We've all heard the horror stories: Wet-behind-the-ears interns who are in way over their heads, or -- potentially worse -- are overqualified and reduced to fetching coffee. While there is truth to these legends, most intern and volunteer experiences in the arts, while demanding, can be tremendously rewarding. It's time to thank this earnest army. Interns and volunteers form a substantial part of the workforce in the arts, both in the Bay Area and across the country. Because relatively few arts organizations (both nonprofits and commercial spaces) have large budgets, this contingent is more than helpful - they're essential part of the art community.
So, who are they? This photo essay turns the lens on the young folks working behind the scenes and under the radar in San Francisco arts spaces. They are working the front desk, staffing galleries, handling phones, responding to viewer questions, arranging libraries, curating and installing shows, and much more.
In addition to gaining practical experience, interns and volunteers get a foot in the door in a competitive art-world job market (which is not to say that anyone in their right mind pursues a career in art for the money; they do it for love). It is not unusual for an art student to accrue half a dozen internships on his or her resume by graduation. The interns and volunteers pictured here work at various galleries and art spaces across the city: Pier 24, Triple Base Gallery, Southern Exposure, Adobe Books Back Room Gallery, and Silverman Gallery. Together they form a picture of the up-and-comers in the arts, putting in their time, and learning from the best.
Emily Heller manages the front desk at Pier 24.
Stephanie Halmos watches the Walker Evans galleries at Pier 24.
Sofia Cordova unloads books at Pier 24 Library.
Brandon Holmes helps paint and patch the gallery walls at Triple Base.
Holmes installs and Alexander Kori Girard painting at Triple Base.
Jesse Brown enters artist submissions at Southern Exposure.
Brown looks over artist materials at Southern Exposure.
Parker Tilghman oversees Deva Graf's piece, "Good Morning,": at the Silverman Gallery.
Tilghman in the Silverman Gallery office.
Volunteer Adobe Books Backroom Gallery Volunteer Director and Curator Katie Hood Morgan speaks with a gallery-goer.
Morgan maintains the exhibition at the Adobe Books Backroom Gallery's exhibition, "stackedmultiplied."
All photos: Carmen Winant.