What it's like to be an MCASD intern

 
 

We asked our Summer 2015 interns what it's like to be an intern at MCASD, and here's what they said!

Learn more about our internship programs here. Our summer program is about to end, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for details about our fall offerings. 

(FROM LEFT)

Name: Logan Brantley

School: University of NC Wilmington

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Department: Retail Operations

Most interesting project so far:
Discovering potential new vendors for MCASD’s Museum’s X Store. We just recently started carrying a local jewelry designer’s products and it was very fulfilling to help make her dreams of selling her handmade jewelry come true.

Most inspiring part of interning at MCASD:
The diversity of the MCASD staff is incredible. It’s so inspiring to hear the journeys of different employees during our Intern Learning Seminar meetings.

One of the best moments of internship so far:
This is a hard question because I have had so many pleasant experiences thus far. I think that I am going to go out-of-the-box and say that I am really looking forward to getting to work with fellow interns at the TNT event, where we will also be unveiling four new artist exhibitions at our downtown location. (Editor’s note: TNT took place on July 16, 2015)

Why MCASD:
Being from the east coast, people often ask me how I found out about MCASD. I was researching different museums and came across MCASD online. On the website, I saw that MCASD was exhibiting El Anatsui, who I had planned to write a research paper on for my studio sculpture class at UNCW. I loved the size of the Museum and the community involved programs that I read about on the site, so I decided it would be a great fit for me to apply.

Best part:
I love the comfortable atmosphere of the Museum, and its eagerness to grow. I am proud to say that the word “contemporary” does not only apply to the artwork we exhibit; each employee I come across has vibrant plans for expanding MCASD, whether in their own position, programing, or the Museum itself! It’s great to work with people that think in such an optimistic light.

 

Name: Katherine Pierce

School:University of Richmond

Hometown:  Mercersburg, PA

Department: Registrar

Most interesting project so far:
While the new exhibition was going up in the downtown location, part of the Registrar’s responsibility was to do condition reports on the works being installed. For Pond Lily Over Mushroom Cloud: Byron Kim Adapts the Black on Black Cosmology of Maria Martinez, we were originally sent 78 paintings and had to carefully examine each one to write a condition report observing any damage or potential damage. While this was a somewhat tedious task, it was extremely interesting and rewarding for me to be that close with the art. I could see the artist’s process, the materials used, and could tell how carefully each piece was crafted. I didn’t expect to be that “hands-on” with the process of exhibition install but found it to be an invaluable experience during my time here.

Most inspiring part of interning at MCASD:
Every week the interns have a chance to meet with someone from a different department of the Museum through the Intern Learning Seminar Series. In these meetings, we are able to hear about the many different experiences that led the staff to MCASD. For me, it is inspiring to know that the upper-level staff at MCASD started off where I am now. Knowing that I could someday have a job at an institution like MCASD is very encouraging and inspires me to take every presented opportunity in order to advance my career.

One of the best moments of internship so far:
During my internship, the Registrar Department got a request from a gallery representative of Julian Schnabel asking for any images of his work that was in a MCASD exhibition in 1982. I was tasked with looking through the exhibition file to see if we did have any documents that would be useful to the representative. While looking through the file, I got to see a show full of artist’s I have admired since I first started my studies of art. It was so incredible for me to go back to previous exhibitions and look at the interactions and the way things were organized. It was also really great for me to see when certain pieces came into the Museum’s permanent collection.

Why MCASD:
Being from the east coast, I had never been to the west coast. I know a lot of my friends from here love it and I wanted to see what all the excitement was about. For me, it’s important to explore and visit many different places just for the experience, whether be is good or bad. So in my search for museums I came across MCASD. I love contemporary art and knew that being able to work with artists that are still working and living would be a great experience, so I applied!

Best part:
MCASD encourages building relationships within the team, and in the community around it. There is great programming and many opportunities for the community to get involved in what the Museum has to offer. It is clear that MCASD does what it does for the good of the people, and the good of the art and artists.

 

Name: Devon Bowman

School: University of Southern California

Hometown: La Jolla, CA

Department: Advancement

Most interesting project so far:
Currently I am working on our fall benefit fundraiser Monte Carlo: Glamping. It is rewarding and exciting when I am able to connect with other local organizations as they help support our museum and the local community.

Most inspiring part of interning at MCASD:
Being surrounded by all of my amazing peers and colleagues. Hearing everyone’s stories about how they came to work at MCASD inspires me to believe that it is possible to pursue a career in a nonprofit museum.

