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Sotheby's Institute of Art - Online Learning students not only build knowledge and gain practical skills in key art world topics like art history, art business, art writing and contemporary art, but they also become part of a global online community. We spoke to some Online Alumni about their experience of online learning with Sotheby's Institute and the real-world impact of their studies.

screen-shot-2017-10-23-at-10-10-07-amName: Robin K.

Course: Art as an Alternative Investment

Occupation: Founder, Plan Art LLC

Where are you from? Irvine, California, USA

Tell us about your background and what made you choose Sotheby’s Institute of Art – Online.
My chosen career, until last year, was in providing high net worth families with help in realizing their investment, planning and philanthropic goals. At the same time, I became more involved within the art community, serving on several boards and getting engaged with local arts efforts. While many people were focused on collecting art, few were thinking about what they would do with their art holdings when the time came to transfer the art to the next generation, or to their favorite charity. As a result, I formed Plan Art LLC in an effort to help families with the art transfer decision. After forming Plan Art LLC, I realized that it would be most helpful for me to take a closer look at the art market, and how art assets are perceived as an investment option versus other tangible and intangible assets. Sotheby’s course opened up that world for me.

How do you feel the skills and knowledge you’ve gained from the program have helped you in your career?
Through its reading materials, and guided questions, the program very effectively provides a thought process around analyzing the art market, especially as we experience a change in the demographics and structures that will drive the market for years to come. Many of these issues are keys factors to consider as I evaluate my role in the art world.

What effect has this program had on your every day?
The program opened up a vast array of resources that have expanded my insights when it comes to evaluating the key variables that drive the art market. Suddenly, I am privy to meaningful insights provided by a larger world of participants and experts.


stephanie-sporn-student-story-image-small

Name: Stephanie S.

Course: Writing for the Art World

Occupation: Writer/Producer on Sotheby’s editorial team

Where are you from? Tampa, Florida

Tell us about your background and what made you choose Sotheby’s Institute of Art – Online.
I’ve always been passionate about art, but my journalistic background was mostly in fashion and luxury lifestyle. I was looking for an efficient way to gain experience in the art world, and this course felt like a great way to prepare myself for professional art writing. I loved that this was an introductory course from a company firmly established in the art world.

What did you most enjoy about the Sotheby’s Institute of Art Online program?
I really enjoyed working on my final assignment. Throughout the class there were several opportunities to discuss readings and personal experiences at museums and institutions, but delving into a specific topic in a longer form, and especially having the chance to expand, draft and rewrite, was very valuable.

How do you feel the skills and knowledge you’ve gained from the program have helped you in your career?
I began the course right around the time I started working at Sotheby’s, so, of course, writing for Sotheby’s professionally while studying with SIA was quite complementary.

What effect has this program had on your every day?
Every day, I write about art and luxury lifestyle topics for Sotheby’s, so reading and working with such similar topics for my online class gave me more exposure to these industries. Perhaps what I remember most about my experience was working with my instructor. She gave such thorough feedback and was very positive and thoughtful in doing so. She definitely paid attention to the development of my writing, and I feel she made a sincere effort to get to know me as a student – both my interests and my writing style – to draw as much out of me as possible in the short program.


Assiya_Daribekova_2Name: Assiya

Courses: Art as a Global Business; Introduction to Contemporary Art

Occupation: Entrepreneur, a consultant in the fashion business - distribution and strategy.

Where are you from?  Kazakhstan, but has lived in Milan, Italy since 2002.

Tell us about your background and what made you choose Sotheby’s Institute of Art – Online.
I took my Master’s degree in Fashion Management at SDA Bocconi business school in Milan in 2002. I have more than 18 years of experience in luxury shoes and the leather goods accessories business.  The art market and the luxury market have many things in common, but I wanted to better understand the mechanisms of the art market and learn more about the business of art.

How do you feel the skills and knowledge you’ve gained from the program have helped you in your career?
Well, I think a lot! In a very short time (6 weeks) you gain significant knowledge and understanding of the art market and art business. This background knowledge is helping to inform me and my friend, who also took the Online course, to develop a new project: an online art gallery to promote Kazakh artists. This gallery will show the nomadic culture to the world and will also promote international artists to Kazakh customers. I feel very excited and thrilled about this project.

What effect has this program had on your every day?
Perhaps the main effect that the program had on my every day is that I now actively monitor, read, and watch art market information so I can be as up-to-date as possible.


screen-shot-2017-10-23-at-10-10-17-amName: Georgia H.

Course: Art as a Global Business: Dynamics of the Art Market; Buying and Selling: Inside the Auction Business

Occupation: Custom Frame Consultant and Freelance Illustrator

Where are you from?  Melbourne, Australia.

Tell us about your background and what made you choose Sotheby’s Institute of Art – Online.
I finished my honours in art history a few years ago. I worked in events but knew I wanted to end up working within the arts. I currently work for a bespoke framing company that provides services for some of the top Australian galleries. I wanted to do some further study as I was feeling a little lost in my career, but I was very busy and a little unsure about what I wanted to study.  I had a friend who worked at an auction house and she recommended that I undertook some study with Sotheby’s Institute, as she had just completed some herself.

