Hands-On Learning in Art & Visual Studies

Art and visual studies students are prepared at Whittier College for exciting careers, especially with resources like Los Angeles' world-class museums nearby.

To learn more about art internships and other professional opportunities, contact the Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development.

Read about students who have enjoyed awesome experiences in real-world art spaces, exploring their interests and building their resumes at the same time.

Danielle Pesquiera at LACMA.Celebrate Diverse Art in Los Angeles

Not everyone gets to work at one the biggest art museums in the nation as a college sophomore.

Danielle Pesqueira was thrilled to hear she’d earned the privilege. During her second year at Whittier, she worked on photography exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the largest art museum in the western United States, thanks to the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program.

The two-year fellowship provides historically underrepresented students across the country with hands-on experience in a museum, where they help curators and staff on exhibitions, collections, and programs. Professor Paula Radisich helped Danielle apply for the fellowship, which has given her access to an amazing resource.

In the first year of the program, Danielle learned the ins and outs of LACMA’s operations and assisted with its photography exhibits.

“I’ve loved it,” she said. “I know that this is a really great opportunity.”

She has also been happy to blend her fellowship with her classes at Whittier. The encyclopedic museum provides ample examples for her to use in her class assignments, while the lessons she learns about art history come in handy when she heads downtown.

Danielle, who is Latinx, also hopes to celebrate culturally diverse points of view in the museum. It’s her goal to one day educate people about art, particularly female artists.

"She’s clearly passionate about a more inclusive version of art history, a more inclusive role for museums addressing and incorporating a much broader spectrum of artists, of artwork," said Kate Albers, assistant professor of art and visual culture. "I think that she is well positioned to be doing the kind of work that she wants to do."

Danielle knows an advanced degree is expected for curatorial work, and her preparation as an undergraduate has given her a strong start.

Students examine art exhibit modelAn Internship to Preserve Cultural History

In the middle of learning every aspect of designing an exhibition, a moment stood out to Rosalba Ponce. Early into the internship at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection in Virginia, she felt honored to hold one of the indigenous figures—an object of such cultural significance, and one she worked to preserve the history of.

At Kluge-Ruhe, the only museum in the nation that solely exhibits Australian aboriginal art, Rosalba spent a summer helping to produce an exhibition catalogue and other components of the show.

She began the internship with an advantage: she knows how to approach and analyze artwork with ease, thanks to her foundation in art history and studio classes at Whittier. Showcasing her original work on campus also helped Ponce step into a museum like Kluge-Ruhe and analyze its space and pieces.

The internship gave Rosalba both hands-on experience and diverse perspectives about the benefits and struggles of museum work. She knows the summer she spent amid this singular art collection will help her in her graduate school pursuits.

“It has prepared me with the use of unconventional materials, the value of art, and issues that deal with the notion of authenticity,” Rosalba said.

Mario Almaraz Intern in the Los Angeles Area

Mario Almaraz was awarded a prestigious Getty Multicultural Internship at the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), which archives more than 85,000 protest graphics across three centuries.

As an archive and research intern, Mario studied and catalogued historical and contemporary social movement posters, helped update the center's online collection finding tool, and supported the research and develop of exhibitions.

Mario credits the College's art professors with giving him the depth of knowledge that helped him land the internship.

In particular, his opportunity to become a studio assistant to professor Danny Jauregui provided Mario with valuable experience that "many internship positions" were looking for, he said. Mario called his time as a studio assistant "one of the best experiences I have had here at Whittier College.”