During the last several semesters our art history majors have interned at the following places: Barnes Foundation, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of Art, Museum of Biblical Art, St. John the Divine, and Salmagundi Art Club.
Internship with TheArtStory.org
My internship with TheArtStory.org was a unique experience that has broadened my understanding of what kinds of jobs are available to people interested in Art History without necessarily having to work directly with a museum. As a fantastic online resource, TheArtStory incorporates academic writing on specific artists and art movements with other online sources to make information completely accessible to viewers for free. I worked mainly as an editor, making final checks of pages before they were published online. The position was work from home, so I needed to learn how to effectively communicate through technology in order to complete the work in a way that reflected the systems already in place on the website. Through this process, I found that Art History is a field that is not limited to traditional jobs in Museums or educational institutions. The website reaches out to academic scholars who write comprehensive biographies and analyses of artists, which are placed on a timeline within the website. The site is constantly growing, publishing new pages every few days. This virtual work atmosphere is a huge collaborative effort, connecting scholars to many readers who may not otherwise have been exposed to reliable information about the artists. Each page that I edited added to my knowledge and understanding of Art History as well. I was introduced to several artists that I had never learned about before, and was able to gain a much deeper understanding of those that I was familiar with. Overall this internship, though untraditional in structure, has truly reinforced my studies in Art History, while at the same time preparing me for job opportunities which rely heavily on technology and collaborative effort. I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to be a part of TheArtStory.org.
Carly Schmidt/Summer 2013
This summer, senior art and art history major Carly Schmidt had an internship at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. She spent three months working first-hand with an incredible array of historic documents in the Barnes’ archives including original blueprints for the foundation’s many buildings. A highlight of the experience was seeing hand-written letters from Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keefe, and Salvador Dali.
Jacqueline Scanlon/Spring 2011
“During the Spring 2011 semester, I spent three months at the Cathedral of St. John The Divine as an intern. Due to my interest in architecture, the Cathedral gave me the tools to learn more about Gothic Revival architecture in a setting that places emphasis on how cathedrals would have actually been built int he Midel Ages. During that time I shadowed tours, researched and presented my own tour to the public and conducted further research on the chapel screens. I gained a great deal of knowledge about the process of creating a tour and the research that goes into it. My specific interest is architectural history. My internship at the Cathedral has helped build on the knowledge given to me by my art history degree and physics minor.
“The tours, specifically creating the tour from research to presentation will also help me in my career as an art historian. I learned how to make a presentation from start to finish with freedom to pick and choose my own path. I have also learned to make the tour flexible so as to fit the group that I am presenting the material to.
“It was also during my tours that most of my education at Wagner came together to help make the intership a more meaningful experience for both me and the visitors. I drew on my speech class, as well as multiple art history and physics classes. I was even able to use my Italian course to help two visitors from Italy understand the material the tour was on. During my time as a tour guide, I also learned the importance of using multiple examples to explain architecture to the visitors to the Cathedral.
“My internship at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine gave me insight into Gothic architecture that I did not have before and ultimately inspired me to apply for the Gaffney Grant. In studying this building the first Neo-Gothic church of its kind in Canada and the topic of Gothic Revival, I will be able to pick up where my internship left off and be able to broaden my knowledge in this area of architectural art history. The paper will focus on the modification of Gothic architecture both in decoration and structure in the Basilica and what makes it Neo-Gothic as opposed to Gothic. The research I did for my tour at the Cathedral and knowledge I gained from it will help me in my future graduate career.”
Jessica Makwinski/Spring 2011
This semester, I interned at the Salmagundi Art Club. As one of the oldest art clubs in the US, Salmagundi represents the trajectory of American art from the late 1800s to present day. The Club consists of members who pay dues which allows their art to be displayed within its multiple galleries. Salmagundi also offers events for members and nonmembers, including book clubs, art talks, tango dances, dinner events, auctions, museum tours and many others, that promote the education and enjoyment of the arts. The Club does not have an internship program, but I approached them and asked if they could use my help as an intern. They were joyful that I was interested, and I was able to experience the art world first-hand in a way that would not be possible in a large museum.
Because they were not familiar with having an intern, my job title was not definite, and I was managing different tasks each time I went. I worked as an art handler, and received incoming paintings and sculptures for upcoming exhibitions and prepared them to be hung. I also took down works from exhibitions that ended and organized them in a way that was easy for artists to pick up their works. I also helped prepare for events that were taking place within the club, most noteworthy their annual Spring Auction.
My education at Wagner has prepared me for my position at Salmagundi. By offering lessons regarding the 501c3 status of the Club, I’ve learned how non profit arts organizations raise money, market themselves, and promote the education of the arts. As society continues to become more technologically driven, my familiarity with social networking tools such as Facebook, came in handy, particularly in such a traditional organization that was lagging with online marketing. I was able to use marketing techniques and devices that I learned through my education at Wagner to help the Club spread awareness about their organization through the internet.
The most valuable tools that I’ve gained from my experience at the Club is how art functions in the real world. Watching the buying and selling of art in a gallery setting is interesting, in particular the auctions which are designed as a fundraiser for the Club. I’ve also enjoyed meeting artists who have had many years of experience in the field and have offered me much advice regarding my future goals and my career plans.