Behind-the-Scenes: Interning at Belgravia Gallery
"I was a summer Intern at the Belgravia Gallery in 2014, and what a rewarding experience it was! As a History of Art and French student at the University of Bristol, the professional experience I gained at the gallery was invaluable.
A typical day interning at the gallery began at 10am when we would open the gallery doors to the public! Of course, cups of tea (and very often, biscuits) were required in order for us all to begin work effectively. When everyone was settled with a cuppa, the Gallerinas would begin their work. My job was to assist Laura, Anna and Lorraine in the day-to-day running of the gallery. One of the responsabilities I was given included managing the social media aspect of the gallery; updating the facebook page, promoting gallery events and other arts events which London had to offer. I would begin my mornings by updating the facebook page and attending to the gallery's website. This could include anything from uploading new works to the online collection to writing descriptions of works. During my internship, the gallery was in the midst of moving premises which involved lots of organisation, lifting and elbow grease! This was a unique experience, as I learned how to catalogue works of art and their certificates. The hands-on nature of the moving process also gave me a practical insight into the storage and handling of works of art.
In the afternoon, I would pop off to get some lunch and avail of all the lovely places that Mayfair had to offer. Green Park being a stones throw away from the gallery, I made the most of my lunch breaks there enjoying the sunshine.
After lunch, clients and art-lovers alike would come in and visit the gallery. As Belgravia Gallery has very strong ties with Nelson Mandela, I was fortunate enough to be able to discuss his work with the visitors, which was something I particularly enjoyed. Another thing I found exciting was delivering the works to clients (by foot and taxi)! One of the great things about interning in an intimate gallery is the personal relationship the gallery has with its clients, which I found to be wonderful. The people that came through the gallery's doors were one of the most interesting part of the experience, and I met lots of colourful characters there!
My favourite moment at the gallery was the private exhibition opening of Jürgen Schadeberg's photographs of Mandela. I assisted the gallery by helping ensure the overall smooth-running of the event and was able to meet not only important figures in London's art scene, but also Mr Schadeberg himself. Mr Schadeberg and his photographs are iconic, and meeting him was a once in a lifetime experience. I even got a signed book of his photographs!
I was sad to leave the gallery at the end of my internship, but I can say that it was a enriching experience both personally and professionally. The girls at the gallery made me feel instantly at ease. They were patient, kind and very accomodating. My time at Belgravia Gallery was an extremely valuable glimpse into the art world and the workings of an independent gallery. I cannot recommend the experience enough to anyone thinking of working in the arts."