September 5, 2014

Student Curators

Museum studies practicum gives hands-on experience
Felicia Bolaske, left, and Shelby Miner were selected to produce “The Art of Collecting: Contemporary Prints from the Risa Gerrig Collection,” on display at the University Museum of Contemporary Art September 11 to December 7.

In a new museum studies practicum, art history majors Felicia Bolaske ’14 and Shelby Miner ’15 were selected to produce The Art of Collecting: Contemporary Prints from the Risa Gerrig Collection that opens in September at the University Museum of Contemporary Art. “We are getting the opportunity to put our hands on every aspect of museum work,” says Bolaske.

They researched each piece in the collection, wrote the exhibition brochure and press releases, selected prints for the show, and conducted a myriad of other tasks. “There is a lot of responsibility and learning,” says Miner. “We are essentially curators.” Miner says the experience at the museum will help guide her plans for the future. Bolaske notes that museum jobs are hard to acquire and their experience should give them a competitive advantage.

The Gerrig family donated 46 prints by a variety of contemporary American artists to memorialize Risa Gerrig ’81 who died last year. The works span the creative spectrum of art-making today, representing all manner of special processes and innovative techniques in printing. Some of them are: using linen and cotton pulp paint and photo-luminescent inks; black and white and colored lithography; creative integration of collage and cut paper; incorporation of photographic images into digital prints; and screen printing. Artists include Kiki Smith, Richard Artschwager, Polly Apfelbaum, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, and John Wesley and numerous emerging artists.

Bolaske and Miner started their internship in February under the leadership of Loretta Yarlow, museum director, who worked with art history faculty members to create the practicum and select students. “I am hoping that this practicum will help inspire a new generation of students wishing to pursue a career in museum works and other arts related fields,” says Yarlow.

The opening reception for the exhibition is September 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with the exhibition closing October 12.