A University of Arkansas at Little Rock student is spending the summer gaining valuable professional experience by interning at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff.
Catherine McGibbony, who will graduate in December with a Master of Art degree with a concentration in art history, is spending days handling fine art, caring for the art collections, researching, event planning, and organizing an exhibit.
The Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas was founded in 1968 and offers programming in the visual arts, performing arts, and the sciences through exhibits, education, performances, and local partnerships. It houses an art collection with a large scope of works by African American artists, Arkansas artists, and art of the Delta.
McGibbony said she has spent her internship completing an inventory of all the pieces in the center’s permanent collection, researching Delta-based artists to update the artists’ profiles, and helping the center apply for reaccreditation.
She is also organizing an exhibit on Dr. Lenore Shoults, the center’s curator, book, “Here,” which explores African-American artists from the Delta region.
“I love researching. I like reading different theories and concepts and ideas that people have about older art and past art movements. I like contemporary and modern art, but I think it’s interesting to read everyone’s ideas and theories where the artist is no longer present,” McGibbony said. “All you have left is this visual representation of the artist’s thoughts and views from the time period.”
McGibbony graduated from UA Little Rock in 2014 with a Bachelor of Art degree with a concentration in studio art and a minor in art history. After working for Dillard’s for two years as an assistant buyer in product development, McGibbony decided to enhance her education with a graduate program at UA Little Rock.
“If you want to be a curator or work in a museum, it helps to have a master’s degree,” she said. “It was important for me to take my art history education to the next level.”
The Art History concentration is designed for students who are interested in professional academic, museum studies, or arts management careers and prepares students for doctoral study. It offers a broad-based study of the history of visual expression and opportunities for advanced research projects. Art historians analyze and articulate the meaning and form of human experience as embodied in works of art. The field encompasses the world of art and architecture as it exists today and has been understood visually and verbally in the past.
“After graduation, I would love to work as an assistant curator or a curator, just something in an arts collections or archive environment,” she said. “I would like to stay in Arkansas. I feel like Arkansas has a really up and coming art scene with great artists and events and museums in Arkansas that some people don’t even know about.”