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SUBJECT: SWGC: Visiting gallery intern example of Irish partnership in the works
DATE: Feb. 14, 2006

An arts management student from the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology in Ireland has landed a 10-week internship at the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery.

Mary Toal of Dalkey, County Dublin (20 minutes outside Dublin) is living on campus at Grenfell and has become a valuable asset at the gallery.

"To have a full-time employee is wonderful," said Ms. Gail Tuttle, director of the gallery. "The gallery usually operates with a team of students on three-hour shifts. It's often a challenge to follow through on projects and get exhibitions up and running. But Mary's presence offers some consistency. And she has taken on new projects that will help us in future."

For instance, Ms. Toal has developed a list serve to distribute information about exhibits and other events to galleries and art organizations across the country and internationally, said Ms. Tuttle.

Ms. Toal's program, Business with Arts Management, is related to the management and running of art galleries and theatres as well as event management in many fields such as mini-festivals or music events. Her program explores all aspects of work in the arts sector, which holds many exciting prospects.

"I've been working in a small gallery at home for two years," said Ms. Toal. "Last year I spent two months at a larger gallery in New York, a commercial gallery. But I'm always trying to get more experience."

When she returned from New York, her course instructor approached her to come to Grenfell; she received a grant which made it possible financially.

"In New York I worked in a larger gallery right in the middle of the 'art scene' in Soho," said Ms. Toal. "Working at the Grenfell gallery is completely different – it's not trying to sell art, but rather trying to raise awareness of art."

The recent film festival organized by the gallery was also an eye opener.

"I've never worked with film and video," said Ms. Toal. "It's been a really exciting time to come."

Corner Brook has also been a new experience, she said.

"I was glad to come here to a completely different setting – a small city with a relaxed atmosphere," she said.

While at Grenfell Ms. Toal will review the art-on-loan inventory and cataloguing new acquisitions to the gallery collection, organizing the artists’ books collection and bringing data entry up to date. Ms. Tuttle will also help Ms. Toal to develop her own curatorial project. And Ms. Toal has had the chance to see all aspects of what it takes to run a public university art gallery, from public relations and publications to filing and the installation of exhibits.

"The internship has been an opportunity for the gallery to complete a placement project in partnership with an institution whose interests are compatible with the gallery," said Ms. Tuttle." This partnership will not only help our gallery carry out its many projects, but will also support IADT in fulfilling the requirements of its arts management degree, since IADT does not have an art gallery. It's wonderful to welcome an intern who is so eager and enthusiastic."

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