In her internship with Bale Creek Allen Gallery, Brooke Johnson, completing a BDP in Museum Studies, deepened her understanding of the roles of curator and artist. In addition to coordinating art shows, social media and PR for the gallery, Brooke also developed an independent project reflecting on the artist-as-curator in museum spaces.
How did you find your internship?
I found my internship through volunteering at art events in the city of Austin. The owner of the gallery where I interned actually recognized me as a volunteer at a previous event while I was volunteering at the East Austin Studio Tours.
Describe the work you did in your internship.
While working as an intern at Bale Creek Allen Gallery, I helped Bale coordinate multiple art show openings in his gallery, helped install and de-install artwork, discussed the artwork within the gallery with visitors and guest artists, and helped with public relations at events.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?
The most rewarding aspect of my Connecting Experience was how well my coursework this semester has tied into my BDP experiences. I took an anthropology course titled “Cultural Heritage on Display” that really helped shape the way I view curating and museum management. The coursework and Connecting Experiences that I have completed through my BDP Museum Studies Certificate have informed my studies within Art History, and have even influenced the artwork I create in my studio art classes.
In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
This internship has helped reshape my preconceived ideas about curators and artists. Before, I was struggling to decide what I would rather pursue in life: a career as a curator or a career as an artist. I was able to work with my internship supervisor and experience how he handles these two roles, while also working on my own personal project as part of my Connecting Experience to help shape the way I pursue curating and art making. Towards the end of my internship and Museum Studies coursework, I realized that curators and artists do not have to act separately from one another. In fact, these two roles can actually inform one another and improve the way I approach both.
Discuss the relationship you had with your faculty mentor and how they helped you during this Connecting Experience.
I have taken two classes taught by my faculty mentor, William Schweigert, so I have been able to get to know him fairly well. I value his opinions and perspective on art, which is why asked him to be my faculty mentor. When an important exhibition proposal I had submitted was not selected, he was able to help me overcome my disappointment. Instead of abandoning my project, I was able to channel my negativity into productivity by planning ways that I can continue to push my ideas forward.