How do you feel the skills and knowledge you’ve gained from the program have helped you in your career?
The skills and knowledge I learnt during these programs gave me the confidence to actually apply for some volunteer positions within the auction industry. I now volunteer regularly for a few auction houses and absolutely love it. The content in these courses also gave me some unique insight into the art market, something I do not believe traditional style learning could. Having an industry expert teach the course was a crucial element for me.

What effect has this program had on your every day?
These courses have helped me realise where I want to end up working within the art market. Before undertaking study with Sotheby’s Institute – Online Learning, I had a lack of direction about where my true interests lied. Since completing the courses I have discovered a passion for the auction industry. The experience was so meaningful because the content was honest and the people taking the course were genuinely passionate about the industry.


MarkDCruzName: Mark

Course: Art as a Global Business: The Value of Art

Occupation: Entrepreneur and Gallerist

Where are you from? Bangalore, India

Tell us about your background and what made you choose Sotheby’s Institute of Art – Online.
After 17 years in a corporate career, I decided to take the entrepreneurial route and founded an online art gallery dedicated to promoting upcoming artists. Being a self-taught artist this wasn’t a difficult transition, but I needed to have an understanding of the international art market, its structure and functioning. I also needed to understand art valuation, market influences and trends. The Online course at Sotheby’s fit these needs perfectly, and I was keen to sign up.

How do you feel the skills and knowledge you’ve gained from the program have helped you in your career?
It has definitely made improvements in the way I approach the art business as a gallerist. My understanding of the global art market has increased exponentially. It has helped in re-aligning perspectives around key elements like strategy, market orientation, navigation, networking.

What effect has this program had on your every day?
This program has provided knowledge, clarity and direction for many of my business goals. I especially enjoyed the hours spent referencing material for the discussions and the assignments, which I thought were pivotal in helping achieve my learning objectives.


jordanadairName: Jordan A.

Course: Art History Intensive: 1860 to the Present

Occupation: Secondary School English and Art History teacher at Durham Academy

Where are you from? Chapel Hill, NC

Tell us about your background and what made you choose Sotheby’s Institute of Art – Online.
I have been teaching for 35 years at the secondary level, most of those years as an English teacher; however, almost 10 years ago I spoke with the headmaster at my school and asked if I could offer an art history class. I was given permission to do so, and so began my AP Art History class. I have had a love affair with art history for many years, have always brought art, architecture, and photography into my English classes (along with film and music in a cultural studies model), and simply wanted to be able to talk about art on a daily basis. As for Sotheby’s Institute of Art offerings, I received an email advertisement for the online courses, most likely because of a mailing list I joined after taking an AP Art History seminar two years ago at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The offerings looked interesting and the approach was both substantial and fit my summertime schedule.

What did you most enjoy about the Sotheby’s Institute of Art Online program?
I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with my teacher Morgan Falconer and with some of the other students in the discussion forums. That we came from all parts of the world and brought with us a rich variety of perspectives made for lively exchanges that enriched my experience. In addition, I loved being exposed to art I’ve never really explored and listening to lectures and reading articles on that art, all of which broadened my understanding of modern and contemporary art. I will be able to use what I learned this year in my AP Art History class.

What effect has this program had on your every day? How do you feel the skills and knowledge learnt on the program have helped you in your career?
I have learned how to “look” more effectively and more deeply at works of art that in the past had simply eluded my understanding. I have also gained a far greater appreciation for these works of art and the artists who created them. Learning about the cultural and historical contexts has made for a much richer engagement with the art. I will be able to use this knowledge in both my class at Durham Academy and whenever I visit a museum where I will view modern and contemporary art (and works of art from other periods as well).


hervetischmacherName: Hervé T.

Course: Art History : Egyptian to Pop & Art as an Alternative Investment Age : 25

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Where are you from? Strasbourg, France

Tell us about your background and what made you choose Sotheby’s Institute of Art – Online.
I graduated with an MBA with an emphasis on International Management in 2015.
During those 5 years, I lived in Strasbourg, Shanghai, Paris, and New York City. In New York, I spent a great deal of time exploring the local art culture. After two years working in sales, I was in search of a challenging and exciting program to learn and get more experience in the art world. With Sotheby’s brand awareness and the possibility to learn online, it was obviously the best choice and opportunity for me.

What did you most enjoy about the Sotheby’s Institute of Art Online program?
I really appreciated the discussion structure. The courses were all about sharing our understanding, views, and experiences of art. Despite us all being behind our computer screens, it was a very human and enriching time. Teachers were always reachable, understanding, and supporting. I deeply want to thank Sotheby’s team and teachers for that!

What effect has this program had on your every day? How do you feel the skills and knowledge learnt on the program have helped you in your career?
I am now an informed observer. I sharpened my way of seeing and understanding a work. I am also more aware of the risks and opportunities within the art market, as well as its complexity and the expertise required to become an educated collector and investor.

I am using these skills on a weekly basis by following the news on artwork, artists, vintage cars, and auctions to keep on an eye on this elite world, ensuring that I will be more than ready for the day I start my life as a collector!

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