This spring break, Yale’s photographers, painters and graphic designers will have the chance to get an authentic taste of the art world, thanks to a new initiative from the Office of Career Strategy.
OCS is offering two-week arts apprenticeships running from March 14 to 25 in which students will be able to gain real-world experience working in an artist’s studio or shadowing a professional in another arts-related job. The pilot program consists of 20 opportunities which are nested within the larger “Yale Trek” job-shadowing programs that OCS offers. In addition to programs in the visual arts, there are also job-shadowing opportunities for aspiring journalists and conductors. Applications for the apprenticeships closed on Monday night, and OCS received 27 applications for the positions as of that morning, said Derek Webster, OCS’ associate director for the arts.
Webster said the motivation behind the program was a recognition that many arts-related industries do not subscribe to a traditional professional-internship model. Most prominently, he said, the visual arts often lack formal opportunities for students to gain professional experience, and OCS’ past arts offerings have largely consisted of work in museums or arts foundations.
“As with the broader program, arts apprentices will gain firsthand knowledge about the career field, and connect directly with people working in that field through shadowing, but these opportunities will also include a short-term intern-style active engagement,” Webster said.
The programs mostly take place in Connecticut and New York and were coordinated through faculty and alumni connections, he added.
Lisa Kereszi ART ’00, dean of undergraduate studies for art, said one-on-one apprenticeships like the ones being offered by OCS this year are difficult to obtain without a personal connection to the artists. She said these programs will give students hands-on experience not as readily available at a museum or gallery, which could help them decide if art is the right field to pursue after graduation.
“Making art for a living might or might not generate full financial support, so a young artist needs to know of all of the possibilities out there for support,” Kereszi said. “From part-time jobs, to grants [and] fellowships, to artist colonies [or] residencies … to selling work in galleries, [or] to doing tech support for an artist or company — everything is on the table.”
Josh Tarplin ’19, a prospective art major, said he applied for an apprenticeship with Judith Joy Ross, a photographer in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He added that in the past, he has found OCS’ resources in the visual arts lackluster, as many of the internships listed on the office’s website are just programs at well-known museums and arts foundations that are not specifically targeted toward Yale students. He said he hopes there are more similar opportunities in the future.
The new arts apprenticeships are part of OCS’ broader effort to increase professional support for students in the arts. In addition to the spring-break programs, OCS plans to roll out new arts-specific internship fairs and specific workshops for auditioning and screenwriting.
Webster said expectations for the pilot program have been more exploratory than quantitative, noting that the aim for this first year is to capture student interest in arts apprenticeships on a more deliberate basis. If enough student engagement is demonstrated, he said, OCS would be especially interested in rolling these spring positions over into fuller summer-internship opportunities.
Today at 6:30 p.m., OCS is hosting a panel in Ezra Stiles where administrators from the School of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art will discuss careers in the arts.