Shelbie was an intern in SITE’s Education and Outreach department in the fall of 2013. Here is her reflection of her experience.
I am a senior at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, which means I am no stranger to SITE Santa Fe and its ever-changing exhibits and talent pulled from different parts of the world. As I wandered around the Art Department in previous years with charcoal smeared across my face and plaster littering my clothes, professors were making plans to take their classes to the newest exhibit at Site Santa Fe to talk to the artists or to get a formal tour by the Site Guides. The buzz was always going on about SITE when I walked from one classroom to the next, so much so that if I, as a straggling student, wanted to attend with another class I was more than welcome to jump on the bandwagon to destination SITE Santa Fe.
Upon arriving at the contemporary art space, we were greeted by a SITE Guide and a person working the front desk. We watched different people walking around in fashionable clothes on their beelines to do official business. This exemplifies contemporary art reflected by their staff and their interns. The professionalism and manner matched the crisp contemporary walls and clean lines. Because of that, I was aware that this was where art came to be presented as refined images. I believe that one time I made the mistake in coming straight from my studio on a last minute trip to see the new Amy Cutler exhibit. In comparison to the beautifully executed drawings and pristine curation of Amy Cutler’s illustrations, I was definitely lacking in presentation as if I was part of the exhibit that just did not create harmonious visual music. It not only made me aware of myself, but I fell in love with the whimsical clever artworks, the interest in knowing more about effective contemporary artists and their relations with the institutions in which they come in contact. I began to expand my awareness of the systems of a museum, and as I did that I, also became desperate to find out more. It was important for me as an artist to know every fiber of the areas I was planning on going, or planning on doing business with. I craved more information and experience.
At the beginning of the fall semester of my senior year, I was accepted by SITE Santa Fe to work as their intern in the Education and Outreach program. If I wanted information, boy, did I get it. I do informative research about the upcoming exhibits for the New Year and lend insight to building the bridges between Site Santa Fe and the rest of the world. I worked as a Site Guide in the Enrique Martinez Celaya exhibit and worked in SPREAD— a charity event that gives selected artists the opportunity to make their community-geared art projects into a reality. Also, I had the opportunity to work with the Young Curators Association that brings in excited High School Students interested in curating art exhibits and learning more about contemporary art, just like me. I found it to be great to work and have conversations with these young minds and to get them working and geared towards a new generation of thought towards the Contemporary Arts. I related to them and felt like I was talking to myself in the form of a sixteen-year-old high school student.
Another aspect about SITE’s intern program is that they allowed the intern to meet and engage with the staff members to learn their history and what they do within this tightly working non-profit organization. Because of that, my work has taken on a new direction and changed the way I connect with other people. I have started my own outreach student organization within SFUAD that promotes the artists and their engagement with the community.
In these short months, I have grown and obtained so much from this internship. The experiences have all been so fulfilling and it all connects with what I am interested in within my own life. I am excited to continue with my internship and definitely welcome any new experiences for the remainder of the semester.