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Building a Gallery Exhibit from the Ground Up


Michelle Woodward ’17 is not one to let things slide. The art history major started a methodical search for summer internships during the fall as she was studying in Siena, Italy, and her get-it-done attitude paid off with the position she wanted.

First, Woodward spent a week researching New York City art galleries that feature modern and contemporary art, complied a list of 10 to 15 of them and pumped out an individualized cover letter and a résumé to each.

Two galleries responded, one of which was her first choice, the Elizabeth Dee Gallery. A Skype interview clinched it: She would work in the gallery, fairly recently relocated to Harlem and still under construction.

Woodward took the job. And loved it. It was unpaid, but she received financial support from the Kevin W. Kennedy ’70 Internship for the Arts, managed through Hamilton’s Career and Life Outcomes Center. That gave her the chance to experience the business side of the international contemporary art world.

about michelle woodward '17

Major: Art History

Hometown: Doral, Fla.

see more student internship stories

The well-established gallery that relocated from Chelsea was putting together a show for a grand opening, making for an exciting atmosphere.

“It was really cool, like being behind the scenes of something. It’s kind of like seeing an indie band before it gets big. I think they’re on the verge of something incredible,” Woodward says.

As the only intern she handled different, multiple tasks just about every day and rubbed elbows with the gallery owner, soaking up her coworkers’ expertise. One of her projects was to help create a 1980s themed show so she researched artists and works of the era. Pretty much the entire staff  focused on the effort.

“It was really fun, and everything was like all-hands-on-deck because we were working in a makeshift office in the back of all this construction,” Woodward says.

The internship has helped cement her conviction that she’s picked the right major. Woodward is thinking about a career in a gallery or an art auction house. “I feel very confident,” she says.

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