I am Aubrey Vinson, a rising junior Art History major, concentrating in Curatorial Studies. I interned at Gallery 1301 in the summer of 2014. I actually found this internship through a friend; it seems simple and coincidental, but word of mouth is very important in the art world. I got the employer’s contact information through this friend, and sent him an email with my resume and some information about me. I actually didn’t hear back at first, but I went to the gallery’s first opening anyway. I met the owner, Joe Bradley, then and he knew exactly who I was and apologized for not responding. We arranged to meet that weekend, and after a brief, relaxed interview, I had an internship.
How I found this internship is fairly representative of my experience at the gallery, and with Joe. It’s a very relaxed and friendly environment, and I was always given a lot of respect and influence in the gallery. There’s a very small staff, all of which are practicing local artists. We handled everything from curating shows and talking to artists, to cleaning the floors at night and patching the walls. The first few weeks were spent becoming familiar with the gallery and getting to know the staff and business plan. I helped care for the space and artwork while working on my major project for the summer.
My big project was helping to curate a pop-up show for ArtScape. Joe and I collaborated in choosing artists, planning the layout, and promoting the show. We brainstormed, hung, and packed everything; the very start to the very end. Along the way, Joe mentored and taught me in business communication, patching and painting walls, lighting the art, and just bouncing curatorial ideas back and forth. The show was indeed a success; the very different artworks all played well together, and a few of them sold.
It was very hard work, though. At times, it was a full-time effort. I learned how important work ethic, planning, communication, and collaboration are in the gallery scene. Working in such a small contemporary gallery showed me all the responsibilities that can fall on a curator. Because I got a sampling of all these roles, I feel well prepared to take on any job in an art institution.