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A spotlight on our internship course ‘Art Business Foundations and Placement’.

In Fall 2015 Sotheby’s Institute of Art - London welcomed the first intake of US undergraduates on the new 15-week Semester course ‘Art Business Foundations and Placement’. We spoke to several of the students about their experience on the program and working in the London art world.

Nathan Pestana

Undergraduate College: UC Berkeley
Placement: Golden Squared

As an art practice major, I realized I had no real concept of how the art market actually functioned. I knew I wanted to study abroad to take advantage of all the amazing experiences that living in a different country can deliver and my time at Sotheby’s Institute has provided that, along with an amazing in-class learning experience as well. As part of the course I am working at Golden Squared, which is a marketing and consulting agency for different galleries, art fairs, and museums. I have been gathering data for our clients that will demonstrate the amount of coverage we have accrued for them, and being able to quantify that within a monetary value. This includes finding all coverage in print and online publications, documenting the articles and finding out the circulation numbers. I believe the biggest benefit of this course has been the total immersion in the art market. I am able to put what I am learning in the classroom into practice in a real working environment. Through this course I have felt a great sense of confidence that I will be ready to pursue a career in the art world when I finish my education.

Kirby Feagan

Undergraduate University: UCLA
Placement: ContiniArtUK

What really drew me to the ‘Art Business Foundations and Placement’ program was the opportunity to learn about the art market - a challenging and specific topic that isn’t widely offered in colleges including my own, and the chance to undertake a placement in the London art world. I would spend two days a week working in an art business-related internship, meaning I could learn about the art market first-hand. The program has exceeded my expectations. My internship at ContiniArtUK, a contemporary art gallery, allows me to engage the skills I’ve learned in class and apply them to real-life situations. Each day offers new challenges, from organizing events in the gallery to writing press releases to applying for major art fairs. This semester program stretches the idea of study abroad beyond what I imagined it would be. It is my first experience in London and my first time writing, networking and researching in the art world. It is just the beginning of my career in the art-world which will continue to grow from the moment I step on a plane to return to the US.

Sotheby’s Institute of Art is the only place in the world that offers this kind of curriculum- it would take years to accumulate the same experience in the market that Sotheby’s Institute offers through its internship program.
                                                                                                                       – Geoff Witmer

Geoff Witmer

Undergraduate College: UC Santa Barbara
Placement: art:i:curate

I knew that I wanted to do an internship for my senior year at UC Santa Barbara. Enter Sotheby’s Institute of Art- I was notified by email a couple of weeks before the application was due through the Education Abroad Program office at UCSB that Sotheby’s Institute was offering an internship program along with their art business foundations course. I applied for it almost immediately because it offered me the chance to learn about art business, while applying everything I had learned in a real world context. The company that I’m working for as part of the internship is called art:i:curate. They are a small startup company based in London with an innovative online art exhibition and crowdfunding platform. The platform allows users to pledge money to their favourite artworks and artists (what we call co-production) in return for a share of the profit when the work they’ve supported sells. At the company, I’m in charge of content production for the blog on the website, as well as the weekly newsletter that is sent out to users of the website and keeping the social media profiles for the company updated. So far, my experience at Sotheby’s Institute and with art:i:curate has been incredible. Not only has it given me exclusive information about the art world in general, but it has also given me practical experience with an actual business that is operating in one of the most active international art markets. Sotheby’s Institute of Art is the only place in the world that offers this kind of curriculum- it would take years to accumulate the same experience in the market that Sotheby’s Institute offers through its internship program.

Anqi Xu

Undergraduate College: UCLA
Placement: Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art

London, being one of the birthplaces of art fairs and museums, has one of the most vibrant and dynamic art markets. Through the Sotheby’s Institute ‘Art Business Foundations and Placement’ semester course, I have gained insight into the mechanism of London art world. As part of the course I have been interning at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, a not-for-profit art institution promoting international artists to London’s public. I have been working on the North-east End Gallery Trail project. The objective of this gallery trail is to attract a wider range of people into both not-for-profit art spaces and commercial galleries that feature contemporary art, within the local district of East London. Besides the benefit of public exposure, this event is a great opportunity for the galleries to establish new networks with art lovers, educators, art students, and potential collectors who are not familiar with the East End. The art business lectures facilitate my understanding of the London art market, including art fairs, auctions, art legislation and marketing, most of which I drew from my placement experience. Through the juxtaposition of art business learning in the classroom with hands-on experience during my placement, I believe this believe this placement program has built up my confidence in professional art world, and has enabled me to be prepared for challenges in my future career.

Noor Euceph

Undergraduate College: UCLA
Placement: ArtLyst

I chose the ‘Art Business Foundations and Placement’ course at Sotheby’s Institute because I wanted a program in London that best supplemented by degree at UCLA (Design | Media Arts major, Film minor). This program seemed like the perfect fit because it focused on the practical business side of the art world, and in turn allowed me to explore more career avenues. I was initially working with ArtLyst and now I am working for the startup that has separated from ArtLyst. Currently, I am helping with market research to allow the startup to release an app. This placement has also really increased my knowledge of the art world, specifically various art news companies, which is very helpful for my own career and for the course at Sotheby’s Institute. Being a part of a small team and a startup is inspiring. I plan on starting my own art business after graduating from UCLA, and this internship has shown me that through a vision, hard work, and a good team of dedicated people, anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

Jordana Attias

Undergraduate College: UCLA
Placement: Lazaraides Gallery

I chose the 'Art Business Foundations and Placement Course' because I thought it would be an interesting contrast to my design media arts major at UCLA. I really wanted the opportunity to be able to learn about art business as well as be able to apply my skills and new knowledge in a real world situation. I have spent my time interning at Lazaraides Gallery and have been given the opportunity to help design marketing and advertisement pieces for the Gallery. I was able to get hands on experience setting up a new artists exhibition as well as see all the different aspects that go into the daily works of a gallery. I feel I have definitely benefited from the placement program by being able to get hands-on experience and knowledge of a working gallery. I also think that I have gained many useful skills that I will be able to utilize in my future jobs.

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