Behind the Scenes of a Photo Gallery

Olivia and fellow intern help Curator David Oresick frame a photo

 

Behind the Scenes of a Photo Gallery

Museum Studies Intern at Silver Eye Center for Photography – Fall 2019 

When I began my internship at Silver Eye Center for Photography, I was pleasantly surprised by just how hands-on my position would be. Just a few weeks after it started, we began preparing for an upcoming exhibition with an Indonesian artist, Leonard Suryajaya. Suryajaya’s artistic vision for the gallery included hanging over 4,000 small prints each covered with 30 tiny mirrors and the application of specially designed wallpaper transformed the walls to complement the thirteen large framed color prints. This exhibition installation was very challenging, but it was so validating to be able to point to exactly where I contributed and to see just how much we could transform the space. I was very excited to be immediately learning new, practical art-handling skills that are essential to museum work. Over the semester, my internship proved more and more helpful and challenging in this aspect. 

Installing this exhibition encompassed only a fraction of the skills we honed this semester. My very first day my fellow interns and I were tasked with taking apart the last exhibition’s framed works and wrapping them to be packaged and sent back to their respective artists.  

The first few weeks of my internship were spent getting us familiar with the Silver Eye Lab. As a Studio Arts major, I was very interested in the fact that Silver Eye has its own space for practicing artists in partnership with the gallery. With the help of Lab Manager Sean Stewart, I learned how to print photographs on different media, develop film, edit film, create and assemble mattes and frames, and package artwork for shipping. Because the staff of the center includes only three people, it was not long before the other interns and I were trusted to complete these tasks independently.  

Now that the semester is coming to an end, I find myself thinking back on just how much I have learned. The guidance of my supervisor, Assistant Curator and Communications Coordinator Kate Kelley, has been invaluable in teaching us exhibition development, marketing strategies, and curatorial writing along with the skills we were taught by Sean Stewart in the lab. Because of the very small staff at Silver Eye, I felt very lucky to be able to foster wonderful relationships with the staff and other interns, as well as get real hands-on experience with everything that happens at a photo gallery behind the scenes. 

Categories: 
  • Academic Interns
  • Undergraduate Work
  • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh