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American University’s Arts Management Program is celebrating 10 years of a successful partnership with Sotheby’s Institute of Art, which gives its students an opportunity to study with the Institute in London. Alumni have gone on to work at the Smithsonian Institution, American for the Arts, the Mansion at Strathmore, Portland Japanese Garden, and many other arts institutions.

“Our 10-year partnership with Sotheby’s is one of many ways our program connects students to the wide world of arts management,” says E. Andrew Taylor, interim program director of American University’s Arts Management Program. “Students benefit from the widened horizon and the deep dive into the business of visual art. We all benefit when those students bring their insights and experiences back into our classrooms.”

Program alumna Marie Sicola (MA arts management ’20) went to London as part of the Sotheby’s program during her time at AU. Sicola has worked as a local arts programmer, a gallerist, and now as an operations associate for the Smithsonian Institution's Arts and Industries Building. She believes that each of these positions has given her the opportunity to see the power of art in individual lives, communities, and society.

But the Sotheby’s experience was unique. Sicola says the experience taught how to effectively communicate and work with people from all over the world. And it gave her a deep knowledge of the museum world. “I learned so much about museum work and the many jobs that exist to make a museum exhibition come to life,” she says. “Like most study abroad programs, the Sotheby's experience also taught me how to live in another country and learn in another country, which I found incredibly valuable for my personal growth.”

Sicola says the thing she found most valuable in the program was the structure that allowed visits to a different museum or gallery every day. The location of London’s Sotheby’s campus facilitates this, within walking distance of the British Museum, National Gallery, and Sotheby’s Auction House, as well as many art galleries.

“In the mornings we would have lectures with guest speakers who were professionals in the field, and then in the afternoon we would go to a museum/gallery and apply what we had discussed in the morning,” Sicola explains. “I found it to be a very fulfilling way to digest information. It made me love museums and galleries so much more and really see why learning about the specific details mattered.”

Read more about the program and student experience via American University link here.

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