Columbus Arts Internships

  1. For my STEP Signature Project, I spent the summer in Columbus interning at the Columbus Museum of Art and ROY G BIV Gallery. I also did volunteer work at 934 Gallery in preparation for their annual fundraiser “934 Fest”. The Columbus Museum of Art took me on as an intern within their Special Events Department, but I had the opportunity to explore many different departments including Collections & Exhibitions, Curatorial, Marketing, and Learning. ROY G BIV Gallery is in the process of transitioning from the Short North to Franklinton, so I mostly worked remotely for them in collaboration with their Director, Haley. I culled entries for a pop-up summer show, as well as their upcoming exhibition season. Haley taught myself and another intern how to hang artworks and wall texts and we installed the entire pop-up show at Wild Goose Creative.


  1. Many of my views have changed as a direct result of my STEP Signature Project. I thought that I wanted to work in a museum or gallery setting, and I’ve now learned that I don’t enjoy working in larger institutions. I also found myself struggling within non-profit and volunteer sectors where there’s a huge focus on the financial side of things and who will fund/sponsor activities and daily operations. I think I’ve found that the most important thing to me in whatever environment I find myself in is the people. I’ve learned that just because an institution may appear to uphold certain values and principles, in practice that isn’t always actually the case. These experiences served as a much-needed reminder that even though it may seem like I’ve finally “figured it out”, in fact, I’m always learning and evolving, and what I want and need won’t remain static either.


  1. Unfortunately, I had a series of negative interactions that led to these (important) realizations. I came into the Columbus Museum of Art with a lot of respect for the institution and museums as a whole, despite a somewhat rocky beginning where there was a lapse in contact. Overall I didn’t feel valued or like the majority of individuals I was working with had any desire to know anything about me. I struggled with the way that employees spoke about each other and clients outside of their presence. I dealt more with these experiences within Special Events and Marketing, where I spent most of my time. I did have some positive experiences in other departments, namely Collections & Exhibitions and Education. Overall I felt that the interior life of the museum was chaotic and disjointed, and in my time there art wasn’t viewed, analyzed, or spoken about in the ways that I enjoy doing in class. While I enjoyed discussing art preservation with Collections & Exhibitions, the rest of my experience in conversation with works of art was how to attract more visitors and ticket events or encourage contributions. I encountered similar episodes of cognitive dissonance volunteering with 934 Gallery. While there was certainly a push to secure artists of both the visual and musical variety, overall I still felt like I was just helping to create a kind of facade. The majority of the conversations were regarding marketing, merchandise, snacks, and alcohol. While I felt that–naturally as operating entirely on a volunteer-basis–the individuals connected to this Gallery had more of a vested interest in the art than those at the CMA, I still felt like myself and other volunteers were essentially warm bodies, despite my being entrusted with large tasks. I did truly enjoy my experience with ROY G BIV Gallery. This felt like the most personal experience I had, and I feel I’ve been able to build a meaningful relationship with the Director. Works of art and their presentation were carefully considered and enjoyed. I think that with ROY G BIV I was working most closely with the art and how the public would interact with it, and I found this is what I enjoyed the most. Overall, the best experiences I had were the ones where I got to work closely with someone else and with the art; such as the remote work I did with Haley that I would meet up every couple weeks to discuss, or the archival work I did with a registrar at the Museum.


  1. These experiences are very valuable as they’re going to inform my future decisions with the things I choose to be a part of and the people I choose to surround myself with. I think I have a much better sense of self and what I do and don’t like academically and professionally after this summer. I am able to make more informed decisions overall about the ways I spend my time outside of school as well as how I focus my studies. I’ve continued to get involved with arts-related organizations, but again I have found that intentionality plays a huge role in what I am drawn to. I think that smaller organizations as a whole are better equipped to provide more intimate and personally meaningful impacts. I’ve learned the valuable lesson that a university campus can be something of a bubble. I tend to be surrounded by like-minded people or at least people that I feel respect my experiences. I’ve learned that outside of this campus, just because something carries an “art” label, that doesn’t mean that these projects or people will share my intentions or even be particularly open-minded. It doesn’t even mean that we will share the same definition or appreciation of art, whereas this had been a pretty safe bet on campus. I’ve learned that it might be harder than I anticipated to find the people and spaces that help me grow, but that it is so worth it to keep searching.A work from one of the youth visitors at the CMA from one of my first days there that got me really excited to work with kids in shadowing a docent and helping with Teen Open Studio!

    From the CMA’s “Measure of Humanity” summer exhibition; during a walk-through with the contemporary curator Tyler and the docents.

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