Marc Arbitelle '18, who recently accepted a position as a curator at the Chapman Art Gallery on Cape Cod, reflects on how his faculty mentors, community involvement, and leadership activities helped prepare him for a successful career in the world of art.
Engaging in research activities
Art History gave me a number of opportunities to take my research beyond simple coursework. For example, in Spring 2018 I wrote a catalog essay for the Senior Seminar exhibition. Our class looked closely into UMass Dartmouth Architect Paul Rudolph. We each studied various aspects of his work, and my research paper, “Architecture and Phenomenology: The Relationship Between the Individual and the Built Environment,” focused mostly on embodied space and how we perceive our environments.
During the fall 2016 semester, I took a course that focused on the history of Islamic Art and Architecture, which was taught by Professor Karimi. Part of this course was helping put together an exhibit lead by Professor Karimi, titled "Stateless: Artists Respond to the Refugee Crisis." A few of us would present our research at the Star Store during New Bedford’s monthly AHA! event.
Becoming involved in the community
One of the missions of UMass Dartmouth is to contribute to the university's surrounding communities. During the fall 2017 semester, the Architecture and Sustainability course, also taught by Professor Karimi, gave me the opportunity to become familiar with New Bedford’s local history. The course specifically focused on events revolving around the Abolitionists, Quakers, and a strong sense of community. The result of this course was developing a design for a vacant lot on Abolitionist Row in New Bedford.
These projects all helped tremendously with giving me direction throughout my college experience. As someone who has never been certain on what life after college would entail, studying a variety of topics with a focus on complex issues gave me a real sense of the types of subjects that truly interested me.
Pursuing leadership opportunities
I served as vice president of the Art History Club, which gave me the opportunity to hone my leadership skills. Working closely with other art history students and faculty on the yearly Art History Symposium involved developing ideas, staying on top of deadlines, and presenting to the public.
Supplementing my academic studies with internships
My internship in 2016 began by working with a local New Bedford Artist – John Havens Thornton, and his wife Pat Thornton. John’s art career spans more than 50 years, and working with another art history student Mariah Tarentino, we worked together to review and catalog many works within John’s collection.
The following year I worked in UMass Dartmouth’s Visual Resource Center (VRC) with Professors Dempsey and Cywin. The project consisted of transferring previous students’ master thesis works into the universities online database. I am also completing a curatorial internship with the Cahoon Museum of American Art.
My internship experiences allowed me to become familiar with how online databases store information, in this case, artwork. Through my work at the VRC, I had the opportunity to look closely through thesis works of some very talented artists, while expanding my knowledge in the wide range of media used, style, technique, etc.