Exploring the Arts!

Hello. My name is Hunter Gutierrez and I am from Pojoaque Pueblo. I am a Coe Center summer intern. I am currently attending the University of Denver. I will be a junior as I begin the 2023 school year. I am a Real Estate Major, and looking to pursue a career in either Construction Management or Real Estate. This summer, I had the great opportunity to work with the Coe Center on a variety of projects. As a recipient of the Higher Education Scholarship from Pojoaque Pueblo that allows me to attend college, I am required to do forty hours of community service for each semester and the summer. Any break that I have had from school since 2021, after starting my undergraduate degree, I have worked with the Coe Center to fulfill my required hours. In the past, I have helped with construction renovations on the Project Space Building, from painting the walls, painting bathroom floors, patching leaks on the roof, fixing electrical problems in the rooms, building an asphalt ramp, and so much more. This summer, I received my biggest responsibility yet at the Coe Center––organizing the library.

The library consists of around 3,500 books ranging from topics on Africa, Asia, Bibliographies, Fiction, Encyclopedias, General books on North American Peoples, Great Basin, Meso-America, Northeast, Northwest Coast, Oceania, Plains, Southeast, Southwest, South America, Ted Coe’s writings, Woodlands, and Great Lakes. Books were scattered from offices and spaces on the first and second floor. Initially, this task seemed super daunting, but I knew I had to take it one day at a time with the library. My plan of action for organizing the books was to first pull them out one by one and put them into piles based on category. Next, I would put the categories on a designated numbered shelf, alphabetize, and catalog them in the Excel master catalog. It sounds easy to do when it is black and white, but the books had to be moved between floors and the categories were all over the building. In the beginning, Rose’s (Coe’s Collection Manager) office looked like a warzone with books in piles all over the tables, and tons of books in boxes under the tables and in corners. Rose and I then devised a plan to create new places for the categories to go. Upstairs houses all the specific categories and downstairs library shelves hold the General and Encyclopedic volumes. After two months I was finally able to see immense progress on this project.

Other than the library, there were several other projects I was able to assist with. I helped prepare the installation of the Looking Again exhibit. This included museum object handling, painting pedestals, and installing hardware to hang textiles. I also assisted with the collection inventory. This was a big task to complete this summer. It entailed cataloging every piece of the collection into the collection database to list its location in the building. I was able to inventory around 500 items of the 2,565 items in the entire collection. Like the library, items could be found from every office and room. At first it was a challenge to track down individual items. As we cataloged more and more pieces, I started to memorize where certain pieces were and became very familiar with the collection. This allowed me to gain a closer connection to the collection. It was exciting to learn the history and rich culture behind the various items.

Overall, this summer was an amazing experience at the Coe Center, because this was the first time I truly was immersed into the art world. In past jobs, I have done work that was mentally draining. Working here was a fresh change for me and allowed me to explore a new field other than the ones I have worked in. I have never thought about pursuing a career in the art world. I have had my sights set on a certain field for a long time, and it feels good to see other options out there. It has allowed me to see an overlap between the construction/real estate and art world. I have learned a great deal of information from working at the Coe Center and owe it all to the amazing mentors I have. Thank you to Rachel, Alex, and Rose, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Coe Center in the future.

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