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Opening New Doors for Art and Art History Majors

Thanks to a recent $200,000 grant from the Hearst Foundations, art and art history majors now have a better chance to find paid and meaningful summer internships. Through this funding, the Department of Art and Art History is able to develop and strengthen partnerships with local art institutions, which has already resulted in six students being placed in positions at the Montalvo Arts Center and the Palo Alto Art Center during the summer of 2014, the same year that the grant was awarded to Santa Clara. “In comparison to students in other majors, students in art and art history traditionally have more difficulty finding opportunities to develop their skills over the summer and, when they do find them, the positions are often unpaid. This initiative is meant to help bridge that gap for them,” said Art History ProfessorKaren Fraser, a specialist in Asian art at Santa Clara University.

Marina MacLatchie, a graduating senior who is specializing in modern and contemporary art, obtained a three-month internship with the Montalvo Arts Center’s Residency Program, where she managed daily operations and worked with a diverse group of interdisciplinary artists, national and international. “Thanks to the support I received from my department at SCU, I didn’t have to choose between earning money and gaining professional experience. I got both during my internship. And this was a wonderful experience that was full of growth as I had a chance to work with many professionals in my field. I made so many good contacts.” Marina, also an assistant exhibition coordinator at the de Saisset Museum on campus since her sophomore year, plans to apply to a master’s program in Art History after graduation. “My dream is to eventually obtain my PhD so I can teach art,” she concludes.

This initiative is one of five comprised within the University’s Community Initiatives for the Visual Arts, or CIVA, which are meant to provide practical experience for students and opportunities for community engagement through the integration of creativity and the study and practice of art. Professor Fraser, who also administers the grant, has recruited seven different organizations to open their doors to Santa Clara students this coming summer. The organizations include the Triton Museum, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Art in Action (in Menlo Park), MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana), and Zero-1, in addition to Palo Alto Art Center and Montalvo. “The goal is to have our students participate in meaningful work at these institutions, which may include curatorial activities, arts education, or research, while also receiving a stipend for their work,” said Professor Fraser.

The Hearst Foundations grant is renewable, so it has the potential to fund CIVA beyond its original three-year term. But to Professor Fraser, the grant “also provides an opportunity for the University to continue to build deeper and more permanent interactions and connections with these local institutions. That in itself is very valuable and may in the long-run result in more summer internships and opportunities for our students.”

More About CIVA

In addition to the initiative outlined above, CIVA will focus on four other key areas over the next three to four years: 1) small community art projects, such as student curatorial activities or art projects connected to social justice courses, 2) course offerings through the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute, 3) student involvement in researching potential art acquisitions for the University, and 4) exploring opportunities with the Leavey School of Business for expanded course offerings related to non-profit organizations, such as classes in museum studies and arts management.

CIVA,art,art history