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Each year, students on the Gap Year program take London by storm as they explore the city and embark on a journey of self-discovery and cultural immersion. We caught up with Lucy to dive deeper into her unique experience at Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

How did you decide to enrol in the Gap Year program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art?

I had decided I wanted to dive in and explore my interest in art, so I started looking into short-term art programs for the fall. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for, fine art or art history. I also wasn’t sure if I wanted to be based in New York or London. After some research, I stumbled across the Sotheby’s Institute of Art Gap Year program. Between the London location, three weeks of travel, and the length of the program, I was totally sold!

How would you describe the overall learning environment and the interaction with your fellow Gap Year students?

The learning environment was very positive and comfortable. Having been out of school for three years, I was a bit nervous to go back to a classroom setting. All my nerves disappeared by the end of the first week. All students come with different levels of knowledge about art, so there is no standard to meet. Questions are encouraged, and answered thoroughly. All my interactions with my fellow students were extremely positive. Having participated in both sessions, everyone was lovely and supportive, creating a small family within the group.

What was your day-to-day experience like?

In my day-to-day I tried to find a routine. A big part of that would be walking to Sotheby’s Institute of Art in the morning (or to a museum if that was the first thing). Our days consisted of a little formula. A lecture in the morning, a break for lunch, and then a visit in the afternoon. This could also change depending on the day. There were some days where we would have visits all day long! We learned and experienced so much.

What was your favourite site visit and what did you do?

There were two visits that we went to that stood out to me. The first being the Phillip Guston exhibition at Tate Modern. Before this visit we had a brilliant lecture by Ben Street about Guston’s life and work. Going from the lecture to the exhibition I felt extremely knowledgeable and I could really appreciate/connect with the art more. The second visit was during our trip to Paris. We went to the Petit Palais to explore the permanent collection, which was filled with my favorite style of art. Gorgeous paintings and sculptures, as well as amazing gardens and architecture. At the Petit Palais we also went to the temporary exhibition called Modern Paris, which displayed art from 1905-1925, as well as sharing some history that was going on in Paris at the time. We were able to see how the art was being influenced by the events going on.

How did your course leaders and the wider team help you adapt to being away from home?

The Gap Year team was amazing. Our teachers, residential support, and the wider team were extremely helpful in the first few weeks to help us to adapt to London. Their support continued throughout the entire program. They really got to know us as individuals, and kept checking in to make sure we were all doing well. I always felt extremely comfortable reaching out to any member of the team if I came across a problem.

How has the Gap Year program expanded your knowledge and appreciation of the art world?

The program taught me just how many different roles there are within the art world. I can now truly appreciate how important every job is to keep the art world alive. We’ve been lucky enough to hear from people first hand about their individual jobs, allowing us to get a real insiders view.

How will you take these experiences from the program into your life moving forward?

Everything I experience in the program has helped me grow. From living away from home for the first time, navigating a big city, to all the knowledge I have gained surrounding art. I can journey into the next part of my life knowing that I am a more independent and confident person than when I started.