My name is Celena Gilmore and I am a senior member of the BFA program with a minor in education. This summer I completed two internships in Los Angeles. I always love to challenge myself by entering new environments and putting myself in complex but ultimately rewarding situations. This summer was a prime example as I, a small town girl from rural Ohio, headed to Los Angeles, California to experience the west coast for the first time in my life.
With the help of Melanie Murphy and the resources of the Knowlton Center, I was able to find two amazing internship opportunities. One was with Jack Rutberg Fine Arts as a Gallery Intern. I had already obtained experience in art galleries, but I knew from experience that each gallery has new information to offer about their methods. What was amazing about this experience is that I was able to work alongside the entrepreneur himself. Jack guided me through their categorization system along with other staff. I was responsible for entering new works, keeping track of works that were being loaned out to other venues or exhibits, and sold works. When works were being sold or loaned, I was responsible for keeping track of all pieces that were being taken, and ensuring their safe arrival/return. My overall responsibility was to assist in all facets of gallery work.
The second internship I had was with one of the largest artist residency programs in California, 18th Street Arts Center. I was a Developments Intern, and to be honest, I was not entirely sure what this meant when I accepted the position. However, I wanted experience with nonprofit arts organizations. I was lucky to have such an amazing supervisor, Joy Kliewer. She is a freelance development director who was commissioned by 18th Street. She was always excited about showing me all that goes into making this organization function, especially in regards to making asks and applying for grants. My role was to help research donors and create profiles that will be used for making asks. Every donor was treated equally no matter the amount that they gave. For each donation, i was then responsible for creating thank you letters, distributing donor gifts and matching gifts, and keeping a steady and open correspondence with all contacts. I also contributed to the grant writing process by creating templates and beginning the process of the grant applications. I would research information about the organization, specific artists in residence, and upcoming projects in order to ensure that I was putting the most relevant information into the applications. No matter the project, Joy made sure that I was involved so that I would have the fullest and most holistic experience possible.
Through these internships, I have not only learned many diverse and highly applicable skills, but I have also made valuable and meaningful connections with individuals both in the gallery management and nonprofit fields.