Tuesday, October 29, 2013

September 30th & 31st - It begins

I started my official ceramics internship by doing my favorite thing: paper work for the Education Department! Counting names and attendance for grant writing, sorting contracts, all that good stuff. Thankfully I got at least a soft start in the ceramics studios.

This week, in addition to some light organization of some supplies, I did some much needed organization of the kiln stilts. Those little white stickers are labeled  1/2 to 12 (corresponding to their height in inches). No more throwing them wherever; they've got designated areas now.

Jeff suggested I label them with some underglaze. Naturally, the numbers are almost as big as the stilts themselves. At least no one will miss them.

Organization is crucial in a ceramics studio - especially to one that is used by a multitude of people (and especially one that is seen by a multitude of people)

One area down, several more to go.

My Job Description, and a story I'm sure everyone is dying to hear

For the past three years I have tried to develop a concise description of my job here at the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. It's an unusual arrangement, but so far it has worked well for me (and I think pretty well for the museum). This is my lengthy story of how I kept coming back to work at the only contemporary art museum for miles that happens to be in a 118 year old building.

After I graduated from high school in 2011, I needed a job pretty badly. Having no prior work experience (school is my job, yadda yadda) it was difficult to find a place that would hire me, especially since I wanted to work someplace downtown (closed for Sunday, thus no conflict with church) and avoided food services (because I was a snob; still am). Towards the end of the summer, a coworker of my mother's had told her that the new education director at The Square was looking for a volunteer assistant. I figured why not keep myself busy while looking for work? If I was lucky, they'd need another receptionist, and I'd be there.

image credit: probably Aaron Kueffler

I worked with Suzanne, the education director at the time, for about three months. I mostly did organizational work, wrote blurbs for the media (the media of Great Falls, MT) and emails, worked with some youths in a workshop, and designed a really terrible education brochure.

Suzanne resigned, and I left due to some resulting tensions that were developing at the museum at the time.

I got a job at Herberger's (think Macy's) as a shoe salesperson just in time for the holiday season.

Two semesters at  BYU-I later, Herberger's refused to call back, and I decided to give The Square a call to see if the education director needed some help.

Turns out, the answer was absolutely yes. I started back at The Square organizing (purging is a more accurate word) materials in the education supply room, teaching open studio preschool art, and harassing my way into a position at the reception desk. With the funds from part-time wages at the front desk and payment for teaching preschool open studio, I could afford to eat for my next two semesters.

Halfway through my second semester, I expressed interest in doing an official internship at the museum. I was interested in learning more about ceramics and clay. Jeff, my boss, said absolutely, and we quickly (actually pretty slowly) moved forward once I returned from Idaho.

So this year we narrowed down a specific schedule to work at the Front Desk and in the Education Department with a special emphasis in learning the ins and outs of the ceramics department. I'm also teaching preschool open studio again, which has been great.

TL;DR: I work full time and only have a part time job, but this time I'm getting an internship credit.