Learning at the University Museum of Contemporary Art
As an intern at the University Museum of Contemporary Art (formerly the University Gallery), Stephanie Coy â€™12 now knows firsthand how a gallery operates, from storing art properly to hanging art for exhibitions.
â€śIâ€™ve developed good skills by working with the collection and learning about the history of a museum,â€ť says Coy, a studio art major. â€śIâ€™ve been thinking about art conservation or working in a museum after graduation, which is I why I picked the gallery for an internship. I wanted to work with fine arts material,â€ť she explains.
During the internship, she helped create a database of the works of art in exhibitions since the museum opened 35 years ago. She turned the paper files into digital ones. Another aspect of her job was promoting â€śJust a Rumor,â€ť the three-story acrylic painting by Anna Schuleit on the rear wall of the Fine Arts Center. â€śI liked working with Anna because it was creating new artwork.â€ť
Coy also was instrumental in preparing the gallery for construction by putting artwork into storage. The museum was closed in the summer and fall for upgrading heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and other renovations. A redesigned storage/study room was created so faculty and students can better view items from the permanent collection. All major movements within contemporary art are represented in the 2,700 works on paperâ€”drawings, photographs, and prints dating from the 1960s to the present day.
The renovations will make the works in storage more accessible, which in turn will allow classes to view more works on paper that arenâ€™t displayed on the walls. â€śMy job is to go through the collection and to pick out the pieces that would fit well with requests from faculty for classes. Then I could just pull them right out of the storage area so they can get an idea of what actually is a good piece of artwork.â€ť
The museum as an extension of classroom learning is available to all students. The uncommon workspace further serves as a place for respite. Even when Coy isnâ€™t working at the museum, she visits. â€śItâ€™s a nice break from the day,â€ť she explains. â€śItâ€™s like getting off campus mentally.â€ť