Sometimes an internship arises from a student’s avocation rather than a major. So it is with Alexis Ramirez ’12 (Oakland, Calif.), a cultural anthropology major spending her summer immersed in art.
“Even though I’m not an art major, I feel very connected to the department and have taken several studio art classes,” she says. “I wanted internships that would allow me to explore the art world, a world outside my regular course of study.”
Ramirez was fortunate enough to snag not one but two internships, representing opposite ends of the San Francisco art scene. She spends three days a week in the client development department of Christie’s, a fine art auction house, helping clients who want to buy art or have their pieces sold or appraised. Jewelry, sculpture, silver, and other specialists fly in from London, New York, and Paris to evaluate art and determine pricing; clients come from throughout northern California and the Pacific Northwest. “Last week we had more than $2 million worth of jewelry in our safe,” she says. “It’s crazy being around things worth so much.”
Artillery Apparel Gallery, a Latino-operated store in San Francisco’s Mission District, is where Ramirez spends her remaining weekdays. There she works with customers and apparel artists, who get a 50-50 split with the store on sales.
Although she enjoys both internships, the apparel gallery is a better fit for her, says Ramirez. “It’s more informal and I get more people contact there,” she says. “I’ve discovered this summer that I need every day to be different, and to really love what I do.”
Ramirez will continue exploring art this fall, when she will spend the semester in Bali, Indonesia, taking part in a program on arts, religion, and social change. “I hope to learn about batik and shadow puppetry, among other things,” says Ramirez. The program fits well with her anthropology major but, just as importantly, she says, “it will fulfill the creative need in me.”