My name is Lauren Genovese, and I am a Painting senior with an Illustration concentration. During the summer of 2016, I was a gallery intern at AFA Gallery located in SoHo in Manhattan, New York. I had known about the gallery for a while because they show a lot of artists I really love, and there are only a select number of galleries in New York that cater to this type of art— mostly contemporary surrealism, pop surrealism, animation, and illustration. They work closely with artists featured in popular art publications such as Juxtapoz. Hi-Fructose, and Beautiful Bizarre, as well as receive coverage from them, run ads through them, etc. Galleries in this art scene are mostly located in the west coast, so I follow the select few in New York quite closely. I e-mailed three galleries in New York that I was interested in and AFA Gallery replied back quickly asking me to come in for an interview. I did an interview there over spring break when I was back home and had a great experience and was accepted as an intern for the summer.
I worked alongside the gallery manager, Frances Stern, however I helped out in other areas where help was needed, as well. This summer the gallery was working on a huge new website launch which has been a lot of work. I played a big role in digging through archives and gathering information and pictures for the new website and organizing it. I also edited a lot of photo documentation of installation shots and artwork. I have worked a lot on the gallery’s online inventory as well and helping to organize and update it. I helped in preparing for an exhibition that opened over the summer and made labels, helped set up, and maintained a RSVP list. I was responsible for uploading works for sale onto Artsy frequently. Also, I worked a lot with the shipment team in packaging and shipping art. I mostly helped out with whoever needed help whenever, but those were my main tasks. I’m definitely proud of my diligence at this internship and the relationships I’ve built with the employees. I felt that I worked really hard and it showed.
Being able to see how galleries function behind the scenes was definitely one of the most important things I learned. I learned about the relationship between galleries and artists, how galleries prepare for an opening, how artists send in their work, etc. Just being able to see the gallery function on a day to day basis was super beneficial. Spending days in the shipment room was also a great experience; I now know how to properly package and ship art of all different shapes, sizes, and materials. It was also extremely beneficial to intern at a gallery that fits within the art scene I see myself in. It gave me a lot of insight into that field and really validated my passion for it. I also feel more confident in knowing how to network with people and approach galleries, as I feel I understand how they work much better now. I had a really positive experience at AFA and it was a really fantastic opportunity for me.