Inside the Arts with the Gregg's preparator, Matthew Gay

Photo by Rachel Berbec.

In anticipation of the grand unveiling of the new Gregg Museum of Art & Design next year, ArtsNow went Inside the Arts with the staff to learn about a day in the life. Meet Matthew Gay.

LG: So I heard you have a lot of jobs…

MG: I do, I do. But the main job I have is exhibitions. My days range from installations, de-installations, picking-up, returning, packing and unpacking, and any prep, like hanging hardware or making a specific mount for something, and actually framing artwork too. I was working on a frame just this morning, joining the corners, and milling the frame profile and the whole assembly. My job changes day to day. For instance, for the rest of today, I’ll do some photography and some graphic design. The photography is related to the upcoming catalog for the opening show. And the graphic design pieces will be for the poster and mailers that we’ll share. 

LG: How long have you been with the Gregg?

MG: I started at The Gregg as an intern my senior year at NC State. I minored in art and design in the College of Design. When the semester internship ended, I kept sticking around because I liked it so much. The summer I graduated the guy who was doing this position left and so it naturally transitioned into a full time gig. I guess they liked me enough to keep me on and I’ve been here ever since.

LG: What was it about the internship that kept you wanting to come back?

MG: I found I really enjoyed the hands on aspect. Throughout college, I was looking for something that was arts related but hands on. I never thought of museums as an occupation. Also, I clicked well with the staff and it’s nice that it’s a smaller museum – I like that I handle multiple aspects. 

LG: What’s the dynamic of the staff here?

MG: There is certainly collaboration. Maybe this is too loose of a term, but I think we’re like a family because we interact with each other daily on a number of topics, and ask for help and opinions. It’s all hands on deck all the time. We all lean on one another to do our tasks.

LG: What technologies will the Museum have that will allow for better preventative conservation?

MG: Right off the loading dock there will be a quarantine space. Any objects that come in will be frozen to kill any pest, thawed, and then added to the collection.  

LG: What are you most looking forward to for new location?

MG: Having our own space. Our own building. Our own sign. It’s a big deal.

LG: What’s the one piece of advice you rely on most?

MG: Putting the idea of value out of your mind. Just to keep yourself from getting too nervous – you don’t want to be over worried and drop something because you’re overly nervous or something. Just being patient, careful and relaxed – all at the same time.


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