Student Features

Class Project Leads to Internship at The Clark

When she arrived at MCLA nearly four years ago, Cecilia Wright ’16 of New Haven, Conn., selected arts management as her major with the anticipation that the program would lead her to a variety of experiences, including internship opportunities.

That expectation proved correct. From serving as a gallery attendant during her freshman year to attending the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference in New York City as a junior, as well as this year’s internship at a renowned museum – The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown – Wright (right) has gained a plethora of experience during her time as an MCLA student.

As the membership assistant at The Clark, Wright is involved with all membership-related activities of the museum.

“Every day is different. You never know what difficulties may arise,” she explained. “It could be as simple as the data not matching or being displayed as expected. This challenge is what intrigues me.” 

MCLA prepared Wright for success in the position, she said, by providing the fundamental tools she needed through group projects, oral presentations and papers.

“Through classes such as ‘Arts Marketing’ and ‘Writing in the Arts,’ I am gaining professional skills needed in the workplace. I am learning jargon and current events in the field. They provide hands-on, real-world skills. The group projects done in these classes are actual reports for organizations that are well thought-out.”

It was through an assignment for her “Grants and Fundraising” class that Wright secured her internship at The Clark, after her professor asked students to spend a few hours at an organization to observe the ins and outs of fundraising.

While in New York City last year for the APAP conference, Wright had the opportunity to learn more about the arts management field as she attended performances and lectures, and also spoke with professionals in the industry about their positions and the challenges they face.

“Many did not know how to connect to the millennial audience. As part of that generation, my peers and I were able to offer insight,” she added. 

During her sophomore and junior years, Wright served as a resident advisor (RA) in the campus townhouses. While attending the APAP conference brought to life what she’d learned in the classroom and from her textbooks, working as an RA helped her to develop communication skills and fostered her ability to connect and empathize with others.

“In this position, I created events for students and helped them with issues they had in the residence halls. I really enjoyed helping students. That was my main role and a goal I aimed for,” she said. 

With graduation quickly approaching, Wright plans to enter the workforce soon, ideally finding a position within the visual arts world. “Specifically, I am focusing on advancement departments of museums. In my opinion, this department is really the backbone of the organization, the nuts and bolts,” she said.

Wright decided to attend MCLA because of its affordable cost, but she chose to stay because of the arts management program and all it offers. She recommends the College to others – especially those who are interested in the arts, and who prefer a campus where professors provide one-on-one attention to students.

Wright also advises prospective students to take advantage of every opportunity that interests them. “The only way to learn about what you like and don’t like is by trying new things,” she said. 

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