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Kourtney S., '10 Ceramics, '11 MAT

Internship Success Story

Baltimore Clayworks

Baltimore, MD

I came into MICA knowing that I wanted to be an art teacher, and that I wanted to enter the BFA/MAT program. I never really considered an internship, because I would be assigned to one as part of the degree plan. Only when I heard about the Career and Internship Fair did I consider pursuing an internship of my own. At the fair, I met with several community arts programs, submitted some resumes, wrote my thank-you emails, and eventually interviewed with two of them. My goal from the start, however, was to get my foot in the door at Baltimore Clayworks. Clayworks is a community ceramic art center in Mount Washington that hosts numerous programs such as children’s classes, resident artists, workshops, community events, and much more. Their creative atmosphere and community spirit are what initially attracted me to their institution, and working as one of their summer camp interns would have been a perfect way for me to experience ceramics and teaching.

My internship was invaluable to me as an artist and a teacher. Being an intern meant that I was essentially a teacher’s assistant. I would help gather and distribute materials and assist students with their artworks. During lunch times and snack times, it was my responsibility to monitor the students and keep them being safe and having fun. I quickly found out that being an intern often involved more than that. Sometimes I was loading kilns, other times I was glazing leftover work, or bagging projects. Sometimes I was fixing projects, or fixing scraped knees. I was learning the many responsibilities of a teacher on the job.

As an artist this experience allowed me to learn much about the studio. I learned basic organization and upkeep in a highly used studio. I learned a lot from the children about spontaneity and joy in art. I also learned some quick problem-solving skills because there were many times when we needed a simple solution to support a slumping project. Also by virtue of being at Clayworks so much, I was able to meet many artists and have a look into some of the resident artist studios.

An extremely valuable part of the experience was all the connections I made. I was able to work with many teachers from many backgrounds. I kept notes and now have a list of project ideas for my classroom. It was useful to see what teaching techniques work and wonderful to see what impressive works young artists can make with the proper guidance. I also made connections with the Clayworks staff. They are a very knowledgeable, highly supportive team. As a result of my success during the internship, I have been offered several opportunities to teach at Clayworks, which I could not be more thrilled to have. This would not have happened without my internship.

I decided to record my internship experience on a blog. For more details and photos go to: internkourtney.blogspot.com