One of the best moments of internship so far:
Visiting Elizabeth and Mason Phelps’ home in La Jolla. Their love of contemporary art and photography is evident by their vast collection. This was my first visit to a private collection and it was very intriguing to learn about their collection and exhibition style as a personal preference rather than the exhibition style of a public organization such as MCASD. Seeing some of my favorite artists such as Man Ray, Rauschenberg, and Frankenthaler in a private setting was inspiring.

Why MCASD:
I applied to intern at MCASD because, as a native to La Jolla, I have been coming to the Museum for a long time. As a rising senior at the University of Southern California I am not sure what career path I will follow post-graduate. Through my intern experience and our Internship Learning Seminars, I am learning valuable information about the business of running an art museum that will help me to determine my career path.

Best part:
How the exhibitions and work everyone does here pushes the boundaries in the contemporary art field while still engaging and supporting the local San Diego community.

 

Name: Jessica Bocinski         

School:Chapman University

Hometown:  San Diego, CA   

Department:Communications

Most interesting project so far:
Helping to edit the Museum’s quarterly publication VIEW. In many ways, VIEW sets the stage for which programs each department of the Museum will be pursuing for the next four months. It’s been exciting to see everything come together and to be a part of such an integral interdepartmental collaboration. I have also especially enjoyed learning how to operate and update the MCASD website with new press releases and exhibition information.

Most inspiring part of interning at MCASD:
The most inspiring part of interning at MCASD is being able to work with the incredibly successful and visionary staff. Their life stories and career paths inspire me to work hard, stay passionate, and reach for my dream of working in the art field.  

One of the best moments of internship so far:
One of my favorite moments is undoubtedly the lunch meeting that all the interns had with Hugh Davies, The David C. Copley Director and CEO, as part of our Internship Learning Seminar Series. I was humbled by how generous Hugh was with both his time and knowledge. I left the meeting feeling as though I had gained a great deal of invaluable information about MCASD and the museum industry in general. 

Why MCASD:
When looking for places to host my internship, MCASD stood out as the perfect place. I am an Art History and Communications Studies double major and MCASD was one of the few places that allowed me to combine and explore my two passions together. I was also instantly attracted to MCASD’s commitment to providing internships that consist of substantial and rewarding projects rather than the busy work that is usually given to interns. Every project that I have worked on at MCASD has contributed to my work experience and will translate to whatever internship or job I look for next.

Best part:
One of my favorite aspects of MCASD is its view of art as a platform for education that should be made as accessible to the public as possible. This view is reflected in nearly every aspect of the Museum, from educational programs to free events that are open to the public. I also love how innovative MCASD strives to be with the artists and art projects that are incorporated into exhibitions. MCASD makes an effort to work with artists and to provide them with the venue and freedom to create something revolutionary.

 

Name: Madeline Dorvillier

School:UC Berkeley

Hometown:La Jolla, CA

Department:Curatorial

Most interesting project so far:
I have been working on an exhibition called One Cannot Look: Graphic Wars featuring prints from Francisco de Goya and Rafael Canogar. I’ve really enjoyed researching the artists and writing various wall texts for the exhibit.

Most inspiring part of interning at MCASD:
It is inspiring to be around such talented, accomplished, and passionate art world professionals. They are so excited and invested in making sure the interns get the most out of the experience and that they are integrated into MCASD’s day to day projects. They truly become mentors.  

One of the best moments of internship so far:
I was delighted when my suggestion for an exhibition title was incorporated into the final title! I’ve also loved working with my fellow interns. We have a lot of fun while gaining great work experience and creating valuable connections with each other and the Museum. 

Why MCASD:
I was drawn to the extensive education program, where interns have the chance to attend seminars and meetings with various department heads. The internship program at MCASD is not just your average “fetch the coffee” internship. We are given hands-on experience in helping to plan, organize, and execute real Museum programs and events.

Best part:
As a non-profit, MCASD is committed to serving the community and providing a space for culture and contemporary art. The people who work here are incredibly passionate about what they do and they create a wonderful environment to work in as well as enjoy as a visitor.

 

Name: Kathie Jiang

School:Canyon Crest Academy

Hometown:San Diego, CA

Department:Registrar

Most interesting project so far:
Completing condition reports for works of art prior to their exhibition, like Pond Lily Over Mushroom Cloud: Byron Kim Adapts the Black on Black Cosmology of Maria Martinez, was a hands-on, interactive project that allowed me to work directly and closely with pieces of art. It’s a responsibility that comprehensively captures the necessary elements for working as a registrar at a museum: attention to detail, concern for the safety and welfare of the art, utilizing the museum’s records and database, and collaborating with not only fellow registrars but also with staff members from outside departments such as the art handlers and the artists themselves.

