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Blog . Summer Internship: Faith Whitaker - Cleveland Museum of Art


Summer Internship: Faith Whitaker - Cleveland Museum of Art

08/02/21  |  Posted by Richard Sarian  |  Posted in Admissions

Faith Whitaker is a Printmaking major at CIA, who is participating in the Cleveland Museum of Art's Curatorial Program. Faith discusses her experience with the Museum and how it relates to her experience at CIA.

How did you learn about the Curatorial Program at CMA? What was the process to apply?

Last year before COVID hit I was introduced to the Studio Institute Arts Intern program through the head of my department Maggie Denk-Leigh as a good opportunity. It is a paid internship, with eligibility based on your estimated family support score on your FAFSA. I applied in 2020 but it fell through because of COVID. Because I took the 2020-21 year off, I am still a junior and was eligible to apply again this year. I had to send in a resume, cover letter and CV to the Museum and did a virtual interview before being hired.

What are you doing through the Curatorial Program?

I was the Curatorial Programming Intern within Cleveland Museum of Art's Education and Academic Outreach Department.

I worked with Sabine Kretzschmar, the Manager of Education Art Collection, and Darius Steward (CIA '08), a local artist and educator, in facilitating a two-week intensive with the Currently Under Curation (CUC) program, focusing on the CAN 22 Triennial CUC Fellowship program. My component within this project was to expose the teens to as much of Northeast Ohio's artists community. This involved finding out what exhibitions were going on during this time frame; are the artists local or abroad; and if each exhibition was a solo or group exhibition. Then, I cross-referenced this list with the venues and locations the CAN Triennial will curate. The goal of this was to expose the students to places and neighborhoods they may curate.

CAN 2022 CUC Fellowship: Six teens will curate multiple venues within the CAN Triennial for next year (July - Aug 2022). They get paid 2k throughout the duration of their experience. All of these kids have been through the CUC Program before.

Has the Curatorial Program affected how you'll think about your creative practice or your career path?

I have had previous accomplishments with curating, specifically curating the Junior Visual Arts class exhibition that happens every year. In 2020, we had to go virtual and host it on a website due to COVID. I also have worked with students and teenagers as I was a student ambassador for CIA for two years (in my sophomore and junior years). So this was an enlightening experience in combining those two into the same space. While my internship was technically curatorial, it was in the Education Department, not the Curatorial, which influenced my interest in programming and the educational side of museums. In addition to my internship, I have had multiple virtual conversations with curators across the nation through the Studio Institute Art Intern program which has also influenced me. Especially a conversation with Casareo Moreno, the Chief Curator for the National Museum of Mexican Art, as I have a great interest in curating contemporary Latin/Latinx art.

What drew you to CIA?

I think to understand what drew me to CIA it's best to cover a bit of my background. My permanent address, voting and ID are North Carolina based as that and where the family house is. But I was raised in California and Arizona most of my life. I moved around a lot as a kid and therefore was exposed to different cultures and regions of America. I really do think America is like five different countries in one country as the regions are so different from one another. I had never lived in the rust belt or midwest and wanted to experience that.

I also picked CIA because I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. In high school I had some experience taking graphic design classes and didn't like it. I thought about Illustration. I thought about Interior Design, as my step-family has interior design and architecture backgrounds. I thought about photography as my mom was a photojournalist. I went to an Open House event and fell in love with SEM and had great conversations with the seniors at the time. So I liked the way Foundation year was set up. I liked the ability to explore and experience all of the fine art majors before picking.

Also, of course, CIA gives a lot back to its students via scholarships and financial assistance. Also when I went to Open House everyone was really welcoming, charismatic and talkative. I was used to the California me-first types of people so it was a breath of fresh air in comparison.

How's your experience at CIA been?

I love my tiny family I have in Printmaking. I of course have run into my fair shares of "print is dead," "you aren't going to be able to do anything with your degree" etc. remarks but Print is really my home. Maggie Denk-Leigh has been a lifesaver creatively, career wise and sometimes even mentally when I was going through rough times. Kat Burdine always finds a way to creatively push me out of my comfort zone and make me experience new things. Xander and Connor, the other Print majors that have been there with me the whole time, have been best friends and have given me great advice late nights in the studio. Because it is so small I've developed a reputation for making large scale work, pushing myself far beyond the assignments, stressing myself out, spending nearly 24/7 in the studios, helping non-majors with processes as well as other majors when something goes wrong. I really think all of this has impacted me.

Also I've been a student ambassador, so from that point of view I've met a lot of prospective students and got to meet them and talk to their parents. Really show them how welcoming CIA can be and get to talk to them about my experiences.

What was Foundation year like? Did it affect your thinking on your creative career?

I really like that Foundation year goes over the basics and fundamentals of art. I didn't take many art classes in high school so I didn't have a formal education as someone who took AP Art would have had. Freshman year really helped my art become more realistic, understand proportions and perspective, color theory and overall better. I really grew technically in that year, which allowed me to focus on growing conceptually the following years.
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