The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin is among ten North American museums that have been selected to receive funds from the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) to support paid internships for college students from historically underrepresented communities.
A 2015 study by the Andrew Mellon Foundation in collaboration with the AAMD found that 76% of museum workers identified as white (non-Hispanic), and that the areas in which employee demographics were more evenly split were in the fields of security and facilities management. This meant that many museums’ other departments — curatorial, education, exhibition design, conservation, and leadership — were disproportionately white. A follow-up study completed in 2018 showed some slight improvements, particularly in the areas of curatorial and education, which saw the highest increases in staff who identified as people of color (4% and 6% respectively).
The AAMD’s paid college internship program was launched by the group in 2018 to support students from underrepresented backgrounds seeking to enter the art museum field. The first group of interns completed their programs in 2019. Texas museums have been selected in each iteration of the program, including the McNay Art Museum in 2018 and the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in 2020.
According to the press release from the Blanton, the intern they hire “will work in the Director’s Office focusing on projects related to institutional priorities, such as the new grounds initiative and Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion initiatives.” Additionally, the intern will have access to an array of opportunities including networking, professional development, and working with staff from various museum departments.
The Blanton’s Director Simone Wicha stated, “I am thrilled that the Blanton was chosen to participate in this internship program alongside many remarkable peer institutions, and we are incredibly grateful to AAMD for their support. By reducing financial barriers and increasing access into the museum field for young people, particularly those from underrepresented communities, AAMD’s implementation of this program nationwide marks an important step forward in championing equity and strengthening staff diversity in the museum field.”
This opportunity is open to UT Austin sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The program provides a stipend of $6,300 for students to complete a 12-week internship, working 35 hours per week. Applications must be submitted by March 28, 2022. To learn more about the application process and to apply, visit the Blanton’s website.