GUNNISON, Colo. – On August 18, 2016 the Master in Gallery Management and Exhibits Specialization (MGES) will hold the first class in the newly renovated Quigley Hall. The $25.8 million renovation gives the new students an opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art, professional gallery space. The first professional exhibit to be displayed by the Masters students will feature the sculptures of Western Department of Art alumna Bryson Darnel, and antique Japanese prints in the collection of Western Foundation benefactor, Ethel Rice.
Developing the MGES Program has been a four-year process, led by Art Department Chair and Professor, Dr. Heather Orr. Shortly after accepting the Chair position in 2012, Orr began a conversation within the department to offer a masters program. With significant research assistance from former student, Natalie Kuenzi, and Art Department Gallery Director, Thaddeus Smith, the program has come to fruition.
“The idea is to take their training to the next level of professionalism,” said Orr. “We wanted to create a very flexible program that would allow those who are already out there in the work world, or who already have commitments, to be able to get a professional masters and go on to professional positions in that sector, without putting their lives on hold.”
Western’s Master in Gallery Management & Exhibits Specialization offers a flexible, yet rigorous curriculum of study for students who wish to enter into or currently work in the expanding professional world of art gallery management and exhibits specialization. The program integrates students’ previous, related academic studies and their interests in the business of the art world, to prepare highly employable, broadly and experientially trained art gallery and art museum professionals.
Students who graduate with a Master in Gallery & Exhibits Specialization are prepared for such positions as gallery manager or director, arts administrator, art sales or marketing associate, exhibits specialist or preparator, curatorial assistant, program and collections planner, and outreach coordinator. Skills acquired in this program also translate to jobs in many other areas of the art world or small-business management.
The purposefully small inaugural incoming class will have the opportunity to work intensively hands-on with renowned faculty and staff such as famous Canadian art historian, Kerry Mason, and Certified Appraiser of Impressionist and Modern Art, Dr. Jeffrey Taylor. The students hail from across the United States and will travel to Gunnison for a two-week practicum, which will be spent partially at the AR Mitchell Museum of Western art in Trinidad, Colo., and will conclude in Quigley’s brand-new professional gallery on August 19, 2016.