Internship Stories

Internships allow students to enhance skills and apply classroom knowledge to a professional environment. They provide a supervised short-term experience in a career field of interest. Internships focus on the learning that takes place as a result of the work you are doing.

There are many internship opportunities for Luther art students. Learn more about different internships from Visual and Performing Arts faculty or visiting the Find Internships page. Other internship stories from students in theatre and dance can be found on the VPA website

Vanessa Mendez

Vanessa poses in front of her desk at The San Diego Children's Discovery Museum.When: Summer 2017
Where: The San Diego Children's Discovery Museum, Escondido, CA
Major: Art with a Communications minor

This summer, Vanessa worked in Escondido, California, at The San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum. Vanessa primarily assisted with marketing and event planning. She was in charge of creating calendars, website headers, and social media posts. Her two biggest projects were helping with the Annual Spring Gala and facilitating a partnership with the Westfield Malls. Vanessa enjoyed the independence and creativity the position gave her. She also learned about what it takes to be a graphic designer. This added experience had the biggest impact on Vanessa, and she is now considering going into art marketing and graphic design. Using her artistic ability in this setting was exciting for Vanessa, and she is eager to explore her new field.

Miranda Joslin

Photo for Miranda Joslin's internship story.When: Spring 2016 
Where: The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum 
Major: Art with minors in Spanish and Museum Studies

The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the immigrant story through their objects, traditions, and artwork. For her internship, Miranda worked with the museum’s Chief Curator to update the Fine Art Collection’s records and gain notoriety for the collection on a national level. Specifically, she worked with the Smithsonian Database of American Painting and Sculpture to get 452 new pieces from 96 different artists registered for public use and study. Not only was it exciting to get to work so closely with the collection pieces (both through their records and physically handling the works), but Miranda enjoyed helping the collection grow and bringing attention to the hidden treasures of this “small-town” museum. 


Steffenee Voigt

Steffenee VoigtWhen: Summer, 2016 
Where: The Porter House Museum 
Major: Art with minors in Education and Museum Studies 

The Porter House Museum preserves and interprets its structures, grounds, and collections to inspire diverse audiences to share in the educational and recreational benefits of learning about Adelbert Field Porter and Grace Young Porter in the context of Winneshiek County history and Mr. Porter’s love of the natural environment. During Steffenee’s internship she worked as a docent giving tours of the museum. In addition, she created various museum education resources for the Porter House such as a worksheet for children and a visual aid demonstrating the butterfly mounting process that Bert Porter would have used. This was an exciting experience that helped Steffenee to develop skills in creating fun and engaging educational resources.

Rachel Madryga

Rachel Madryga at her internshipWhen: Summer 2015
Where: Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gund Hall
Major: Biology/Art

Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts is known for having a rigorous internship process. Interns are expected to work June through August from 8 to 12 a.m.—with no weekends off—in order to perfect their design skills. Rachel's days began with a lecture that went until lunch. After lunch, she and the other interns would work in the studio until 6 p.m. and would receive an assignment that was to be completed that night. Although this was a daunting challenge, Rachel loved every moment of it. Through her internship, Rachel gained many skills such as model building, architectural drawing, representation styles, and site studies. This experience was valuable to her because it solidified her dream of going to graduate school to become an architect.

Jill Hess

Jill HessWhen: Spring, 2014
The National Portrait Gallery
Major: Art

Jill Hess spent her internship last spring with the National Portrait Gallery, a Smithsonian Museum compromised of the artwork of important people in history and culture. The majority of Jill’s tasks involved working with the Design and Production team on gallery maintenance, installation and tear-down, and other tasks to keep the department and museum running smoothly. Jill built a strong and positive work relationship with the staff and by the end of her internship was trusted to work independently on her own projects. After this formative experience in Washington D.C., Jill’s focus has been to return to the city because of its cultural and historical ties.  Jill is proud to have worked with an important collection in such an established museum and now wants to pursue museum work as a career.

Anna Johnson

Internship Stories - Anna JohnsonWhen: Spring, 2015
Where: Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
Major: Art

Anna is currently interning at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, a museum in Chicago, IL. She has been interning here since the start of the spring semester while studying off campus with Associated Colleges of the Midwest's Chicago Program. Intuit works to ​promote public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of intuitive and outsider art through a program of education, exhibition, collecting, and publishing. Intuitive and Outsider Art is defined by Intuit as the work of artists who demonstrate little influence from the mainstream art world and who instead are motivated by their unique personal visions. Day to day tasks vary greatly at Intuit, ranging from managing the store to putting contacts into the computer system. Anna spends most of her time helping with research on grants or artists. One of Anna’s most memorable tasks was curating a selection of five artworks from the current exhibit to be emphasized during Slow Art Day on April 11. This allowed visitors to spend time looking at artwork at a slow and leisurely pace. Anna also led a discussion afterward to talk about the experience with those who came to participate. Being at Intuit has really shown Anna that she is involved in the right field and has encouraged her to think about opening her own art gallery one day. Anna has a deep love of art and is excited to pursue and explore the career possibilities that it provides.

