Exhibition Development at the University of Art Gallery

Author: Pierce Mitchell

This semester I had the opportunity to work at the University Art Gallery, also known as the UAG, where I was able to create my own pop-up exhibition about printmaking, its history, and how different images are produced by the different variations of printing. In addition to creating my own exhibition I was also able to work with the current exhibitions. During my time at the UAG, I worked under the instruction of Janina Lopez, a graduate fellow at the UAG, and Sylvia Rhor Samaniego, the director, and curator of the UAG. During my time as an intern at the UAG, I was involved in many facets of planning and running an art gallery. In addition, I also worked on my own pop-up exhibition about prints and the printing process. The planning and creation of this exhibition were by far the most valuable learning experience that I had at the UAG.   

During my time working on some of the many facets of planning and running an art gallery, I was given a deeper look into the curatorial process. Some examples of the work I did were organizing and cataloging the workshop inventory, helping to assemble and move gallery furniture, working as a gallery attendant, and aiding in the research preparation for object talks. I found that working on a variety of different aspects of the gallery has given me a more robust understanding of the many different aspects of curation that all go into the creation and maintenance of exhibitions in a gallery space. From this experience, I was presented with new ideas about how to communicate the message of an exhibition: using lighting, color, usage of space, and the method of display (Hanging, podium, display case, etc.). During the same time, I worked on my own pop-up exhibition and was able to develop a different aspect of my curatorial skills.  

Through the work I did on the research and development of my own pop-up exhibition, I was able to gain valuable experience and further develop my curatorial skills. The work I did on my exhibition developed my skills in research, analysis, and writing, in addition to learning how to develop a central idea or theme used to unify the objects of an exhibition. When I started working on my exhibition, it was slow-moving as I researched and struggled to decide what objects to work with and how to draw a connection between them. Following my research, I developed several possible options and talked about them with Janina Lopez and Sylvia Rhor Samaniego. Together, we decided which idea would work best, and I was guided on how to connect the objects. With this guidance, my work sped up as I created the written elements to explain the history and connections of these objects. The experience of researching and developing my own exhibition significantly developed my curatorial skills and gave me a valuable look into the world of the museum.  

The experience that I gained during my time as an intern at the UAG is invaluable to me, as it will serve as the foundation of my understanding of the curatorial process and the many different aspects of an exhibition that need to come together to create a valuable experience that aids in the understanding of the works being displayed.

Pierce Mitchell, Museum Studies Intern at the University Art Gallery, Fall 2022

Constellations Group