Junior and senior art students from Coast Union High School went on a field trip last Wednesday to Hearst Castle. They did not take the average tour. Instead, Eric Weiss led them on an adventure behind the scenes to learn about professions within the operation of our treasure, Hearst Castle.
The students met Dave Wilson in the hollows of the mold-making shop, where he creates exact replicas of the Castle’s original faience tiles and cast stone sculptures to keep the Castle in excellent condition.
Next, the students met with Vickie Garagliano, the Castle’s photographer, and learned about her complex job, which includes managing the Castle’s archive of historic photographs along with documenting the collection and creating new images for publication. The students learned more about what steps they must take to launch such a rewarding career.
Finally, the students met conservator Erik Risser, who is trained in both chemistry and fine art. He works on contract to conserve the Castle’s interior painted walls and works of art in the collection.
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“I loved getting the opportunity to be exposed to the various careers at Hearst Castle,” senior student Lupita Castaneda said. “It was awesome to see the restoration work and how it is done. I did not know such careers existed.”
Although many students have visited Hearst Castle with family, this trip provided a completely different way of seeing the Castle as an inspiration for a career.
Mary Levkoff, Hearst Castle museum director, responded enthusiastically to my idea for a career unit for the students. Levkoff commented, “Hearst Castle is a major art museum. Suzette took the initiative to introduce her pupils to some of the professional opportunities that museum work entails.”
The ride back to school was a flurry of excited questions about career choices and new directions of majors and minors to explore in college. Hearst Castle as a classroom was a total success.
The Open Classroom appears quarterly and is special to The Cambrian.