We recently interviewed Arielle Walker about her experience at the Artists Alliance office during her 2016 administration internship. On top of being a wonderful co-worker (who we miss dearly!) Arielle is a dedicated textile artist and art writer who was recently announced as one of the finalists for the upcoming Estuary Art Awards.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I had been volunteering at Anna Miles Gallery (which actually came about through Daphne and the Artists Alliance Volunteer Programme), but was still mainly working in hospitality, when I really wanted to be working in the creative sector. I had a little admin experience (mostly archival) but was looking to expand my skills, so when the internship opportunity came up it was a perfect fit.
What have you gained from your experience working in Administration?
The admin for Artists Alliance is so varied – some days you’re responding to emails from people in really difficult artistic situations, other days it’s working on content for the newsletters, blog and social media, or reconciling accounts. I’d had no previous experience with accounts, financial reports etc, so it was an incredibly useful skill to learn – turns out it’s actually not that terrifying after all. I also gained a lot of writing confidence, especially around the newsletters and social media.
Were you given sufficient opportunity to voice your opinions?
Absolutely! It’s such a team environment – ideas and opinions aren’t just listened to but actively encouraged.
What was the best/worst day on the job?
It’s probably a good sign that a best day is hard to choose – there were so many. Maybe the surprise birthday celebration we threw for Hannah, our American intern, where Tanya made a ridiculusly amazing cake… Also getting to go to Korero Toi (Emerging Gallery Professionals symposium) as a team was a great experience.
There really was no “worst” day, at least not job-related – maybe the US election?
As a part-time paid position, how did you balance this with the rest of your commitments?
It was surprisingly easy to balance this position with other commitments. The fact that it’s paid meant I could let my café job go, and the days are really flexible – I worked Monday – Wednesday, but if I needed to change that at any time I could. It meant I had time to focus on writing and my art practice, and continue to work with Anna Miles too.
How would you describe the office culture?
The Artists Alliance office was an incredibly welcoming place to work, a fantastic envirnoment to learn in.The fact that 1b shares space with other creative studios meant there was always an artist stopping by, and there’s always biscuits close at hand!
How did this internship lead to other opportunities?
The Artists Alliance team was really supportive in helping me find other work. I was fortunate that Te Tuhi was looking for a new Audience Engagement and Administration Assistant just as my internship was finishing – the skills required for the role fit exactly what I’d learned and improved on in the Artists Alliance office.
Would you recommend this internship to others?
If I wasn’t working at Te Tuhi now, I’d apply myself! (I don’t think it works like that unfortunately…) It’s such a fanastic opportunity. New Zealand is small, Auckland is smaller – there’s not many chances to learn so much in such a supportive environment. Especially for recent graduates, it’s a chance to get a head start working in the art world.
Any advice for the future interns?
Mostly to take advantage of all the opportunities this role offers. It goes by fast, and there’s so much to gain from being a part of the Artists Alliance team. Also be prepared to eat a lot of chocolate.
Arielle graduated with a BFA from AUT University in 2014. Since then, her work has been presented in ‘Sampler – group textile show’ at Masterworks Gallery, Auckland (2017, group), ‘it’s pretty open – a drawing show’ at DEMO, Auckland (2016, group). Arielle has also contributed her writing to the NZ Fashion Museum, #500words, EyeContact, The New Zealand Poetry Society, and The Vernacularist. She is currently working at Te Tuhi Gallery, and is also being mentored by art critic Anthony Byrt as part of the 2017 Artists Alliance Writing Internship Programme.
Follow Arielle on Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/arielle__walker/
Image credit: Liam Mullins