Student Spotlight: Working at Rodman Hall opens doors for recent grad Fraser Brown

We’ve returned from our summer hiatus with a new line up of blog posts! We’re excited to share the Brock Humanities experience with you as we get ready for a new academic year.

To start things off, we would like to introduce you to Fraser Brown. Fraser has just finished a honours degree in studio art in the Visual Arts department. He will be going on to complete a co-op in office administration at Fanshaw College this fall in preparation for a career in arts administration. His experience as an intern at Rodman Hall Art Centre this summer has been instrumental in finding his career path.

Fraser Brown has been enjoying his work as a summer intern at Rodman Hall Art Centre. Photo by Danny Custodio.

My first visit to Rodman Hall Art Centre took place in 2014 as part of a class project. I was struck by Melanie Authier’s Grisaille, an exhibition curated by Marcie Bronson, but what set Rodman Hall apart from any other gallery was the historic building and grounds.

At the time I had no idea the importance Rodman Hall would play in my education and future career plan but after completing an honours thesis in the building’s third floor studios, exhibiting in the gallery space, attending numerous HOT TALKS they host, and interning for the summer to provide audience engagement and administrative assistance, Rodman Hall Art Centre has proven itself as the highlight of my experience at Brock University.

Rodman Hall Art Centre is situated in downtown St. Catharines. Photo by Fraser Brown.

Rodman Hall’s third floor consists of six studios dedicated to students in the VISA 4F06 Honours course. Working under the guidance of curator Marcie Bronson and former curator Stuart Reid, along with instructors Shawn Serfas and Donna Szoke, I was able to create a body of work focusing on issues I feel passionate about while receiving guidance from professionals. I was encouraged to explore different mediums, approaches, and concepts which refined the ideas I brought to the course and establish an argument for why my practice is relevant to the contemporary art world.

Interning at Rodman Hall has been a reward this summer. Deciding to pursue fine art as a career requires a second one to support it, and working under the mentorship of Rodman Hall’s Administrative Assistant Danny Custodio and Arts Educator Michelle Nichols has helped me discover my career goal: administrative director of an art gallery.

Fraser's work has included researching artists and giving tours of the art exhibited at Rodman Hall. Pictured here is John Noestheden's "Artefact Echoes" (2015). Photo by Kylie Mitchell.

Next year I begin an office-administration co-op program, with the goal to enter a post-grad course in arts administration and cultural management after. Rodman Hall’s staff has been incredibly supportive in this, providing me with copies of workshop documents to aid my professional development and making introductions to key players in the cultural sector.

Many students and locals aren’t aware of the hidden gem just over Burgoyne Bridge from downtown St. Catharines, but Rodman Hall Art Centre has a renowned reputation in the Canadian & North American Art Community. On top of that, it’s the leading contemporary art gallery for the Niagara Region, and now having worked with its staff I can see why. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to join them for the summer and to return something to a community that was always welcoming.

My internship has allowed me to utilize skills I built in coursework at Brock and bring them into a real world context. I performed research on the artists in Rodman Hall’s exhibition “Afterimage” and the history of the building. I then compiled information into a presentation and gave tours on a weekly basis. Research and presenting are fundamental skills you develop at Brock, and after working here I have learned the importance of the skills you build throughout a university career, not just the knowledge you gain.

Rodman Hall Art Centre has an extensive collection of outdoor sculpture. Here, Fraser leads a group of children in a discussion of Reinhard Reitzenstein's "Carolina Blue" (2017). Photo by Kristen Neudorf.

I would like to say thank you to Danny, Michelle, Marcie, Matt, Emma, Kylie, Ashley, Angelina, Julia, Kristen, Shauna, Tom, Stan, Lauren, Cecilia and all of the familiar faces in the Rodman Hall community who made working there the pinnacle of my time at Brock University!


About ainnes

Social Media Coordinator, Faculty of Humanities, Brock University

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