The Importance of Gallery Internships

Agora Gallery’s stellar 2018 summer interns, Marisa Davila and Anna Merritt, reflect on and share their experiences working as part of the gallery staff.

2018 summer gallery intern
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Internships benefit both the intern and the gallery; in exchange for real-world professional experience, an intern contributes to the gallery’s myriad projects, installations, and marketing efforts. Whether one’s interest is more with art handling and installation, social media and writing, or sales and research, it’s a rewarding, mutually beneficial experience when the gallery can provide an opportunity in the area an intern is really passionate about.

Assistant Director and 2018 summer gallery interns
Assistant Director Anna Lustberg (left) with former gallery interns Anna Merritt and Marisa Davila

Agora Gallery’s stellar 2018 summer interns, Marisa Davila and Anna Merritt, reflect on and share their experiences working as part of the gallery staff.

Before you began your internship, what specific experience were you looking for?

Marisa: I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the current art market and how different aspects of the art world operated, specifically the gallery. I wanted to experience first-hand how the gallery conducts its affairs and how its role fits into the larger picture of the art world.
Anna: I was seeking an immersive, diverse, and informative experience within the visual arts field. As my background consists primarily of performance art, I was hoping to better understand how the two ends of this spectrum can exist in tandem — how a sort of universality exists within supporting artists across fields.

gallery intern Anna Merritt
Anna Merritt, pictured with artworks by Eileen Olimb.

What’s a valuable lesson you’ve learned from your internship?

Marisa: When you come across an issue, come up with a solution to present your boss, rather than just a problem. Even if it may not be the right solution, it exercises your abilities and presents a learning opportunity for how to handle situations in the future.
Anna: While all that I learned during my internship is undoubtedly useful, the most valuable lesson I learned at Agora is the importance of effective communication. Through working at the gallery and interacting with artists and visitors from all over, I grew far more confident in my speaking and writing abilities while simultaneously improving my problem-solving skills.

What was your favorite day at Agora Gallery?

Marisa: My favorite day was the installation of Life is But a Dream. The gallery was closed to the public and I was able to observe from behind the scenes the inner workings of a gallery. I hadn’t realized how many meticulous details there are when it comes to installation, so I gained invaluable insight on the processes. My favorite part was finally seeing the art in person that I had been working with for the past month. I felt a deeper connection with the pieces I had favored because I had viewed them online in a very informal manner before they were on the wall. It was one of the most intimate experiences I’ve had with art and I truly understood how much work goes into putting together an exhibition.
Anna: My favorite day at my Agora Gallery internship was my first Thursday night reception. While all reception days are inherently exciting, my first experience with such a night was especially memorable. Having the opportunity to meet and speak to our artists was rewarding for many different reasons — not only did I learn more about their work and backgrounds, but at this reception, it was immediately evident how much being a part of the Agora family of artists means to these individuals. And accompanying this — how special, cared for, and respected Agora makes these artists feel. As someone pursuing the arts, moments and interactions like these feel incredibly validating.

gallery Intern marisa Davila
Marisa Davila, pictured with artwork by Candelaria Palacios.

What’s your favorite style of artwork?

Marisa: My favorite style to learn about is Renaissance-Baroque art. I love the symbolism, emotion, and stories behind these works, and I am always in awe by the talent of the Old Masters. However, I also deeply enjoy contemporary/emergent art, especially those on view at art fairs or galleries. I like discovering the newest techniques and styles among artists today, especially those I have not encountered before. There is a certain level of imagination that goes along with this kind of art experience and I think it is important to go beyond your comfort zone in relation to viewing art.
Anna: I am a huge fan of any sort of mixed media collage work! I love the sort of absurdism that is implicit to collage. Juxtaposing images and materials that wouldn’t normally be placed or found together is incredibly satisfying to me — it is a form of alternate world building.

To be considered for an internship at Agora Gallery, submit your application with a cover letter that shares your interests on our website.

Any advice for interns seeking a gallery internship?

Marisa: I would keep my mind open to any and all opportunities. Even if you may be hesitant whether it will be a good fit, apply and find out what that gallery is truly about. I feel that the wider you cast your net in regards to applications, the more opportunities become available.
Anna: In advising anyone seeking a gallery internship, I would suggest doing lots of research and applying to a wide variety of galleries! While there is no way to fully know what you are getting yourself into, it is important to determine what kind of experience you are looking for— what type of internship do you want? Is there something specific within the gallery that interests you? Communicate your interests and ask as many questions as you possibly can!

This post is also available in: Spanish

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