Art 122: Introduction to Gallery Practices teaches valuable skills that students can utilize in a museum or gallery by working in a unique, hands-on environment.

Art 122 is the first of a three-class sequence that allows students to work in the Fullerton College Art Gallery and Fullerton Center Museum on tasks like artwork installation, exhibition design, receiving and unpacking art, and giving tours to the public. In addition, students are put into real-life work, actively working on upcoming art exhibitions.

Dr. Gail Arriola-Nickell is the adjunct faculty teaching art 122 this semester. She said the class is about tapping into your creative resources and envisioning what an exhibition would look like.

Monzerrath Alarcon Bustos, a third-year at Fullerton College, originally started taking classes in chemistry as preparation for a career in art conservation. “I originally didn’t plan on taking this class, but I figured if I want to be an art conservator, who typically works for museums, then I should have some experience. I was also curious, and it looked fun. Which it is,” Bustos said in an email interview.

Fullerton College student Monzerrath Alarcon Bustos working on the title wall for the Fullerton Museum Center's upcoming exhibition on José Guadalupe Posada.

Fullerton College student Monzerrath Alarcon Bustos working on the title wall for the Fullerton Museum Center’s upcoming exhibition on José Guadalupe Posada. Photo credit: Shanelle Darlene

Bustos is now the curatorial coordinator at the Fullerton Museum Center. “Once you learn the trade, you will see museums differently. There are a lot of handsy skills you can learn from this course, as well. I am even using the installation methods to hang things on my walls at home, or use these skills to go freelance,” she said.

Students also work on exhibitions for the college’s artist-in-residence, which, for 2022, is Chris Sickels, an artist known for his stop motion work. They also organize and design the annual student art exhibition.

Carol Henke, director of the Fullerton College Art Gallery, said they had to get creative with how to navigate the course during the shutdown. The students ultimately created a website that featured an online exhibition featuring hundreds of pages of work created in Fullerton College’s studio art classes and 3D gallery rooms where work was curated thematically.

This quick thinking and ingenuity has had a long-lasting impact on future classes. “Now, students get to learn both. Last semester, we had one in-person exhibition and one online exhibition,” Henke said.

Fullerton College students Monzerrath Alarcon Bustos and Dawn Simon installing DESPIERTA by Peruvian visiting artist Eu Taze at the Fullerton Museum Center.

Fullerton College students Monzerrath Alarcon Bustos and Dawn Simon installed “DESPIERTA” by Peruvian visiting artist Eu Taze at the Fullerton Museum Center. Photo credit: Elvia Susana Rubalcava

Elvia Susana Rubalcava, executive director of the Fullerton Museum Center, said, “I’m so blessed to work at this museum, and to be able to have these students come in and work on our galleries and see what they’re learning in school and applying it to real-life experiences.”

Students taking this course will be installing the museum’s upcoming exhibition, “José Guadalupe Posada: The Iconic Printmaker and his Legacy in Popular Culture,” which opens Feb. 19.

Feb. 6 is the last day to add classes and space is available in Art 122. The course fulfills a requirement to receive the museum assistant certificate, which requires 17-19 units.

Edit: This article has been edited to correct a photo credit mistake.

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Eulalia Saucedo (she/her) is an art history major from Whittier, CA. She enjoys contemporary art, screenwriting and watching bad movies with her friends.