Focus Program Arts - Behind the Scenes at the Getty Center

Dr. Stephanie Schrader, Curator of Drawings at Los Angeles’ famed Getty Center (and sophomore Louisville mom) hosted a tour behind the scenes for our Focus Program Arts cohort. Our students learned all about what goes into the conception, design, development, and promotion of new exhibits at the Getty. From storage and preservation to framing, display and labeling, these exhibits rotate the pieces in the Getty collection into public view in a meaningful and creative way. Read about our incredible visit...

In the archives, students got a close-up look at drawings by Rembrandt, Bonnard, and Leonardo da Vinci. They learned about how these works are affected by time, light and humidity. Through halls filled with wooden shipping crates and lined with banners from past exhibits, the group moved on to the Design department hosted by Julie Garnett. She explained the cooperative process to develop the upcoming Michelangelo drawings exhibit. We saw the scale model of the gallery known as the “doll house” used for planning, the stands and labels that will fill the gallery, and the promotional banner designs for streets around Los Angeles.

Next we met with drawings Assistant Curator Edina Adam in her first Getty exhibit called Artists on the Move: Journeys and Drawings. The finishing touches are being done before the public can see her display of drawings exemplifying the artists’ journey outside his home country. Her deep knowledge of these works allow her to arrange the selected pieces to tell stories of these artists’ lives.

Finally we met three Conservators in their lab where they preserve, repair and analyze works of art. They are able to apply their deep knowledge of art history and collaborate with chemists to verify the age of a paint and paper. Before the Getty purchases works of art, these experts make sure it truly is what they expect it to be.

Dr. Schrader changed our understanding of how a museum shares its art with the public, and its responsibility to protecting and preserving the valuable pieces. The enthusiastic people we met shared about their own jobs and the collaboration required with many different departments. Our thanks go out to these wonderful Getty Center professionals who opened our eyes to their world!

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