Course Spotlight: The Hokin Project

Course Spotlight: The Hokin Project

The Gallery Management course may seem like a practicum catered to those only interested in visual arts and museum work. However, this program provides a medium for hands-on experience for all students in varying disciplines. There is an emphasis on embracing different skill sets of each student to help the gallery reach their goals. At the beginning of the semester, students identified what their experience was in and what areas they would like to explore. First year graduate students Tessa Harrelson, Jerry Pellowski, and Milena Berbenkova share their experience in the course and how it has enriched their Columbia experience so far.

The students are split into groups to manage different exhibitions throughout the semester and experience all the aspects of planning, installing, and uninstalling an exhibition. There are also opportunities to lead specific components of the exhibitions tailored to the student’s skills. Tessa, project manager of the Hokin Honors 2016 exhibition, explained her experience in the class. “Our meetings are pretty much dialogue and very conversational”. Although project teams are comprised of students from all levels and areas of Columbia, they work well collaboratively to get the job done.

Bob Blandford, associate professor, teaches Gallery Management: Practicum and plays an important role in guiding the students through their exhibitions. Although the gallery is student-run, Bob provides the tools and lectures on important topics. For example, creating a budget is an important and sometimes confusing task for any project. Bob provides templates for each project team and guides them through the procedures for setting an exhibition budget. This is an important tool for the exhibition coming up next month.

The Field Notebook: Capturing the Creative Process of Art and Science was inspired by an Arizona painted desert dig led by Robin Whatley, Columbia Science & Math faculty, and Columbia students. One of the most interactive exhibitions this year, The Field Notebook brings together many departments, spaces, and resources to fully bridge the gap between science and art. Jerry, Installation/Marketing lead, and Milena, on the programming side, are working on this exhibition from the Gallery Management class. With this exhibition right around the corner in comparison to Hokin Honors, you can tell the pressure is on. However, Jerry expressed, “Anytime you’re putting on an exhibition, it’s all pressure”. The work will pay off though, with an abundance of featured notebooks from around the Columbia community, interactive workshops, and lectures.

The Gallery Management Practicum is an invaluable course for any Columbia College student to take. “The most exciting part is doing something real, experiencing the development process of putting on an actual event,” says Milena. Students from all backgrounds work together, bringing different skills to successfully install an engaging exhibition. It must be mentioned that the class is not easy, “It’s less a course and more an internship”, “You get out what you put in”, explained Jerry and Tessa. However, the class is the perfect environment to work with students from other departments, sponsor collaborations, and learn something new about arts management.

Gallery Management: Practicum provides hands-on gallery management, exhibition, curatorial, and design experience for students of all majors. Known as The Hokin Project, this course presents the work of the Columbia College Chicago community through exhibitions, programs, and events in the Hokin Gallery. Gallery Management: Practicum is a student-run collaboration of the Business & Entrepreneurship Department and Student Affairs / Department of Exhibitions and Performance Spaces (DEPS).