Kara Maloney

Kara Maloney standing outside the Lanesboro Arts Center.When: January, 2015
Where: Lanesboro Arts
Major: Art and Management

This past January, Kara spent her time as an intern for Lanesboro Arts in Lanesboro, Minnesota. The business acts as a creative outlet and benefits the public by providing galleries, performing arts space, artist residencies, and educational outreach. Kara kept plenty busy over the month by helping with general administrative duties, such as mailings and filings, taking pictures for and adding information to their new website, creating an advertising email, researching past and potential grants, advertising and hosting two events, and organizing art supplies for educational classes. One project she spent a lot of time on was comparing the potential revenue and actual revenue created from the rented art lofts. Kara found it would be more cost efficient to turn one loft into an office space since it had such low rental sales, and developed a new way to market the other loft to encourage additional rentals. After her internship, Kara found the variety of tasks, constant use of creativity, and the teamwork required to make progress increased her excitement to work in a non-profit someday, preferably one that makes positive impacts on the community and the economy through art.

Deveny Miles

Denevy MilesWhen: January, 2015
Where: Dry Run Studio
Major: Biology/Dance

Deveny spent this past January as an intern with locally owned Dry Run Studio. She helped brainstorm, plan, and execute several artistic projects connected to Body of Water the interdisciplinary production performed at Luther College. The projects Deveny worked on varied from art installments around Decorah, to a participatory performance on campus and the planning of several educational workshops for different age groups, combining dance and biology. All of these projects were designed to raise awareness about local water issues and a general awareness of water usage. During her time with Dry Run Studios, Deveny was surprised how much thought, time, and work is put into the artistic process, from discussing many possibilities all the way through the execution of the final projects. She learned to collaborate with other artists, discussing and trying new ideas and concepts. She experienced the process of finding a venue for the finished projects, not only an available space, but the one that would showcase the project the best. Finally, the workshops that she helped develop showed her how the arts can inform and improve the understanding of other disciplines for people of all ages.

Evan Sowder

Even Sowder with Rebecca Handler in New York for his photography internship.When: January, 2015
Where: Rebecca Handler Photography
Major: Art

Evan spent his January working with Rebecca Handler, a professional conceptual photographer based in New York City, by planning and carrying out photo shoots. His tasks included interacting with modeling agencies, assisting with light tests, and managing equipment. He also learned about the business functions of operating a photo studio and marketing to potential clients, and gained valuable experience in post-production techniques, including retouching images. Evan was excited to have the opportunity to learn from Rebecca and her staff and interact with other creatives (art directors, models, filmmakers, and make up artists) in New York City. This internship gave Evan a much clearer idea of what it takes to progress in this field, and strengthened his commitment to pursuing photography as a career. 

Laura Turco

Internship Stories - Laura TurcoWhen: Fall, 2014
Where: Florence, Italy
Major: Art

Laura’s internship last fall, actually more of an apprenticeship, was with Rossella Lari, one of the most prominent art restorers in Florence, Italy. Rossella has a private studio that she and Laura used during their studio time on the artisan side of the city. Laura also made several trips to visit the studios of other types of restorers in Florence. She visited a gold and frame restorer, a musical instrument restorer, a fresco restorer (during which she climbed scaffolding to see a fresco restoration on the ceiling of Palazzo Vecchio), and a tapestry restorer. Laura also attended several conferences about restoration at the Museo Nove Cento. Rossella was also the curator of the Galleria dell’Accademia, the museum that houses Michelangelo’s famed statue of David. Rossella arranged a private meeting during which she and Laura spent intimate one-on-one time with the statue of David. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Laura learned specifically that she wants to focus on pictorial restoration, which focuses on the painted surface. During studio time, she got to try her hand at actual restoration on a collection of paintings by Lola Costa, a prominent artist of the Impressionist period. With these paintings, she repainted abrasions on the painted surface with watercolor, leveled off stucco on panel painting, and re-stretched canvases, just to mention a few of her tasks. Laura is aspiring to be an art restorer and now has connections in Florence, Italy, the center of restoration of the world. With these connections, she has the goal of attending the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, the most prestigious art restoration school in Italy. Her apprenticeship was truly one of the best experiences of her life and it occurred within the best experience in her life, her study aboard experience in Italy.
Photo credit: Niles George.