Flagler students accepted to elite school

Two students will hop the pond to study at Sotheby’s in London

By Brittany Hackett

Of the 200 or so applicants who apply every year to the prestigious Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, only 50 make the cut into the graduate program. This year, two of these were Flagler College students.

Kendall Bennet, 22, and Rachel Goldsby, 22, will live in London for fourteen months while attending the Institute to receive Masters of Contemporary Art degrees. The highly competitive Institute is connected to the famous Sotheby’s auction house, which gives any degree received from the art school a reputation of its own.

Don Martin, chair of the Art Department, said, “Sotheby’s is one of those words that means quality. It’s a brand name with a lot of value.”

The journey for Bennett and Goldsby, who were friends before they applied to Sotheby’s, began last semester when Bennett, a history major with an art history minor, did an Internet search for graduate programs that offered museum studies and art history. She was surprised to find that Sotheby’s had a graduate school in addition to the auction house.

Bennett told Goldsby, a graphic design major with an art history minor, about the program and the two decided to apply even though neither of them were expecting to get accepted.

“I wasn’t getting my hopes up but I didn’t disregard it either,” Goldsby said.

The application process included a standard application and an interview with a Sotheby’s representative. On the first weekend of December, Bennett and Goldsby traveled to Miami for their interview.

“The interview was the hard part,” Bennett said. The girls found out they were two of the 50 students accepted into the program over the winter break.

Both were shocked that they had been accepted into the program. “I just could not believe that they accepted both of us,” Bennett said.

“I was thrilled, but not entirely surprised,” Martin said. He had spoken with each of the girls about their interest in art history and wrote letters of recommendation for them. “It takes a lot of ambition to even try.”

The 14-month program begins in September, but Bennett and Goldsby will move to London in August to set up the flat they plan on sharing. It is a comfort to both knowing another student from Flagler will be attending Sotheby’s.

“It’ll be good to be with someone you know. I had been planning on going by myself,” Goldsby said. “[Bennett] going makes it easier to deal with being homesick.”

Bennett agrees, calling Goldsby “a little piece of home” that will help make the experience easier.
The program is designed for students who would like to work in commercial galleries or public museums, which are the two fields Bennett and Goldsby would like to pursue after their completion of the program.

“Ideally I’d want to be museum curator for the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh,” Bennett said. She has also considered being a private curator for individual art collectors. Goldsby is also looking into the gallery or museum career aspects, and looks forward to the opportunity to work in Sotheby’s auction house.

Their positive attitude about travel and study overpowers the fear the two may feel about taking on this new challenge. Goldsby hopes more students will apply to graduate school, even if there is a doubt or fear because the risk is worth the reward to her.

“If you are afraid of everything you’ll never do anything,” Goldsby said.

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