Danielle “Dani” Sagirs has been working three jobs this summer, but she set aside some time last month to tell us about her experiences. The rising senior studio art major, with an art history minor, has been a gallery assistant for the Paul R. Jones Gallery and the University of Alabama Gallery at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center in downtown Tuscaloosa for the last six months. She also worked as a bindery assistant and delivery driver at UA Printing Services. And, she worked a few nights a week as shift leader at McAlister’s Deli. Of the three jobs, Sagirs said she enjoys the gallery assistant job the most. Working in that world has only heightened her desire to continue working in the art world after she graduates.
The Jones Gallery recently hired a new director, Karen Kennedy. Because Sagirs was familiar with the daily running of the gallery, she was able to help Kennedy learn the ropes and make a smooth transition. Sagirs also assists PRJ Collections Manager Emily Bibb with the exhibitions. “On a regular basis, I assist with the packaging and installation of exhibits, completing condition reports, checking inventory for the Lofts (accommodations for visitors of the College of Arts and Sciences).” She acts as gallery guide with information about the exhibitions and the artists whose work is on the walls. UA Printing Services has been her longest job, having been there more than 3 years. She delivers finished jobs and proofs around campus, works in the bindery department where she assists in the production processes for pamphlets, books and similar items.
Beyond this summer, Sagirs has a very practical outlook for her immediate future. After she graduates in May 2017, she said she wants a steady job — period. “My decision to do this is merely to stay ahead of the game in a society that doesn’t guarantee a job.” But she does plan on going to graduate school, possibly in Library and Information Studies or Museum Studies. And, beyond the next few years, Sagirs wants to stay in the art world. “I have a lot of experience in customer service and I enjoy working with people. I would be happy doing anything revolving around art, whether it was taking photos, promoting other artists or curating. My work at the galleries has intensified these feelings quite a bit.”
Our series “What We Did on Our Summer Vacations!” gives a glimpse into the lives of University of Alabama artists and art historians – both student and professional – when they aren’t attending fall and spring classes.