Bringing an Exhibition to Life at the Pittsburgh Glass Center

Simone in front of the introductory wall text at Pittsburgh Glass Center’s Cuando El Río Suena exhibition (photo: Dana Laskowski).


Bringing an Exhibition to Life at the Pittsburgh Glass Center

Museum Studies Intern at the Pittsburgh Glass Center – Fall 2019

During my internship at Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC), I was lucky to work on many different projects, from writing press releases to interviewing artists. However, my experience with the Cuando El Río Suena exhibition left the greatest impression on me. Cuando El Río Suena is an immersive show of glass sculptures created by artist Jaime Guerrero that seeks to make the experiences and feelings of immigrants—especially children—crossing the southern US border tangible. I was involved in all aspects of its production, from research and promotion to writing and installing wall text in the gallery. This provided practical experience with the actualities of running an exhibition beyond what can be learned in the classroom and reinforced my interest in curating.

To me, the most significant part of my work on the exhibition was the text that I wrote for the walls. My supervisor, Marketing Director Paige Ilkhanipour, told me that this is something that would normally be handled by a curator, but trusted parts of it to me. In writing these texts, tried to combine statistical information about the harsh realities of separation, detainment, and even death near the border that I found through research with the broader emotional narrative Guerrero sought to present in his work. In addition to the wall and label text, quotes and statistics pulled from sources I found are also presented throughout the exhibition. Learning how to merge these facts with the more emotionally provocative elements on display and assisting in the installation of the show made clear to me how curators can create additional layers of depth in an exhibition through the arrangement of works and the textual explanations that surround them.

Getting Cuando El Río Suena ready was hard work, but the payoff came on opening night when hundreds of visitors viewed the show. People were visibly engaged with the exhibition, taking photos of the sculptures, examining the wall of letters, and reading the wall labels. I felt honored to have been able to contribute to a show that addresses pressing political issues so powerfully. My time as an intern with PGC was invaluable and I am very thankful to everyone for the trust they placed in me and the extent to which they involved me in the show.

  • Academic Interns
  • Undergraduate Work
  • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh