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Internship Placement: Art Gallery Intern in Beijing's 798

Exactly how vibrant is China's emerging art scene?

To answer this question, head to 798 Art District in Beijing. 798 is Beijing's - and probably all of China’s - most famous art district. There are a myriad of art galleries located there ranging from traditional Chinese fine art to contemporary and avant garde, from Russian exhibitions of forest scenery to French reproductions of some of the Louvre’s most prominent masterpieces.

The growing art district exhibits more than just small galleries and large installations, it exhibits the burgeoning interest of Chinese people in admiring (and acquiring) works of art. So for those looking to pursue their passion and get involved in the art industry, China offers access to the world's largest consumer base and presents significant opportunities to those with the desire to succeed. Having at least a short experience working in an art gallery or workshop in China will help interns understand how the local population embraces favored art trends and how ready people are to invest their money into paintings and sculptures.

Interning in a Chinese Art Gallery

Mila is one of our former interns who knows what interning in a Chinese Art Gallery is all about. She is from Europe, but has lived in China for the last  6 years in a row. Now she has been offered a good position as a manager of Chinese fine art gallery in her homecountry. Of course, this opportunity would not have materialized without her hard work in previous positions.

Two years ago Mila graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing; she was the only foreigner among her co-students. This alienation made her pretty skeptical about future career opportunities in China, but to her surprise, being a foreigner played to her strong advantage. The ladder to success appeared to be shorter than she thought.

Right after graduation Mila found her first internship in one of the art galleries in Beijing’s 798 district with the assistance of Getin2China's internship experts. The gallery was established by a renowned Chinese contemporary artist and specialized in creating 'futurism art'. It was a sudden change for someone who spent years studying exquisite and sophisticated traditional calligraphy painting.

Nevertheless, the job was as demanding as it was interesting and educating. Apart from assisting in organizing exhibitions, Mila also had to greet visitors (who at times crowded the relatively small gallery), register sales, attend press-conferences and even take interviews from visiting artists to later issue press releases. Mila later confessed that this was the exact sort of experience she needed right out of school. As a result, it was also the exact sort of experience that helped her to land her first real job in one of the largest privately owned galleries in China. There, for a bit more than a year, she sharpened her skills as both PR manager and designer. Apart from daily routine tasks, she was in charge of promoting the gallery’s public image, designing its advertising materials, creating promotional slide-shows and presentations, and even invitation cards for upcoming events.

Looking To The Future

Now, looking back at the past, Mila says that it was her internship at the art gallery that taught her how to learn quickly while on the job, adapt to changing circumstances, interact with people, work under pressure and deliver excellent results. She even had the opportunity to practice her Chinese language skills she acquired while staying in China. But what's most important is that she is now an expert on China’s art market.

There are two trends currently observed in China’s art market: Chinese people developing taste for Western art and Westerners seeking to acquire the works of contemporary Chinese artists. In both of these circumstances, the intermediary role of a person interested in art is required. When people can not speak each other’s language they use the language of art - the one that is universal and understandable. However, completing any sort of actual transaction will require the use of a mitigator, someone to assure a common understanding between both parties. Globalization and digitalization is changing the art industry. Previously fragmented art markets in all parts of the world are beginning to consolidate, creating one large market which where specialists with extensive international experience will be in high demand. As China is a young but very promising art market, completing an internship in one of China's leading art galleries will go a long way  towards achieving your dream of breaking into the art industry and perhaps, eventually becoming a well-paid expert.

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