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Sotheby’s Summer Institute invites high schoolers who are curious and passionate about the arts to immerse themselves in one of the most vibrant art capitals in the world, New York City. Taught by leading scholars and professionals in the field, each course draws on the global expertise of Sotheby's Institute of Art and takes students behind the scenes of world class museums, galleries, auction houses, artists’ studios, and more. We spoke to Gabrielle about her unforgettable summer experience.

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

I knew I wanted to spend my summer learning about art history as I am interested in majoring in this subject in college. I was doing some research on courses offered to high school students and discovered Sotheby's Summer Institute. I was so excited to learn about this program especially since Sotheby's Institute of Art is so well established and the faculty seemed incredible.

Which course(s) did you enrol on and why?

I enrolled in the art history and art business courses. I wanted to enroll in this particular course because I wanted to further my knowledge on art history. Art business was not something I was well versed in and I was interested in learning more about the industry. I felt that the two courses complemented each other well since to work in the art world, it is important to have an understanding of both the academic and business side of the market to have a more holistic view.

What was the most interesting thing you learned / experienced during your time in New York City?

I actually live in New York but I did gain a newfound appreciation for some places that I have been to before. For example, one evening we kicked off our photo challenge where we were encouraged to go around and take pictures documenting our experiences. We went to Central Park and everyone eagerly went around taking pictures of the beautiful landscapes, statues, and water. I also got really into the challenge and began to take lots of pictures of what was around me. While around all of my creative peers in the program I saw Central Park in a new, beautiful, light.

Describe your favorite day of the program. Where did you go, who did you meet with?

My favorite day trip that we went on was when we went gallery hopping around Soho. Earlier in the day we had a lecture from Fola Adenugba. She spoke all about her experience running an art advisory which was super interesting. She also explained her journey through art business and the education that it required, I learned so much from her. After the lecture, our group took the subway down to Soho where we went looked at some art galleries as well as auction houses. Looking at all the artwork with my peers was so fun and since that trip I have gone back down to Soho to visit.

What was your day-to-day experience like?

I would start my day by meeting up with friends and going to grab some coffee at the local Starbucks. After we got our drinks we would head to our hour and a half lecture. I always liked to sit in the front and soak in all the information. We would then get a snack break and head back in to resume our lecture. After the lecture we would have a lunch break. I loved going out with friends and trying different food places near us. My favorite had to be Ess-a Bagel which is a classic. After our lunch break we would have another lecture and work on projects for the course. When our lectures ended we had lots of time to relax, do some work and hang out with friends. I loved hanging out in the lobby of Found where my friends and I would play pool and just chat. Sometimes we would have night activities where the whole group got together and we got to explore the city. Since I was not a residential student I would leave at the end of the day but it was always hard to go as I didn't want to leave my friends.

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

This experience was truly once in a lifetime. I learned so much about the art world and how it functions from a business and museum perspective. I learned so much about art history, how museums came to be, and what it means to work in a museum. I also learned how galleries and auction houses are run, and all about art fairs. All of this knowledge will be very helpful because I hope to take AP art history next year and now I will be ahead. I also really hope to pursue a career in the art world and now I feel like I have a good foundation for what that entails. In addition to everything that I learned I also feel like I became really comfortable with collaborating with peers. We had to create two final projects for our courses and I got to work with very talented, smart, and creative students. We each brought our own unique insights into our projects which helped us produce incredible work. From these group projects I learned how valuable it is to work with other people and that you should always listen to others. Delegating is important and now I feel confident in my abilities to do so. We also had to present our projects to the rest of the class and this significantly improved my public speaking skills which is an important life skill.

What are you considering as a profession once you graduate?

I would like to go to college and major in art history. After I graduate I would love to become a part of the art world. The beauty of the art world is that it is such a multifaceted industry so there are many directions to potentially go down. I think that it would be amazing to become an art curator at a museum. I enjoy history, art, and museums, so to be able to combine all three and have a job that I genuinely enjoy would be awesome! I am also someone who loves learning. I can also see myself working at a gallery, discovering new talent, and promoting artists.