Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Redline Gallery

My name is Caitlin Alicia Roberts and I am a senior photography major/ art history minor at the Maryland Institute College of Art. During the summer of 2012, I had the opportunity to complete an internship at Redline Gallery in Denver. Redline is a working studio and gallery, as well as a non-profit organization geared towards using art as a vehicle for social change, improvement, and awareness. I was fortunate enough to gain insight of this internship through a friend from home in New Mexico. I contacted the director of Redline, sent in the required forms, and landed the internship.

During this time I assisted both the resident artists and the exhibition development team through a variety of tasks. While working with the resident artists I helped with everything from their studio and creative process to their research and material gathering. I also worked with the exhibitions team installing and de- installation two shows “ Off the Beaten Path: Women, Violence, and Art” and “ Hybrid”. Additionally, I helped manage the figure drawing classes by checking people in an out and gathering dues. Throughout this time I learned an immense about the practice and professional practice of art and the creative process, professionalism in the art community, and art handling. However, pinpointing a specific highlight is impossible. I am unable to decide which was more exciting: helping an artist grow or helping an exhibition manifest.

I assisted several artists in their studio practice during my time at Redline, which helped me understand more about how to work efficiently, how to be organized, how to work with deadlines, and how to interact with the art world. Each of the artists shared their struggles and success- they gave me insight and a realistic understanding of the art world. Not one of them entered undergraduate school with the knowledge of wanting to become an artist or going to an art school, yet each one is now a successful, practicing, and showing artist. I helped one of the photographers scan and color correct hundreds of negatives, organize his folders of exhibition announcements and gallery cards of shows attended, and frame artwork. I also helped maintain and update his digital databases. I helped a sculptor with by mixing mediums and helping create stems and flowers for larger than life bouquets. Lastly, I assisted a painter (and the one who introduced me to Redline) by photographing/color correcting/ documenting his paintings, accompanying him to art stores to purchase/carry materials like large canvases, acting as his assistant while meeting with curators, and attending gallery openings together as artist research. Working with these artists exposed the real world ethic and mechanics of the art world. Yet, as much as I enjoyed working with the resident artists I may have enjoyed the installation and deinstallion of exhibitions at Redline. It was simply beyond thrilling to have a hands on experience with artwork as I unpacked it from the crates and hung it onto the walls versus simply viewing it from a stand offish, hands off perspective at a museum. I had the chance to even hold and pose with a Louise bourgeois drawing!! I want to own my own gallery one day so it was certainly a valuable experience learning how to properly hang and handle artwork, properly light shows, and other general gallery management I know the level of professionalism at Redline has set incredibly high standards of conduct for any future gallery I choose to work at.

Working at Redline showed me everything I need to know emulate in becoming a successful, fore front member of the contemporary art world. I saw discipline, commitment, work ethic, and clarity of vision unlike I had ever seen before. I was challenged, but in a good way. I felt valued but, I also felt potential for my own growth. Every moment was stimulating. Working at Redline was hands down the best experience of my career at MICA and I STRONGLY recommend other students exploring this incredible gallery and working studio.