Woody Internship at the Getty: Week 3

Last week was another whirlwind, but I have to say that I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of this whole internship thing. At the very least, I’m able to navigate from one part of the Getty to another without getting completely lost, so that’s a good sign.

Last Monday (the 15th) was the opening of the Getty Research Institute’s new exhibit entitled A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660-1715. My main task for that day was shadowing and assisting with the opening reception for that exhibit, which took place on the terrace outside the GRI building. To be honest, it didn’t require all that much work for me because everything was pretty much organized already. However, it was a great opportunity to attend an opening and chat more with some of my colleagues. Oh, and I got to meet Louis XIV, so that was pretty fun.

The Sun King meets sunny California!

The Sun King meets sunny California!

On Wednesday, I helped another events department colleague, Leti, organize the Facilities Department Recognition BBQ. This took place on the tennis courts behind the trustee house, which is an area is not frequently used and which closed to the public and, usually, Getty employees. It is occasionally used for events like this one, which honored all the members of the Facilities department (including gardeners, electricians, capital projects, A/V, custodians, and the events department itself). Employees who had been at the Getty for significant amounts of time (5, 10, 15, 20 years, etc) were presented with a plaque. It was so incredible to see everyone cheering for these people who have long become an integral part of the Getty. It was also yet another reminder (you have many of them when working in events) of the enormous amount of “behind the scenes” work that goes on in order to make the Getty a wonderful place for people to visit.

My next workday was Friday (in case you haven’t noticed, my schedule is rather atypical), and I got to work with a program that I had been looking forward to since my first week: Museum Game Zone. This program is put on by a woman named Rebecca from the museum education department, and it basically consists of setting up tables outside the Family Room and providing fun, art-related games for families to play. I helped set up and then sat at the registration table, where families would check out their choice of game. This event was right up my alley because, as you may remember, I am interested in pursuing museum education as a career. Plus, it’s always fun to interact with the public, especially kids!

Saturday marked this month’s installment of the Getty’s summer concert series, Saturdays Off the 405 (the 405 being the freeway the Getty is situated next to). It also marked the busiest and most exhausting day of work I’ve had thus far. I came in at 1 PM and immediately started helping Danielle with printing out signs, setting up the merchandise table and the green room, and getting the outdoor stage ready. Then at 2:30 the band started arriving, and we were tasked with loading all of their gear onto flatbeds, going up two different elevators, and delivering it to the stage area. A couple hours later, we did the same for the DJ. After sound check, we finished setting up and ate a quick dinner, then the concert started at 6:00. My main job during the concert itself was to take pictures on the events department camera (fortunately these were for internal use only, so I didn’t need to be super artsy). It was amazing how well-attended the event was – I think over 3,000 people showed up, most of them sitting on blankets or standing in the courtyard area. Both the DJ and the band put on a great show, and aside from some rowdiness towards the end, the crowd was very well-behaved and seemed to have a great time. Once the concert was over, we went back to work and broke everything down, unloaded all the musicians’ equipment back to their cars, and got rid of all the signage. Finally, at about 10:30, I went home for the night. I think I fell asleep within 10 minutes because I was so tired! Sot405 turned out to be one of my favorite events to date. While it was a lot of work (and nearly 9 consecutive hours of standing or walking), it was so rewarding to see everything successfully come together to put on a great show for the visitors. I can see why people like working in events – it can be stressful, but there’s no doubt that it’s also very gratifying.

The crowd at Saturdays off the 405

The crowd at Saturdays off the 405

Finally, on Sunday, I went in just for the afternoon to help out with an author reading and book signing. Cornelia Funke, whom you may have heard of, read one of her short stories that she set at the Getty Research Institute. The event was very popular, mostly with children and families. My responsibilities were mainly greeting people, grabbing a few last-minute set up items, and watching part of the reading to make sure everything was going smoothly. Overall, it was a very low-key afternoon, especially after Saturday’s craziness.

Inside the Harold M Williams  Auditorium for the Cornelia Funke reading. I loved the lighting!

Inside the Harold M Williams Auditorium for the Cornelia Funke reading. I loved the lighting!

As you can probably tell, my job varies greatly from day to day. I appreciate this a lot because it means that it’s never boring. When I’m not helping with an event, I’m usually working on one of the ongoing tasks that Danielle gave me at the beginning of the month. So far, the list of museums and hotels for the upcoming IAMFA conference is coming along nicely.

That’s it for this week…up next time: another exhibition opening, a docent lecture, an external University of Pittsburgh alumni event, and my first installment of the infamous Friday Flights series (I am particularly interested to see how this one goes!). Thanks for reading!