Chelsea Garcia is studying photography at Santa Fe University of Art and Design . She worked as an intern in SITE’s Education and Outreach Department during the fall of 2015. Below she reflects on her experience at SITE upon completing her internship.
I originally sought out an internship with SITE Santa Fe in fall of 2014. Due to timing I had to decline the interview that I was selected for, but despite having to decline the offer I saw it as an opportunity to get a better insight into the internship program. I scheduled a meeting with Amanda Lee to go over the various intern positions, and it made me rethink the department I wanted to intern in.
Ultimately, I decided to apply for an education internship. Coming to the end of my internship, I can say it was a switch that was the right choice. Like any job, internship, or position, there is work that is not the most fun or pleasant, but has to get done. I do not feel like I got a great deal of that work. I will say of all the projects I worked on, I enjoyed the Marie Watt Education project the best. Being an artist and a creative person, it was nice to do something with my hands that was not typing. Also, it was delightful to look at some of the quilt patterns that were hand drawn. I know I did not personally sew a pattern, but it was wonderful to be a part of this project in doing a vast amount of the prep work.
I want to say working with the Young Curators Program has been fantastic. I believe it is an exceptional program that nurtures and shapes the curiosity of art for these high school students. I know at their ages I was not so informed in the area of art. To see them come up with these ideas, and over time refine them is astounding. I was originally interested in working with the Young Curators Program due to previously being selected as an artist for their May 2015 show, “What’s Inside”. I wanted to see how these students got to their final goal, an exhibition. I think what I learned the most from working with the Young Curators is to give back. It was such a blessing to have had the opportunity to have been a part of their show and exhibited at SITE, it reiterated what I hear from various artists, which is to give back when you receive. These students are the next generation of emerging artists and such, and one day they may need a foot in the door like I was given.
In regards to the intern meetings, I feel they were quite valuable. Hearing each SITE staff member talk about their job, their experience, and offering some words of wisdom, is not an opportunity that happens often with the people of SITE we spoke with. I was taking a Gallery and Museum class this Fall semester and it felt so good to be able to answer questions from my professor with confidence. Some questions that came up were along the lines of what a curator was, or how a museum is operated, etc. These are all things that I learned within these intern meetings.
In general being an intern at SITE allowed me a behind the scenes look into museums. Being a people watcher, I enjoyed observing how people went about their jobs. There was always something to take in. For example at the Lifesongs event, one of my professors, Don Ussner, was the event photographer. It was interesting seeing him work as the photographer I know he is in my mind, and not the professor I see him as throughout the year. Also watching the various school tours and such come through the museum and how people take in and react to art is just satisfying to me to as an artist.
All in all I enjoyed my internship with SITE Santa Fe. The staff was friendly and welcoming. I never felt like I was being used and abused which has occurred with some of my fellow peers with their internships. I also do not feel as though I have wasted my time with interning at SITE. I will say that I do not feel as though I got a great deal from SITE in the short term, but I do believe as the years pass and I get around the art world, the time I spent with SITE will definitely prove to be helpful. Besides, it is not always about the short term gain, but, rather, the long term journey.
I want to thank SITE Santa Fe for being wonderful intern hosts and for giving me the opportunity, not once, but twice to intern with you all. I look forward to working with you all again in the future.