Laura Quintrell '12 Explores Art Down Under

Posted: April 27, 2009

Fascinated by art from around the world, Cleveland native Laura Quintrell '12 took a gap year after graduating from high school and traveled to places rich in art, history, and culture. Whether she was in India, Italy, or New Zealand, she saw works of art everywhere she went--and not just paintings on museum walls.

"It's really an amazing experience to see a piece of artwork such as the Taj Mahal in person. Seeing it on a slide does not compare to the real-life experience," Quintrell said.

As a first-year student, Quintrell took advantage of her first January Term to return to New Zealand and intern as executive managing assistant at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington. Quintrell worked in museum merchandising, gallery purchasing, and memberships. She also assisted with a traveling exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci and helped select student artists to feature in the museum.

Quintrell's first visit to New Zealand during her gap year was life changing. She interned at the Museum of Wellington and fell in love with New Zealand's history, art, and culture, especially that of its native people, the Maori--something she hopes to continue to study while at Mount Holyoke.

"I want to study Maori art because it can tell you so much about the myths and culture behind the Maori people," she said.

Quintrell's return to New Zealand this past January not only allowed her to further explore Kiwi culture, but also helped her gain perspective about what it takes to run an art museum.

"In a museum, administration is where a lot of community outreach is done. I’m a really big fan of getting art into the community. Especially now with school budget cuts, I think it’s important for children to have an avenue for artistic expression. You can’t really have a full education without it," she said.

Quintrell, who plans to major in art history and to continue studying Maori art, hopes to gain experience working at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and would eventually would like to return to New Zealand for graduate school.

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