For art students, a time to intern

The Career Center has an individual department fair that helps Tyler students to connect with potential employers.

Ashley Jones of the Career Center helps students at Tyler as they prepare to apply for internships. | courtesy ASHLEY JONES
Ashley Jones of the Career Center helps students at Tyler as they prepare to apply for internships. | courtesy ASHLEY JONES

For Tyler School of Art students looking for internships this summer and beyond, Temple career coach Ashley Jones said that like most other fields, networking is key. 

“I don’t know how many internships happen just because of a conversation,” Jones said. “Just thinking about who you know right now – professors, peers, administrators – and trying to tap into what they have, but also the connections that they have.”

Each semester, the Career Center holds a career fair for all students, but Jones said individual departments also hold their own fairs, which she said are great ways for students to get in touch with alumni and other professionals within their field of study.

“You often just need that Temple connection,” Jones said. “To be able to say, ‘I’m a Temple student, I see that you’re doing this. Can you tell me about any opportunities?’”

In addition to department career fairs, Kari Scott, the Student Life coordinator for Tyler, is assisting students as they attempt to make connections with artists in Philadelphia. She operates an art mentor program and runs other events that involve the participation of Tyler alumni.

Through Student Life, Scott has created a summer program which pairs Tyler students with local artists, galleries, curators and people in other fields who are in need of interns. Scott said it tends to be a more complex process to seek interning opportunities in the fine arts fields, so programs like this can be instrumental to Tyler students receiving hands-on career experience.

These internships are unpaid and only available for rising seniors, but they offer students an opportunity to work with artists in their medium, something students said is important, especially in Philadelphia.

“There is really an emphasis placed on internships in the art field,” freshman fine arts major Sam Leask said. “Especially in Philly, where there are so many different galleries and art museums.”

Tyler students also receive a weekly newsletter to keep them updated on internships, jobs and upcoming events at the school.

“[Scott] sends out emails every week to students with a long list of internships,” Phoebe Mikalonis, a freshman graphic and interactive design major, said. “I’m not really looking right now as a freshman, but that’s where I would look first.”

Scott compiles the newsletters each week based on contacts she receives from artists she’s personally familiar with. Additional contacts are added when alumni and other artists are referred by Jones to the OwlNetwork, which is managed by the Career Center through TUPortal.

Jones said that while many of the more competitive internships, like those with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, require applications to be turned in early in the year, less formal internships are within reach for any motivated Tyler student who reads the newsletter and keeps a watchful eye on the OwlNetwork.

However, students in majors like art education have other opportunities that are part of their department’s curriculum. These internship options often place students in the workplace of their various fields.

“I’m currently observing at Friends Select School in the city and, as a [college] student, I’m technically just supposed to be watching,” senior art education major Nicolette Schultz said. “But the teacher I’m with actually lets me work on this with her and get more involved, which is great.”

Jones said there are plenty of opportunities available for Tyler students to take advantage of, but another important thing students must keep in mind is thinking ahead to the future. While other majors place a heavy emphasis on internship experience and job exposure, Tyler students need to consider their body of artistic work, which will allow them to promote their skills post-graduation.

“The one unique thing for [students] in studio art is that they are doing a lot of work in the classroom right now, so they have a lot of time to build up that portfolio,” Jones said. “Sometimes it’s hard to take advantage of the opportunities you have because you have so much going on, but [Scott] has so many things that it would be a good idea for students to take advantage of them.”

Alexa Bricker can be reached at 

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