If Olivia Romeo, ’09, had planned the trajectory of her college internship experience four years in advance, she couldn’t have planned anything half as perfect.

The art history and French double major spent a summer interning for the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and when she left for Paris to spend her fall semester studying abroad, an internship at the Centre Georges Pompidou was already waiting for her.

“I got my first exposure to museum work at the Lila and Joel Harnett Museum right here on campus,” said Romeo.

Romeo, who is also earning a concentration in arts management, fell in love with modern and contemporary art at Richmond.

“It’s different looking at contemporary art. I like that it’s not black and white. Once you can unlock what a piece means, it enhances your experience. I’ve particularly enjoyed looking at contemporary art through the lens of race and gender,” said Romeo.

At the Phillips, Romeo worked in the education department, researching age-appropriate information to include in teaching toolkits. She also assisted with public programs.

In France, she took a course on French art from the 18th century to the present. What she was learning about the Impressionists and Cubists translated directly to the internship she was completing at the Pompidou.

“I spent my time researching an exhibit the Pompidou is doing in 2012 with the Museum of Modern Art. It’s on the American Cubist movement. I compiled research summaries, timelines, biographies and bibliographies in English but presented all my findings in French. My French definitely improved,” said Romeo.

Romeo admits that she took advantage of Richmond’s electronic resources all the way from Paris. Boatwright Memorial Library’s online resources allowed her to log on day or night to find the sources she needed.

An advanced seminar Romeo took in American photography back at Richmond, along with her experiences in Washington, D.C. and Paris, helped her land this summer’s internship at Sotheby’s Auction House.

“The class helped me learn to ask important questions like, ‘Is it art?’, ‘Is it documentary?’, ‘Is it archival?’ and ‘Who’s responsible for defining art?’, said Romeo.

When Romeo found out she would be interning in Sotheby’s photography division this summer, she was thrilled. She will spend two and a half days each week working in the department and the other two and a half days attending lectures and museum tours with the 39 other interns in the Sotheby’s internship program.

Romeo is eager to compare an auction house experience with the two internships she has had in the museum realm.

“I’ve only seen one side of the art world. Auction houses are incredibly influential in setting trends in the art market,” she said.

Regardless of how the summer goes, Romeo’s three unique internship experiences guarantee that she will be able to make smart career decisions when she graduates.

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