Most inspiring part of interning at MCASD:
The MCASD internship introduced me to and engaged me in the actual duties that a registrar would oversee from a day to day basis. From standardizing the Museum database to witnessing the installation of a new exhibit, my work seems meaningful and relevant to the Museum and me. I’ve heard disappointing internship stories from my friends about running errands for their bosses or not receiving formal training before being assigned to complex tasks; this certainly not the case with a MCASD internship. 

One of the best moments of internship so far:
I enjoy the weekly Summer Intern Learning Seminars in which the department heads describe their path into the museum field and the responsibilities of their job. Each staff member has an inspiring and unique story to tell about the steps taken to reach where he or she is today. As a rising senior in high school, these seminars provide me with guidance and help me set goals for my future.

 

Why MCASD:

I found this internship via the MCASD website, which outlined, in-depth, the types of experiences and skills that the various positions would offer and require, respectively, throughout the two-month duration. An art museum, especially a contemporary art museum, was an excitingly unique way to spend a summer, gathering experience and making memories. And out of all the museum-related volunteer and internship opportunities I found, MCASD’s specific description and variety of possible offices intrigued me the most.

Best part:
Every single member of the staff is incredibly dedicated to their job, as well as welcoming and friendly to the new interns. The artistic surroundings foster a spontaneous, fast-paced environment to work in. This is my first professional work experience, and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start.

 

Name: Katherine Fortier

School:Raja Yoga Institute in La Jolla. I’m a student in their 200-Hour Raja Yoga Advanced Studies & Teacher Training Program. I graduated from Wellesley College in 2005 and intend to pursue graduate studies that will support a career in contemporary art education.

Hometown:New England. I grew up in Connecticut and moved to Boston in 2000, to the Berkshires in June 2014, and then in September 2014 to La Jolla, which is home now—but when I get homesick, it’s for Maine.

Department:Education

Most interesting project so far:
To pick a most interesting project is impossible for me, as everything that I do at the Museum interests me tremendously. Each of the Education Department projects that I’ve had the great privilege to work on (ArtOASIS, Gallery Educator Program, Shore Thing, TNT, Summer C.A.M.P., Sessions in Contemporary Art, etc.) is inherently interesting, as each one is so thoughtfully conceived and skillfully executed by Education Curator Cris Scorza and her team. For me, the project of simply being an MCASD Education Intern is what interests me most. Every day is a new learning experience, a new personal exploration/experiment, a new opportunity to practice being present and serving others as best I can while learning as much as I can—and there is so much to learn here. MCASD is one of the richest learning environments in which I’ve ever immersed myself.

Most inspiring part of interning at MCASD:
Working with Education Curator Cris Scorza. I just turned 33 and in Cris I’ve finally found an inspiring professional mentor—a first for me. They say in Raja Yoga that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I am so grateful that Cris appeared in my life this year. Thanks to her mentorship I now know that I want to become an education curator at a contemporary art institution like this one.

One of the best moments of internship so far:
Every Thursday evening is full of best moments for me because from 5-8 PM. I get to welcome loads of different people to the Museum for Shore Thing and engage them in conversations about MCASD and art and life. I love talking about art and I love connecting with people, and I love learning and sharing ideas and stories and experiences. It’s such a joy!

Why MCASD:
I didn’t expect to be an intern at this point in my life; it wasn’t really part of my plan—at least not until I sat down with Cris in February. As I said, I’m 33 years old, and I’m in that limbo period between college and graduate school—a limbo period that I hadn’t really anticipated, having only really decided at the beginning of this year to redirect my career path from interior design to contemporary art. So for me, once I’d made that decision, there was nowhere else I was even considering applying for an internship. I wanted to be here at MCASD in a more meaningful way than as a member visiting multiple times a week, which I had become shortly after moving to La Jolla last September. I was trained in VTS (Visual Thinking Strategies) at Wellesley College and I was interested in employing that skill set here as a volunteer, and Cris was kind enough to sit down with me in February to discuss how I might become more involved with MCASD. When I left her office over an hour later, I just knew that I had to learn from her—that I had to do whatever it took to become an Education Intern here this summer. It wasn’t just an intellectual decision or a strategic career move. It was a feeling. Not only did I know that it made sense, I felt that I had to do it.

Best part:
I LOVE MCASD for so many reasons. If you really want to know why, come to Shore Thing and ask me.  I’d be delighted to tell you all about this cultural gem.