Gallery Assistant Paints a Bright Future in the Arts
Opportunities such as these have come her way as the result of an annual grant awarded to Cox by the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences Division of Performing and Visual Arts. Merit-based grants are awarded each year to outstanding students in the division’s academic degree programs. As a grant applicant and art major, Cox prepared a current portfolio for faculty review, presented an artist statement, and answered questions evaluating her knowledge, said Barbara Ryan, M.F.A., assistant professor at the college.
“The grant has opened doors for me,” said Cox, who is the first student from the division to secure a work-study position at the Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, which is located downtown. She divides her time between her classes, the museum, and working as an assistant at Gallery 217 in NSU’s Performing and Visual Arts Wing of the Don Taft University Center. The gallery features exhibitions by contemporary artists, students, and visual arts faculty members.
“One of my grant duties is working in the gallery. Working there is not just a duty; it’s a learning experience and an extra opportunity. You learn by doing. It’s real life. It’s not out of a book,” said Cox, who is co-founder and president of Art Sharks, a student club at NSU.
“Grace has served for the last two years as an assistant at Gallery 217 where she has worked with faculty as well as guest curators to install exhibitions and serve the gallery patrons,” Ryan said. “She has gained valuable installation experience. She assisted in the curation of the first national juried exhibition and the installation of last year’s student exhibition.
“When we invited Rosie Gordon-Wallace to be our first guest curator for the 10x10 National Exhibition in January 2010, it was Grace’s first installation experience,” Ryan said. “Grace immediately recognized the importance of the curation. When she talked about how she was changed by the experience and that putting together an exhibition was just as much of an art form as actually creating the work…I knew she had caught the curatorial bug.”
This fall, Cox began working part-time at the Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, where she offers assistance to visitors and helps design brochures and other projects.
“Working at the museum was my first opportunity to do something that will be viewed by the public. If it wasn’t for the college and the gallery position, how would I have had that chance? My experience at Gallery 217 helped me get the position at the museum. I was used to answering questions about artists and their work. The curator showed me how to hang and arrange the art. Working with the guest curator opened my eyes to how you can have a career in fine arts.”
Cox also has curated exhibitions on the walls of the Performing and Visual Arts Wing, and an exhibition of her own work at Stork’s Bakery near NSU’s main campus. Last year, she helped faculty members design the second annual Juried Student Art Exhibition.
This spring, Cox and other students will plan and operate Say What? the third annual Juried Student Art Exhibition, which opens April 4, 2011.
“This is the first time students have had this much control over the student show,” said Cox, whose own work during the past two years has won the Faculty Choice and Patrons’ Choice awards and an honorable mention in graphics design.
“Being at the college has given me the chance to work at a gallery and a museum and to start my own art club,” she said. “I have had so many opportunities.”