Fall 2011: Intern Skylar Smith on working for the OSU Museum of Art

Last semester we had three interns working with the OSUMA: Caitlin Smith, Christina Naruszewicz, and today’s author, Skylar Smith. Skylar, a junior majoring in Liberal Studies, is about to spend a semester abroad in Leicester, England. Last summer she was an intern at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and this fall she worked on a curatorial project for the OSUMA. In today’s post, she shares some thoughts about that experience.

“There’s no substitute for experience” – Proverbs

Experience is what I was looking for in my internship, and experience was what I have gained and will continue to accrue. My internship was focused on proposing ideas for an exhibition featuring the printed works created at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE). ULAE was created in the 1950s by Tatyana Grosman, and has since become a world-renowned print studio. I have been very fortunate to get the chance to work with Dr. Louise Siddons on this project.

Fall 2011 intern Skylar Smith, hard at work in the Visual Resources Library.

Not only have I learned about the unique history of ULAE and the beautiful art created there, but I have been able to build an art show from scratch. This was actually much more challenging than I anticipated. I have certainly taken the organization and flow of gallery and museum exhibitions for granted. I wrongly assumed collections would have an overt and over-arching theme particular to the collector or studio. The works of ULAE are all prints, but that is about all these works have in common at first glance. Coming up with coherent ideas accentuating the work, the artist, and the studio itself while including an adequate amount art work to reflect a chosen theme was a difficult endeavor. But once I started, it was hard to stop. Each new proposal brought new questions and new artists to the forefront. Soon, narrowing the ideas back down became the difficult task. It has been a fascinating process.

One of the most exciting things about this venture is the possibility that I will be able to follow it through to completion. Walking through each step of the exhibition process will give me an excellent opportunity to see if this is a career path I am interested in following. I cannot wait to see the ideas I started with this past August come to fruition next September!

Skylar developed five exhibition proposals during her internship, one of which we hope to be able to bring to the Gardiner Art Gallery in Fall 2012.

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About osucurator

Louise Siddons is Associate Professor of Art History at Oklahoma State University and founding curator of the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art. She maintains this blog as a record of her students' work with the Museum's permanent collection as well as more generally with topics related to museum studies.
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