator informed me that I was the only one growing familiar with the artists, so my voice during the jury process actually held a lot of value. For as much as I was able to help the Art Ability program, I got just as much out of it by learning about this more business-focused and structured side of art. Despite not actually making art, I was still able to learn about what art works in certain places, and the key factors curators and companies are looking at when judging and selecting work. This internship experience has helped clarify my career goal by giving me a clue into all of the various components that are valued by businesses, curators, and companies when it comes to their dealing with art. My experience has also allowed me to make connections and network, which I will be able to use in the future for internship and job opportunities.