I was anxious and excited for my first day at the internship. Located on 53 E 75th Street, the Edward Ressle Gallery is not a short commute, but certainly a pleasant one that includes a rough morning MBTA ride and a lovely stroll through the Upper East Manhattan neighborhood. I buzzed the entrance bell and someone answered “Edward Ressle Gallery, please push.” Walking up the left side staircase to the second floor, I heard a rapid and small footstep, which reminded me of the interview I had at the gallery in March. Alfie, the gallery owner’s sister’s dog, dashed out of the opening door and jumped on me with enthusiasm. Little did I know, I would soon be overwhelmed with entering an internship that had a wide range of duties.
Edward, the gallery owner, and Lovisa, his assistant, warmly greeted me and gave me a brief tour of the place. Before I could finish being amazed by the interior that had a beautiful layout of Contemporary art, I was introduced to the tasks of the week. Lovisa explained her daily chores — which would become mine: Greeting visitors through the intercom (just like I had been earlier); Answering the phone and checking messages for Edward; Researching and writing artists biographies for the gallery website and clients (or potential buyers).
I was afraid that I would miss an instruction and fail to follow orders the first couple days. Not realizing that the nervousness was the core problem, I panicked when visitors with vigorous attitudes approached me and pushed answers for prices of art works and the gallery information. After the first week, I realized that staying calm and flexible were two keystone factors for this job. Though my job description often entails, arguably, menial tasks such as ordering a gallery sign and business card, or setting up the voicemail, all the above made me take pride in my place and the gallery. I also learned how to write my first check and adeptly handle the desk phone to forward calls directly to Edward’s phone. If Edward was in a meeting and I did not show up, there would be no one to pick up the phone or to remind him to call back a client. I would contribute to various and all aspects, including the instagram photo I took for the gallery.
My job description was not about following every detail of the written tasks, but rather to keep the gallery smooth and running as Lovisa had said.
Written by Haesoo Yoon, BC Class of 2017