Opening the Vaults: Acadia University Art Gallery: Working in an Art Gallery, A Student’s Perspective
By Alexandra Pulchny, Collections and Outreach Assistant, Acadia University Art Gallery
When I applied to work at the Acadia University Art Gallery in August of 2016, I was under the impression I knew a lot about art – I worked in a museum for two years, during which time I learned how to handle and document artifacts, I had several favourite internationally-known artists, and could tell the difference between oil, watercolor, acrylic, and pencil works. When I started my job in September, however, I realized there was much more to running a gallery.
Working in galleries and museums is extremely interesting and exciting when you get to work directly with art and artifacts, and for someone like myself who loves researching, this is a dream job. Working behind the scenes with the collection creates a strong appreciation for the works – it is one thing to view artwork on the walls in a gallery, but another to comb through numerous pieces, finding hidden treasures you never imagined would be in your hands. Working in this setting also allows for the development of a special relationship with artwork, as you learn about the mindset of the artist and the context in which the piece was produced.
An element of working in a gallery that I did not expect was how closely we are connected to, and work with, the rest of the buildings and departments on campus. Director and curator Dr. Laurie Dalton and I have spent many hours this summer hunting down and retrieving artwork from the construction zone that is currently the Huggins Science Hall, and spent some time exploring, handling, and loaning bird specimens from the Acadia University Wildlife Museum in the Biology building. These elements have not only built up my excitement for my job over the summer, but contributed to my understanding and appreciation of the art world.
There are many more aspects to working in an art gallery that make the job exciting, however, the relationship you build with works in the collection (including the works displayed around campus) is the one closest to home. The only downfall to working with the collection is you can’t take your favorite works home with you!
I hope to see many of you Grapevine readers at the gallery in the fall! To learn more about the Acadia University Art Gallery, check us out on social media!
Acadia University Art Gallery
Beveridge Arts Centre, Acadia University