Matthew McKinney ’22 — This summer I had the privilege of working as a collections intern at the South Bend Museum of Art in South Bend, IN. I want to start by thanking Roland Morin and Dr. Elizabeth Morton for their assistance throughout my internship search. I also want to thank the Dill Fund for providing funding for the incredible opportunity. It is through the support of Wabash Career Services and the Dill Family that I, and many other students, can gain quality workplace experiences.
To promote diversity and inclusion, the Museum is in the process of reformatting its labels. As part of the reformatting process, the museum plans to add a portrait of the artist to the label accompanying their work. The Museum’s goal for reformatting the labels is to give museum guests, especially younger guests, a better idea of who the artist is. By providing an image the museum hopes to foster a deeper connection and understanding between the artist, the art, and guests. My main task for the summer is to contact artists, whether directly or through a gallery or estate, and request an image of the artist for the Museum’s use. Throughout this process, I gained valuable knowledge about the inner workings of the relationship between museums and artists and of copyright law.
In addition to my work with the museum’s permanent collection, I also had opportunities to work directly with artists and assist in preparing the museum’s 31st Biennial Exhibition. Although I have previous experience preparing shows, this was my first exhibition in a museum, and it was quite exciting. Not only did I prep the gallery space and hang works, but I worked directly with artist Mandy Cano Villalobos to add the finishing touches to her found objects sculpture. As an art major, interested in pursuing a career in curatorial work, this experience was invaluable. Not only did this opportunity solidify my knowledge of art history, but it also strengthened my skills as a curator. This experience would not have been possible were it not for the assistance of the Wabash community and the great people at the South Bend Museum of Art. I am incredibly grateful for their support, and I look forward to bringing what I have learned back to Wabash.