How to survive college

An English Major at Florida International University, Frank spends his time tutoring fellow college student writers to help them become better communicators. Having migrated to the United States at the age of 11, he comes from a very diverse and multicultural background that allows him to have a great deal of global awareness. His goal is to work as a copywriter in a Advertising firm, designing commercials and slogans to reach a global audience.

During Fall 2013, and only as a College Freshman, I was fortunate enough to land an Internship with ArtNexus Magazine. ArtNexus is a Colombian owned publication that covers the world of Latin American Contemporary Art, extending from auctions and exhibitions to detailed expositions of celebrated and upcoming artists. They have close ties to Art Basel Miami Beach, being the main provider of Guided Tours and owning an auction booth inside the art fair. Catering to more than 20,000 subscribers.
My initial goals when earning this internship were to gain as much knowledge and training as possible in the industry. All of the Interns hired with me would work at the Miami Beach Convention Center during Art Basel Week, but in the meantime we would be doing office work. I was told I would be an Editorial Intern, meaning my position would be more in regards to the publication itself than that of other interns, who’s job leaned more towards event planning. I was to work under the Editor in Chief, researching the latest expositions showcasing Latin American Art and crafting all kinds of articles to be either printed or posted on the Magazine’s website.
I began researching dozens of stories for the Magazine, so much so that I was even doing the Editors work, self-publishing the best material. As the weeks passed and I gained my boss’s trust, I was assigned increasingly complicated tasks, such as writing reviews for artist publications and solo exhibitions. Within a few days I had to read 3-4 books and give detailed reviews of their content and style; and for exhibitions I had to look piece by piece at every art work on exposition and do hours of research to present my educated opinion.
This part I will admit was extremely challenging. I had no prior knowledge of any artists I worked with, so for every book and show I had to review, I was starting from scratch. It took quite some time to familiarize myself with the language and style required to write an artistic review, as well as to understand the feelings or messages that artists were trying to transmit (which could be impossible to recognize sometimes). After a few attempts I began to grasp concepts and eventually inspiration came more naturally and I stopped looking for hidden meanings. If there is one thing I learned is that when it comes to contemporary art, sometimes the absurd is just that, absurd.
As Basel Week got closer, stress multiplied by the minute and my editorial activities began crossing over to event planning. I found myself contacting gallery owners, private collectors and museum curators to exchange information about auctions and expositions sponsored by ArtNexus. Almost without noticing, I was able to speak on the phone with curators from very famous museums, including Mr. Luiz Perez-Oramas, Curator of Latin American Art at MoMa. At this point I realized how incredibly lucky I was to be part of an organization that had people like him in their phone book.
Finally, the first week of December came, and with that, Art Basel. All ArtNexus employees were given badges to walk freely in and out of the exhibits, and we were also invited to an exclusive first look the day before the fair opened. Being completely honest I can say this was the best part of the whole experience, and any free time I had I used to get lost among the dozens of galleries that participated. While thousands of people had to wait in line and pay large sums of money to get in for a few hours, I walked in and out at will.
How did I get so lucky to be a part of such a grand, world recognized event being an inexperienced freshman? That’s the funny part. On a day like any other, Art Nexus recruits set up shop outside my art history class, and were interviewing dozens of candidates. Almost by accident, I stumbled onto them and decided to give it a shot…and what followed was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

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