As an intern at The Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute in nearby Williamstown, Mass., arts management alumna Samantha Bedell ’17 worked in the museum’s marketing and communication department. After graduation, she went on to work with the organization’s summer crew, where her work included guiding visitors through the galleries to view its extensive art collection such as its “Impressionist line,” which includes works by Monet, Gauguin, Manet, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec.
Opportunities like these were part of her decision to attend MCLA. A transfer student at the start of her junior year, Bedell came to campus to participate in our arts management program. She explained, “Arts management is a happy medium between the worlds I want to be a part of; a practicing artist with the ability to sell myself and others, or work for an institution that works to share their collections with the world. There isn’t another program like it in the Northeast.”
Academically speaking, Bedell continued, “The amount of care and dedication that MCLA’s arts management professors put into their students is unparalleled. Each faculty member takes the time and energy to make sure everyone succeeds and graduates from the program with contacts in the area.” In addition, she said, “I took classes that weren’t offered anywhere else.”
Most recently, Bedell has been busy visiting graduate schools and preparing to take the Graduate Record Examination (ERE), with the goal of pursuing her master’s degree at Georgetown’s Art and Museum Studies masters program. Soon, she will head to Florence, Italy, where she will spend yet another internship in a local art gallery. “I cannot wait to go abroad!” she said.
Her time at The Clark was but one of the highlights of Bedell’s MCLA career. As she wrapped up her final semester, she held her first solo art show. Intricacies, which took place in the Amsler Campus Center last April, featured her abstract photographs of tiny subjects. Through these works, she invites viewers of her work to examine the small details of images she captures at a myriad of locations. Each photo is unique, “and the subject is not immediately identifiable.”
She explained, “I’ve always had a passion for photography, but didn’t want to solely pursue it in college. Macro photography has always been one of my favorite subjects, and not many people are familiar with it, so I thought it would be a great focus for the exhibition.”
The show actually began to take shape in fall 2016, when Bedell took a course in “Artist Entrepreneurship.” As part of the class, she was tasked with writing a mini grant for MCLA’s Undergraduate Research Conference, held each spring.
“I didn’t think I would get the grant in any capacity,” she explained, “but, when I found out I was awarded the full amount of $300, I was delighted!”
Bedell also chose MCLA because of the size of the campus. “I completed my two year degree at a large community college with a student population of about 10,000. Attending MCLA was definitely a change. I was able to get to know my classmates and professors in a way I wasn’t able to before.” In addition, “I had wonderful roommates both years, and they ended up being some of my closest friends.”