Georgia College & State University

09/10/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/11/2019 15:18

Art major discovers purpose at Smithsonian Freer and Sackler Gallery

Raasha Gutierrez knew she would get some of the best education possible when she chose to come Georgia College. The senior art major distinctly remembers the liberal arts mission, as well as the ability to focus all of her passions such as art, psychology and research throughout her studies as the primary factors that drew her to Georgia College. What she didn't know at the time was how much the art program would impact what she wanted her future.

'The professors care so much and are passionate about education. If we wanted to do something, they supported us. After working very closely with Dr. Katie Anania, I wanted to pursue an internship about museum work and art history. It was something I was interested in and I wanted to understand better. My major has pushed me so much and has allowed me to grow and make mistakes that I will take with me for the rest of my life.'

Throughout Spring 2019, Gutierrez applied for several internships. When she received word that she would be working at the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Gallery, she knew immediately that it was where she was supposed to be.

'I was not super nervous,' recalls Gutierrez. 'I knew going into it that I was there to grow and learn. I think one of the biggest challenges was being put in a highly professional environment and having to learn how to work and interact with high-profile individuals.'

Once Gutierrez started working in the Freer and Sackler Gallery, she began to work on tasks that aligned with her passions. Throughout the internship, she learned how the museum documents images and events held in the gallery as well as helping out with videography needs.

'It was an amazing opportunity because I was able to work with almost all of the departments.'

One of the more interesting projects that Gutierrez got to work on was film from an Iranian photographer before the Iranian Revolution.

'An Iranian photographer went to the opening of the Tehran Contemporary Art Museum. This museum opened two years before the revolution, the Fall of the Shah, and a decent amount of these works are stuck in the collection (because the Iranian government is conservative) or have been destroyed by terrorists. I have been photographing and digitizing this film for it to be passed onto art historians within the gallery and eventually curators.'

For Guiterrez though, the most important part of this experience has been connecting people to art.

'I absolutely love being a part of a team that has an end goal to create the opportunity for growth and connection through art. I find that museums help inspire individuals and can bring them together for an amazing and intricate connection.'