Alanna Carrol was Rancho Los Cerritos’ Arts Council of Long Beach-funded intern in the fall of 2017. A little about her experiences here, in her own words, below.
I am an artist from Southern California who moved to Long Beach to attend California State University Long Beach. Now graduated, I freelance as an illustrator, face painter and storyboard/concept artist, and work in the service industry. I collect succulents that have a significantly shorter lifespan than the species is supposed to, and always look forward to my next escape from the city to the mountains and deserts of California.
I acted as Rancho Los Cerritos’ curatorial intern during my final semester in college, where I received a BFA in Illustration and a minor in American Indian Studies. The intern position was of particular interest to me due to the site’s connection to Tongva history, the original inhabitants of the Los Angeles basin and a significant subject of my studies. While an intern at the Rancho I was able to assist Sarah Wolk Fitzgerald, the curator, in research for a planned exhibit to include the site’s collection of Native American baskets, an opportunity that allowed me to apply some of the principles I had only encountered in classes regarding representation of indigenous communities in museums. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could work on a project that so closely related to my interests and see the early stages of exhibit development.
I was also lucky enough to research, design and install my own exhibit that discussed medicine and health in the mid 19th to early 20th century. The Rancho’s varied collection allowed me to gather historical objects that illustrated the striking narrative of medical advancements during critical transitions in the field, and explore Southern California’s role in the medical landscape. The exhibit included some of my favorite collection pieces, a surgical kit still containing its original contents, fierce scalpels and wickedly sharp tweezers, and a medical formulary that complied the most modern medical practices of the time, which expresses that period of medicine with astounding clarity.
I am proud of the work I did as an intern and am grateful to Rancho Los Cerritos and The Arts Council for Long Beach for the opportunity. My experience as a curatorial intern fostered a deeper curiosity and appreciation for the complexities of our shared history and will continue to impact how I live, work and create art.