________________________Please do not hesitate to direct all comments, questions, and inquiries to grahamarader@gmail.com_____________________________

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blake Ellison's analysis of the value of the Arader Gallery's School. This is the only school in the world that teaches how to sell art.


Today I worked largely on the Michigan College View and my internship-concluding essay. I completed the former this morning, soon after arriving. In the midst of working on this, I manned the front desk for several stints. In the middle of the day, I accompanied Helene down to 72nd street where we picked up several pieces and returned them to 1016. I continued to man the front desk. After a while, I took a quick lunch break with Richard and Dan. When we returned, I began working on the essay detailing what I had learned over the past seven weeks. This took quite a while and work was also interrupted by several stints at the front desk. By the end of the day, however, it was completed. It is at the bottom of this email.

Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity to intern here at Arader Galleries. I have truly learned much and am sincerely grateful. It has been my great pleasure to work here. 


                Reflecting on the past seven weeks that I have spent as an intern at Arader Galleries, I must express the sincere gratitude I feel for the wonderful experience I was afforded. This experience was exceptionally diverse, with no two days presenting the same set of challenges, and taught me valuable lessons concerning business, relationships, and art. Overall, I have gained much as a result of my time at Arader Galleries and intend to take the knowledge and skills I have obtained to my future studies and career.

                Being a business student, when reflecting over the past seven weeks and the knowledge I have obtained, my mind is immediately drawn to that which has direct application to my studies. While Arader Galleries is first and foremost an art gallery, it is also a functioning business that has experienced impressive success in its chosen field. Graham Arader, the gallery’s owner, began working in the industry during his days at Yale University dealing in prints concurrently with his schooling. Over forty years later, Arader Galleries has locations in New York City, Philadelphia, Houston, King of Prussia, and San Francisco. It has been my great pleasure to view, on a first-hand basis, the interworking of the gallery from a business standpoint. I have had the opportunity to visit several other gallery locations, take part in maintaining an extensive and valuable inventory, observe exchanges with clients and take part in them myself, as well as work closely with projects essential to the gallery’s development and business ventures. Undoubtedly, the most valuable opportunity I was granted was the chance to be treated like a full employee, complete with the responsibilities and expectations that accompany such a position. I will admit, as a college student this prospect seemed daunting at times, but the experience I gained as a result is something I believe most interns are not often given.

                Throughout the course of the summer, the interns would gather with Graham on a weekly basis at which time we would discuss the principles of conducting business in the art world. Perhaps the most stressed ideal that Graham affirmed was the need to be passionate about one’s work. His chosen path is natural history art and historically significant maps, but ours, he would state, could be whatever we choose. This principle is integral largely because in order to succeed in the professional sphere, it is imperative that one be well-versed in the products they deal. A dealer needs to know every detail of the products they offer so they might highlight those appropriate to a particular client. If one is truly passionate about a subject, it is not difficult for them to spend their time acquainting themselves with pertinent material. In fact, the accumulation of knowledge comes naturally and, as a result, one can best meet a customer’s needs. On a personal level, working to contribute something significant to a field of special interest is individually fulfilling. There are few greater deeds a man or woman can perform.

                As mentioned previously, this summer I was often given the task of interacting directly with clients, frequently on a one-on-one basis. Graham continuously emphasizes the importance of establishing relationships with the clients one serves. He explained on several occasions that the relationship between seller and customer is mutually beneficial. The seller is to be an agent of the client, watching out for items of potential interest in the patron’s stead. Similarly, the customer supports the dealer by rewarding their efforts financially. Such a vital relationship, based principally on the compatibility of two personalities, is incredibly delicate and can be disrupted by even the smallest offense or mistake. Again, clients being the lifeblood of any business but particularly that of an art gallery, this speaks to the responsibilities given to me, an intern. With this hefty responsibility, however, came great reward.  Through repeated dealings, I learned how to best communicate with a client as well as how to actively listen and determine a client’s interest. In this case as with many others, practice makes perfect. Though I can hardly claim to be perfect at customer relations, the genuine experience I obtained certainly allowed me to feel more comfortable such a capacity. 

                Prior to my internship, I knew very little regarding the art world, especially the niche of natural history artwork that Arader Galleries occupies. In this respect, I cannot consider myself an expert after seven weeks, but I have learned a substantial amount about the likes of John James Audubon, Alexander Wilson, and their fellow natural historians. Through books, individual offerings, or interactions with my knowledgeable coworkers, I have been taught much on the lives and styles of these prolific artists. Perhaps more importantly, I have gained an understanding of their contributions to natural history and art as a whole. Surrounded by the finest examples of their works, I can now appreciate the sheer magnificence of a colorful bird portrayed at the forefront of stunning landscape or the delicate beauty of one of Redoute’s roses. As gallery owner Graham Arader might assert, this comprehension and awareness of natural history art contributes more to a person than a simple bit of information. Such an appreciation contributes to the holistic person, one founded in a diverse array of disciplines through which one can recognize the finest expression of human creativity.

Blake Ellison
Candidate for the B.S. in Economics
The Wharton School | University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2014

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