Everyone wants to be an artist—or so it is sometimes said. There’s an undeniable allure in choosing a path that encourages the free pursuit of creative expression.
Behind the success of nearly every artist, however, are those who make it possible—from the galleries who spread the word about their work, to public organizations like the Town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA), who advance the overall cause through venues, events, and initiatives that create opportunities for artists.
For young people interested in a career in the arts—whether as a creator of art or immersed in the world that supports them—a hands-on internship is a way to gain a perspective on career options, and make connections in the art world.
“I was really interested in photography, so I decided to learn more about the arts,” said Hayden Van Loan, a junior at Summit High School who was the first to participate in a new internship program from Breckenridge Creative Arts, spearheaded by the organization’s new director of learning and innovation, Becca Spiro.
Hayden splits her time between BCA and the local gallery Art on a Whim, where she spends2.5 hours, two days a week, after school for asemester. “The goal is to expose her to both the commercial side of the art business, as well as mission-based, nonprofit arts management,” said Robb Woulfe, BCA’s president.
The internship satisfies part of Hayden’s requirements for her one-credit internship class at Summit High School, taught by Tom Lutke. At BCA, she helps install shows, welcomes guests to Old Masonic Hall, and researches arts programs in other towns. She manned the photo booth at Día de los Muertos, and even attended a Town Council meeting. At Art on a Whim, she shadows owner Brian Raitman on all aspects of what it takes to run a gallery. Then at the end of the program, she will give a culminating presentation to her class.
“Whatever I’m working on, she’s working on,” said Raitman, who describes Art on a Whim— soon to be renamed The Raitman Gallery— as “the most contemporary gallery in Breckenridge.”
“We are not your traditional gallery,” he said. “I think Hayden enjoys that. It does speak to the younger generation.” Hayden has studied the gallery’s best-selling artist, Chris Lundy. She writes letters and emails to clients, and helps move art around. In turn, Raitman gets an excellent short-term employee, and the rewarding experience “to foster the professional growth of someone in our community.”
Looking forward, Spiro hopes to invite more galleries to participate in the internship program, and to add college and professional development credit opportunities for older students and professionals alike.
“When we interviewed her, her big thing was to figure out how artists get accepted into galleries, so it was cool for her to see how we deal with our artists, and how and why we select certain work,” Raitman said. “It’s really neat for her to see, literally and hands-on, how a gallery operates. For someone who wants to get into the art industry, this is invaluable.”
BCA teaching and learning // breckcreate.org > learn
Photos: Liam Doran