On July 1st, 120 Multicultural Undergraduate Interns from across Los Angeles arrived at the Getty Center to participate in Arts Summit—a daylong event with career sessions, an inspirational speaker, and behind-the-scenes tours of the museum. This internship program happens each summer at arts organizations across L.A. county, including the Getty. I was lucky enough to get a preview of the Arts Summit professional development day during the first two weeks of my internship at the Getty Foundation. I helped our team prepare for the event, compiling speaker bios, preparing informational packets, and designing communication materials.
Mark Bradford—the keynote speaker—set the tone for the day by giving a comedic, yet thought-provoking, speech revolving around individuality and personal philanthropy. In 1994, Bradford was an intern at Side Street Projects as part of the Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Program. Today, he is an internationally renowned artist best known for his large-scale, abstract paintings. Bradford emphasized his journey to discover his own artistic style and his efforts to engage with current social issues, such as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. His speech made me think about how I can use my strengths and passions to pave a career path that not only pays the bills, but also makes a difference in other people’s lives. This fundamental idea stuck with me throughout the day.
Of the 14 different career sessions offered that morning, I chose to attend the sessions focused on Exhibition Design, Art and Community, Public Programming, and Arts Education. I was amazed to see how passionate the speakers were about their organizations and projects, and how each speaker was so different from one another, even though they all worked in the visual arts. For example, Karla Diaz, founder of the artist collective Slanguage Studio, focuses on bridging connections between diverse groups and communities, while Clement Hanami, the art director at the Japanese American National Museum, aims to engage audiences by telling a story through the design of an exhibition.
The most fascinating part of Arts Summit was realizing that I am a small part of a larger community of scholars, artists, activists, and other art professionals. Meeting with interns from museums and cultural institutions across Los Angeles and talking with local arts leaders made me excited about how my current internship and my future career experiences in the arts could be tailored to my personal interests but still align with the principle of serving my community.
Before Arts Summit, I had been exposed to different jobs in museums, but I did not recognize the full scope of the career options that are available in the visual arts. With the new perspective that Arts Summit gave me and an energized attitude, I’m excited to transform new acquaintances into friendships and begin to explore career paths I had never considered.