My name is Sydney McArthur, and I am in my fourth year of undergrad at Western University. I am Visual Arts, taking an Honours Specialization in Art History and Museum Studies, but when people ask what program I’m in, I usually just say art history. I chose it because I always knew I would have some type of art-related career, and I knew I didn’t want to be a full-time artist. To me, the next coolest thing to being an artist was dealing with art in museums, behind the scenes. I also really loved watching gallery guides take my class and me on tours, and describing in detail all the stories behind the paintings and artists — I wanted to be able to do that too.
This past summer I did an internship with one of my professors; he is writing a monograph on Canadian landscape artist Doris McCarthy, and I helped with the preliminary findings. That was my first step into the life and documentation of an artist and their work. My summer was spent in and out of libraries and art galleries (many in a virtual sense), and discovering McCarthy’s art. I never really contemplated working in research until then.
Now, with a fresh school year, I am starting another internship with Art Windsor Essex. After the summer I definitely feel more prepared for another internship opportunity, and because I learned so much I know I will have even more new things to take away from this experience. While the intention is for this to be research-based as well, I now know I will be helping out with a lot more, and gaining numerous skills in different areas. I am very grateful to have had both of these opportunities, and I know my younger self would look up to the student I have become. Overall I know that these experiences will make me more confident and prepared for my future working in a gallery/museum setting, along with any challenges that I’ll face along the way.