Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Gallery Aferro

My name is Sarah Middleton and I am a second semester senior, General Fine Arts major with a double concentration in both experimental fashion and theatre. During this past summer I interned in Newark, NJ at Gallery Aferro. At the fine arts reviews this past spring, I met Evonne and Emma. It seemed like fate, because all of my appointments got cancelled due to confusion over my status as a senior, and I otherwise would not have chosen to meet with them. Immediately, I felt a connection with both Evonne and Emma and the very next day I saw the internship listing on the MICANetwork. While the idea of moving to the NY/NJ area for the summer was a bit terrifying, I knew this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss out on.

Right from the start, this amazing non-profit arts space welcomed me with open arms and instantly I felt like part of the team. Jacob, the gallery manager, and Alex the exhibition designer were absolutely amazing. Jacob taught me how to contact artists and how to interact with donors. I was surprised at how laid back and relaxed he was since his online presence is so formal. He let me talk to many of the artist donating to the super 8 fundraiser one on one and I even got to visit some of them in their studios. Alex taught me how to hang a show. I didn’t really understand how much math goes into it and how hard it is to hang a large show (especially one with hundreds of individual pieces!) Honestly, these two made me feel like I was more than an intern, they’re some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. Truly inspiring.

Every Thursday, I would get to the gallery early in the morning before they opened and work side by side as a studio assistant with Amanda Thackray. A teacher at SUNY purchase, Amanda has a very intricate and detailed approach to her work. I got to work with glassblowing and making wax molds of books. I also beaded lengths of beads which she then made into nets. A lot of her work revolves around ropes and we made rubber ropes which was super interesting. There was definitely not a boring moment and I learned a lot of new skills that I wouldn’t have otherwise been interested in figuring out myself.

 Overall I had an amazing summer working with the team of interns. We managed to pull off some major events and I really got to be a functional part of the gallery. I never felt like the “intern getting coffee”. I always felt like a meaningful part of the team. While I’m still figuring out if I want to pursue curatorial work, I know for sure that I would love to be involved in running a non-profit arts space similar to Aferro and I feel better prepared to make decisions about just what that might look like when I graduate.

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