Next on our journey we decided to go straight to someone who has seen it all in the internship world.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors established the Arts Internship Program (which provides internships for nonprofit performing, presenting, literary and municipal arts organizations). The purpose of the County's program is to provide undergraduate students with meaningful on-the-job training and experience in working in nonprofit arts organizations, while assisting arts organizations to develop future arts leaders.
Some of the stated goals of their program are that students:
•Develop a deeper understanding of the work involved in nonprofit arts administration;
•Better understand the role of the arts in a community;
•Develop "real life" business skills that can be put to use in their future careers.
During the ten-week course of the summer internships, participating organizations gain the assistance of extra staff to help with special or seasonal projects. Participating organizations also play an important role in molding and shaping potential new workers in the arts sector who may go on to arts leadership positions on staffs or boards.
It was very helpful to hear what challenges there are in placing students in various organizations including:
•Each student has highly personalized career learning needs and interests;
•Organizations are at varied levels of readiness to create an intern experience that is rich and satisfying to both sides;
•Students and participating organizations need a high level of ongoing support to ensure placements are successful.
Angela specifically mentioned the outcry from graduate students desiring this type of formal internship since currently their program is only open to undergraduate students. It seems our assertion could be correct that graduate students are craving this type of placement internship.
We hope to have past LA County interns in our focus group because they have uniquely experienced a successful internship placement and we want to get their input on how that experience affected where they are now.
The LA County Arts Commission fosters excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding and accessibility of the arts in Los Angeles County. The Commission provides leadership in cultural services for the County, including information and resources for the community, artists, educators, arts organizations and municipalities.
There are over 2,800 arts organizations and 150,000 working artists in the County of Los Angeles, creating the largest concentration of arts activity in the United States.