Nichole Rawlings graduated from American University in 2012 with a focus in Italian Renaissance art. In 2014, Nichole was appointed Gallery Director at the Brenau University Art Gallery, in Gainesville, Georgia. Below, Nichole talks about her responsibilities as Gallery Director, and how her MA in art history at AU has prepared her for this position:
In my role as Gallery Director at Brenau University, I oversee physical gallery spaces and exhibitions as well as a large permanent art collection. Our collection was begun in the 1980s and has over 6,500 pieces encompassing a number of media, artists, periods, and styles. The first piece donated to the collection was a William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), and more recently we acquired a number of original Andy Warhol prints – demonstrating the variety of the collection as a whole! Many works are installed around campus to make them accessible to our community, and I am responsible for maintaining them and educating our faculty, staff, and visitors about them.
We have three rotating gallery spaces at Brenau University, and new exhibitions in each gallery every semester. I am responsible for choosing the exhibitions, installing them or facilitating their installation, and creating programming around them. This requires developing relationships with artists, collectors, and other institutions. I work to promote our exhibitions through giving community talks, facilitating a growing docent program, and working with University public relations.
In a number of my day-to-day and long-term activities I have relied on skills I acquired during my time at American University. The breadth of classes I took in terms of time period and methods have provided me the contextual information I need to speak intelligently and confidently about our collection. I feel that I have the ability to talk to collectors, organizations, and working artists from a place of appreciation and knowledge of their work. In general, I am a much more confident scholar and advocate of the arts after my advanced studies in art history.