The Williamson Gallery Celebrates 20th Year of Getty Multicultural Internships

Initiated in the wake of Los Angeles’ civil unrest in 1992, the Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program seeks to increase diversity within the staffs of museums and visual arts organizations by offering paid internships to students of diverse backgrounds who either live or attend college in Los Angeles County. At Scripps, that mission is carried out in a variety of ways, including extensive hands-on work with the Scripps College art collection, interviews with professionals in the field, and a wide array of trips to the art meccas of Los Angeles.

Williamson 2012 summer interns, l to r: Wilson Intern Sophia Forman, Getty Intern Lauren Thomas, Wilson Intern Gretchen Allen, and Getty interns Tara Contractor and Calyx Gaston

In 2012, for the twentieth consecutive year, the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery of Scripps College welcomed three interns funded by the Getty Foundation through its Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program. The Williamson has participated in the program since the founding of the gallery in 1993, the same year the program was launched. This summer the Getty is sponsoring 115 positions at 73 organizations throughout Los Angeles County.

Initiated in the wake of Los Angeles’ civil unrest in 1992, the Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program seeks to increase diversity within the staffs of museums and visual arts organizations by offering paid internships to students of diverse backgrounds who either live or attend college in Los Angeles County. At Scripps, that mission is carried out in a variety of ways. Interns work on projects connected directly to the college’s large collections, involving intensive hands-on interaction with the artworks themselves. They research pieces and write about them for publication. Interns also assist in every aspect of creating an exhibition, from the choice of works to the actual installation of the pieces.

In addition, interns meet professionals in the field. They take frequent field trips to the art meccas of Los Angeles, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Getty Villa, the Autry, the UCLA Hammer Museum of Art, as well as diverse galleries. On these forays, and at the Williamson, the interns interview curators, art historians, arts administrators, art conservationists, and gallerists. They also get to know other interns in the program, allowing them to network, assist and support one another. Interns find the experience broadens their view of what the field has to offer.

“Only three weeks into my Getty internship with the Williamson Gallery, and my notions of the art world have vastly expanded already. I find myself energized on a daily basis by what we’re learning and the projects we’re contributing to,” said Lauren Thomas, visual resource intern for the gallery.

These internships have been decisive in assisting students in finding their own professional paths within the world of art conservation and administration. Over the years, interns at the Williamson have successfully pursued careers as arts administrators, art conservators, art historians, curators, and gallerists.

“Many Scripps alumnae are leaders in the visual arts. We are pleased to participate in the Getty Multicultural Internship program as well as in the Wilson and Turk internship programs, which are all helping to train the next generation of arts leaders,” commented director Mary MacNaughton.

More information about the Williamson Gallery’s internship programs can be found at: rcwg.scrippscollege.edu/internships