As part of my MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies course I had the chance to participate in a work placement. For my work placement I was given the opportunity to work at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale. The art centre is made up of a theatre, art galleries, studios and workspaces; it holds events such as classes, plays, exhibitions, and more for people of all ages. Though there were many different opportunities available, the main focus of my placement was the Waterside Open Exhibition 2014. The Open Exhibition is a biannual juried art show. Artists eighteen years old and older from all across the United Kingdom were encouraged to submit art made within the last five years. All work that was submitted was brought into the arts centre and would then be judge by three selectors, chosen work would then be put on display in the various galleries throughout the art centre. Prize winners also receive a chance to have a group exhibition the following year.

Lead up to the actual submission of work entailed researching artists’ studios and art institutes to add to a mailing list for flyers to advertising the exhibition opportunity. There was also use of Facebook and Twitter to help spread news of the upcoming exhibition. When it was time for artwork submission I was able to help organize and carry out the drop out process. This including helping artists, handling artwork, working with gallery technicians, and making sure everything stayed organized and ran smoothly. After three days of art drop off there were over 400 hundred pieces by more than 150 artists. The work ranged from paints, metal work, jewellery, ceramic and more. At this point three selectors, all with art curating backgrounds, came to look at the work. Over two days I was able to help show the artwork to the judges and observe the jurying process. When jurying was done there were about 200 pieces of work that had been selected to go in the show. At that point I helped with the placement and hanging of the show, I was also put in charge of creating labels for every piece. The job of setting and hanging the show took a week and though it was a lot of work it was also a lot of fun. At the end of the week the Opening Reception was held where I was able to talk with many of the artists and other people with in the art field.

Though I have completed my allotted days at my placement I will be going back to help take down the show and to work the art pick up days. Overall I really enjoyed my placement and learned a lot about the behind the scenes of setting up and running a juried art exhibition.

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