To complete my degree program at the University of North Florida for my degree in Communications with a concentration in Advertising I spent 210 hours working at Southlight Gallery as their intern. As the intern I was the gallery representative on a daily basis. During my time there my main responsibilities were to promote the gallery, artists and shows, as well as serve as the secretary and gallery assistant.
Social media was a large part of our advertising because of its free nature and easy reach to many like minded people. With a small budget for marketing I had to see every project through start to finish. In the event of a new show, I designed, printed and walked downtown with promotional material to hang at local restaurants, business centers, and MOCA. I developed relationships with many businesses downtown and was able to use their spaces for free which was important for our limited budget.
I worked on two long term projects while working at the gallery. The first was to develop what I called "ambassador cards". They were small 4" x 6" prints of each artist's work in the gallery with their respective name and website or email. These were to be sold for a nominal cost or handed out to patrons that seemed to be right at the selling point but would say they would leave and think about it. The cards served as a reminder of the artists and the gallery itself. They were small enough to put up in a nook at home or near a work desk. The idea is that looking everyday at a small print from an artist here would be what they needed to nudge them to buy a larger piece. The package would represent the 20 collaborative artists at Southlight Gallery and have one card with the mission statement of the gallery on it.
The second long-term project I worked on was the art-loan program. This program was aimed to loan our artists work to local businesses to hang up to liven their work environment. At a small cost of price of buying the work the business could lease the work with no commitment to buy. Then, at the end of a loan term, the work could be returned and a new piece could go up in its place. This lets a business have fine art rotating in their building at a relatively low cost. Most of the time with this project was spent developing and editing a contract that would suit this plan while covering our risk of the work being damaged while not in our hands but also not be worded without being too intimidating to where the business refuses.
Working at the gallery was important to me because it benefited both of my degrees. The degree that required this internship was the advertising degree. This is what the internship was aimed at. However, I am also graduating with a Bachelor in the Fine Arts with a concentration in Ceramics. Choosing an art gallery was intentional because I wanted my experience and connections to benefit my pursuit in the arts. The internship has been an insightful and very educational. I learned how to market a project with a very minimal budget which will serve to be very important to be as I strive to be an artist in the future. It also taught me how galleries work which will be important as I will need gallery representation in the future.
I am appreciative of everyone I have met while working at the gallery from the patrons as well as the artists I got to work first hand with. I would like to say a special thank you to Michael Dunlap and Rhonda Steinke-McDonald who both work as directors of the gallery and Tom Schifanella who serves as a collaborative artist in the gallery as well as my adviser for my internship.