Constructing Identity intern Ayele Ford (far right).

Museum selected to participate in new internship program

The Portland Art Museum announced today that it has been selected as one of 10 museums to participate in the first year of a new paid internship program being launched by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) with additional funding support provided by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Focused on college students from underrepresented communities who are in their sophomore, junior, or senior years, the program will provide an opportunity for students who have begun to solidify their academic interests and potential career path to get hands-on experience in an art museum for 12 weeks during the spring and summer of 2019.

The intern placed here at the Museum will have an opportunity to work in the curatorial department, under the mentorship of Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Sara Krajewski. The focus of their internship will be serving as a curatorial and interpretation assistant for Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal…, a major traveling survey, organized by the Museum and opening October 5, 2019. Hank Willis Thomas examines and reframes race in American culture, with a sharp focus on perceptions and depictions of African Americans in advertising, sports, fashion, photojournalism, and vernacular images. Given the provocative and impactful nature of Hank Willis Thomas’s approach to dismantling racism, we will be working intentionally and respectfully to center people of color and their perspectives in our interpretation strategies.

Smaller projects related to contemporary art collections research and future exhibition development will bring them into contact with registrars, preparators, and designers. Additionally, weekly informational interviews will be scheduled with museum staff members in marketing, development, security, and other departments to give the intern insight into the Museum’s day to day operations. “Our goal will be to work with the intern to tailor a learning experience that offers multiple perspectives on what museum professionals do within the organization and with the community,” Krajewski said.

The intern will receive a stipend of $6,300, as well as opportunities to travel with their mentor to one or two museum field conferences, for networking and professional development, as well to meet their fellow AAMD-sponsored interns from across the country. The application process will open in April 2019 with the aim of starting the internship in early June 2019. Application information will be available at at that time.

“We are thrilled to have been selected to participate in this important internship program during its pilot year, and to provide an opportunity for a college student to work with and learn with us,” said Museum Director Brian Ferriso, who is also a past president of the AAMD. “There is extensive research that shows that fewer than 20% of art museum leadership positions are held by people of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, or multiracial backgrounds. That disparity affects the art that museums present, the programs that museums organize, and the way institutions engage with their communities. We are grateful to AAMD for organizing this program, and to the NEA for their support. Providing paid summer internships to students who want to explore a career in art museums is the first step in cultivating the next generation of art museum professionals, and is in alignment with the equity and inclusion work that we have been doing Museum-wide.”

Following the completion of the internship, both the student and staff from the Museum will submit a written report assessing the program, the goals, and the outcomes. To assess outcomes for future planning and development, participants will also be asked to provide a performance review of the intern, and interns will be asked to provide a self-assessment.