It's a simple idea, but a good one. New York's Lehmann Maupin Gallery, which opened in Hong Kong on Pedder Street on March 14, is offering a locally based student the chance to intern at its US location for the month of July. The internship is paid, and Lehmann Maupin will also offer a travel stipend.
"It's a way for us to integrate in to the community that is not commercial," says partner and gallery director Courtney Plummer, who is now based in Hong Kong. "One thing we noticed when we moved here and hired the staff was that there were a lot of young people working in the arts, and there really needed to be some kind of professional training programme for them. We wondered what we could do to help with this.
"Everyone at the gallery, all of my colleagues, have built a whole career on internships. So we thought this would be something that we could do that would be simple and encouraging, and would bridge the gap a little bit."
Plummer says that the successful applicant will learn how a New York office and gallery runs: "It could be anything from doing basic things to helping some of the sales people. They will be in a gallery which is producing shows every six to eight weeks, so there is always lots of work to be done. The internship is really about getting involved at all the different levels of the work," she says.
Lehmann Maupin is known as a progressive gallery, exhibiting works by British "bad girl" artist Tracey Emin, among others.
"It will give the successful applicant the opportunity to get creative. Our New York gallery and our Hong Kong galleries are working together, and this will be a great opportunity for them to get to know the New York gallery and the New York art world," says Plummer.
Hong Kong lacks art museums, so being in the proximity of great institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art will augment the successful candidate's knowledge of art history, Plummer says.
"It will be interesting work experience, but also an interesting cultural experience, whereby they can take back some ideas to Hong Kong," she says. "It will be a good foundation for a career in the arts."
Lehmann Maupin is an artist-focused gallery, so candidates should be prepared to work hard "and have a creative mind", says Plummer. The intern "should be someone who is really dedicated to working with artists during their career".
Would Lehmann Maupin ever think about doing it the other way around, and bringing a US intern to Hong Kong? The Asian art market is developing at speed, and hands-on knowledge of its specific culture and practices could come in useful back in the United States.
"This is just the first idea that we have had, and there is no reason that we couldn't develop it," says Plummer. "It's an exciting opportunity, not just for the applicant, but for us as well. It's such simple idea, I don't know why no one has done it before."
Lehmann Maupin, founded by Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin, opened in New York in 1996. Applications can be made online at lehmannmaupin.com  The deadline is April 26.