Behind the Scenes, Getty Foundation

Getting “CAM-my” with Alumni of the Getty Internship Program

Alumni of the Getty Foundation's Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program

Big smiles, big progress: Alumni of the Getty Foundation’s Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program at the annual conference of the California Association of Museums (CAM)

A year ago I joined the Getty Foundation and began managing the Multicultural Undergraduate Internship program. Every summer for the past 20 years the Getty Foundation has provided grants for internships at the Getty and at museums and visual arts organizations across Los Angeles, with the aim of diversifying the staff of these institutions. To date, the Foundation’s internship program has over 2,500 alumni, 32% of whom are working in arts organizations. Last week I had the opportunity to spend three days with alumni of the program at the annual conference of the California Association of Museums (CAM) in Santa Barbara. It was an inspiring three days in which I got to meet and speak with the next generation of museum professionals.

For the past three years the Foundation has offered support for the program’s alumni to attend conferences in the museum field. Although the 19 young professionals I met were at various stages in their careers, all showed great commitment to the arts and to pursuing careers in museums and arts nonprofits. I left the conference with many wonderful stories about the impact of the Getty’s program and ongoing professional development support; here are just a few I’d like to share.

Alex Capriotti, director of marketing at LACMA, at CAM

Alex Capriotti, director of marketing at LACMA, speaks in a session titled “Critical Mass: Strategic Communications and LACMA’s ‘Levitated Mass’”

One Getty alum, Alex Capriotti, had her first experience working in a museum in 2007 when she was a Multicultural Undergraduate Intern in the external affairs department at the Skirball Cultural Center.  Since her internship at the Skirball, Alex has risen to director of marketing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and was elected to CAM’s board of directors at the beginning of the conference. I enjoyed hearing her speak during a conference session on the communications campaign for LACMA’s major outdoor artwork Levitated Mass which was installed last summer. As anyone who was in Los Angeles at the time can attest, this story was everywhere, and Alex, who has expertise in social media, gave conference attendees advice on how to maximize and promote their online presence.

Alexis Kaneshiro and Kabir Singh at CAM

Alexis Kaneshiro and Kabir Singh

While the sessions provided an obvious way for former Getty interns to connect with the museum community, the coffee breaks between sessions turned out to be just as valuable for two other alumni. Kabir Singh, education programs manager at the Pacific Asia Museum, and Alexis Kaneshiro, marketing and outreach coordinator at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, found a moment to speak between presentations on the last day. Although they work around the corner from one another, these two alumni had never met. By the end of the coffee break, they had discovered several areas of shared interest and had already begun making plans for possible collaborations between their museums and others in the community.

Hearing about their conversations got me thinking about the value the CAM conference and other professional development opportunities we provide to Getty alumni who are starting careers in museums. Young professionals bring great ideas and enthusiasm to their organizations, but it is through the connections they make with colleagues that they learn about the larger museum community and thereby improve their own practice. Conferences, like CAM, are forums where alumni of the internship program can reflect on their goals, find inspiration in the successes of others, and meet peers in the field who will be resources as these they move forward in their careers.

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  1. Celeste DeWald
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Cynthia, this is such a wonderful testament to the Getty Foundation’s commitment to future museum leaders. I am absolutely thrilled that the Getty Scholarship recipients value their experience at the CAM conference. They may not know it, but they have a very positive impact on other attendees, too. I hear repeatedly that their enthusiasm and curiosity is contagious – which helps create a culture of inquiry and openness for everyone. Alex Capriotti is a role model for other emerging professionals and we are thankful that she, and other Getty Scholarship recipients, have served on CAM committees for years. A hearty thanks to you and others at The Getty Foundation for supporting these new professionals. Now let’s figure out how to replicate this program in Northern California!

    • Cynthia
      Posted March 13, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Celeste, it is great to hear that the Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Internship alumni contribute as much to CAM as they benefit. Alex, Kabir, and Alexis are representative of the enthusiasm and professionalism of all the Getty Scholars. Thanks to CAM for creating a forum for these young professionals to engage with the field and further their careers!

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      All Hail Tiberius, Least Media-Savvy of the Roman Emperors

      Tiberius was proclaimed Roman emperor on September 17 in AD 14, exactly 2,000 years ago.

      He was also a bit idiosyncratic. “He was the least media-savvy emperor you could imagine,” says curator David Saunders, who has been in charge of this bronze portrait of Tiberius which leaves us on September 22. He point to this description found in the writings of Cassius Dio:

      Tiberius was a patrician of good education, but he had a most peculiar nature. He never let what he desired appear in his conversation, and what he said he wanted he usually did not desire at all. On the contrary, his words indicated the exact opposite of his real purpose; he denied all interest in what he longed for, and urged the claims of what he hated. He would exhibit anger over matters that were far from arousing his wrath, and make a show of affability where he was most vexed…In short, he thought it bad policy for the sovereign to reveal his thoughts; this was often the cause, he said, of great failures, whereas by the opposite course, far more and greater successes were attained.

      Moreover, David tells us, “Tiberius’s accession itself was a farrago: Tiberius sort-of feigning reluctance, the Senate bullying him, he being all, ‘Well, if-I-have-to,’ and in the end—according to Suetonius—saying he’ll do it as long as he can retire.”

      Suetonius is full of great, albeit spurious, anecdotes about poor old Tiberius, David reports. “When someone addressed him as ‘My Lord,’ it is said, Tiberius gave warning that no such insult should ever again be thrown at him.”

      Happy accession, My Lord!

      Portrait Head of Tiberius (“The Lansdowne Tiberius”), early 1st century A.D., Roman. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      Statue of Tiberius (detail), Roman, A.D. 37, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei – Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Laboratorio di Conservazione e Restauro. Currently on view at the Getty Villa following conservation and study.


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