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10 Art Internships You Should Check Out as a High Schooler

If you’re thinking about pursuing art in college and further, and are looking for opportunities to explore the field in the real world, an art internship program is an ideal option. Many established institutions, including museums and not-for-profit foundations, offer volunteering and internship opportunities. While some of these programs run during the summer, a few run year-long, or even across two years. 


Why do an internship in high school?

Gain real-world application of concepts: As an intern, you get to experience the real-world application of the concepts you learn in school. In addition to applying theoretical knowledge, you get to hone your critical thinking, analytical, interpersonal, business communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills at an internship.


Standout among peers: Getting hired as an intern for prestigious national and international-level programs adds great value to your profile. This experience would automatically demonstrate your skills as compared to your peers, opening up doors to other similar opportunities. Additionally, early exposure can strengthen your college applications by showing admissions officers that you are motivated and driven.


Build a valuable network: Internships give you the chance to interact with both young and experienced professionals in your field, learn from them, and build lasting connections that may help you in your career. 


Improve career prospects: Internships can let you experience firsthand the type of work to expect in your field of choice and see if it is something you would like. So, it’s like trying out a career in a low-stakes setup.


Additionally, working towards financially supporting yourself is very important, especially since you will be in charge of your financial planning and budget at university. Prestigious, competitive programs come with a hefty stipend, which you can save, invest, or set aside for the future.


Now, let’s look at some of the top art internships for high school students.


Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors in NYC can apply. For the summer internship program, high school sophomores and juniors from New Jersey and Connecticut are also eligible to apply.

Program dates: School-year internships run from January to June, while summer internships run from June to August (tentatively, based on previous years)

.Application deadline: October (school year) | March (summer). This is tentative, based on previous years.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend per the New York State minimum wage law.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or as it’s commonly known, the Met is one of the largest art museums in the world. It offers high school students in and around New York City a paid internship opportunity to interact with the art, its museums, and creative professionals. The program also focuses on helping interns develop professional skills, network, and gain work experience. You do not need to have any experience or specific knowledge in art or art history to apply to any of the two programs: school-year internships spanning 5 to 6 months or summer internships spanning 3 months. Each program begins with an 8-hour boot camp to prepare students for the internship. Interns are then expected to spend a total of 40 hours observing, assisting, and being mentored by museum staff in their assigned departments. 


The program includes 2-hour Career Lab sessions, wherein curators, educators, designers, conservators, and other museum personnel will discuss their professional journeys with students and conduct workshops. Additionally, interns will have periodic check-ins to meet their mentors and peers in the cohort. The program ends with a final event wherein interns share their experiences with peers and guests.


Location: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the Boston area can apply.

Dates: The internship is typically a year long.

Application deadline: None. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Stipend: $15/hour


Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston offers three internship programs: STEAM Team, Curatorial Study Hall, and Teen Arts Council (TAC). 


The STEAM team is designed to encourage teens to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics – or STEAM. In this program, interns will experience behind-the-scenes museum duties in each of the STEAM fields under the guidance of MFA staff mentors. Visits to local businesses, organizations, and artists are also part of the program. 


The Curatorial Study Hall is a project-based internship with a focus on exhibition creation, interpretation, and design. This is a great option for students who wish to understand how a museum works. The internship will help you learn about marginalized artists in the museum’s collection via workshops on close-looking, research methods, proposal developments, interpretation, design, promotion, and installation. 


The Teen Arts Council is a leadership development program, wherein interns will advise MFA on engagement strategies for local teens, conduct programs and events for peers and the general public, and learn about Boston’s arts and cultural sector by engaging with local programs and institutions. TAC also hosts an event called Teen Night, where teens will engage in art-making exercises and other social activities at the MFA. You can visit the MFA website in March 2024 for application details.


Location: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Eligibility: Chicago high school students who are 16 and older can apply.

Dates: There are 2 programs offered. The Teen Council program typically runs from September to June. The Summer Internship typically runs from June to August.

Application deadline: There is no information available on this at the moment.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend, but information on the exact amount is not available.


The Art Institute of Chicago offers two teen programs: Teen Council and Summer Internship. Teen Council is designed to encourage students to collaborate with museum staff in developing programs and resources, to make the museum more accessible and relevant. Interns will participate in both virtual and onsite meetings held on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Summer Internships are an opportunity for students to work with the museum to organize festivals, gallery tours, and workshops serving local and international visitors. The internship will involve interactions with museum professionals and local artists, engaging in behind-the-scenes tasks, learning about the museum collection, and planning and hosting creative programs. While upcoming dates for the Teen Council program are yet to be announced, the summer internship applications will open in spring.


Eligibility: Rising high school seniors residing in participating cities can apply.

Dates: 7-week program held June-end to mid-August (tentatively, based on previous years). If you live in Philadelphia, you also have the option of applying for a year-long internship program called Bloomberg Arts Internship - School Year (BAISY).

Application deadline: Applications typically close in March.

Stipend: This is a paid opportunity, but information on the exact amount is not available.


Bloomberg Philanthropies offers high school students in 5 cities an opportunity to intern with local arts and culture organizations. The program is designed to encourage work readiness while offering college prep training. Along with hands-on projects and mentorship, you will get insight into various aspects of arts administration, exhibition planning, marketing, and event coordination. The program also includes supplementary activities, such as helping teens explore careers in the creative sector. 


The program terms can vary slightly depending on the location, however, students should be ready to devote 30-37 hours per week to the internship. The application process has different timelines at different locations. 


Location: Brooklyn Museum, New York City, NY

Eligibility: All high school students in New York City are eligible to apply.

Dates: The internship typically runs from September to May.

Application deadline: Information on this is not available at the moment. Check the official page in June 2024 for application-related details.

Stipend: $15/hour. MetroCards will be provided for working weekends.


In this program, interns will explore art, education, and museum careers while assisting teaching artists while they conduct classes for students of all ages. The teaching assistance involves preparing studios and materials, learning techniques of lesson planning, and practicing classroom management. In the program, students will participate in discussions on the intersection of art, fashion, design, and society, and interact with artists, educators, and museum staff. The internship involves work of up to 120 hours over the school year. This consists of weekly 2-hour meetings on Thursdays, occasional field visits and events on Fridays, and assisting in weekend art classes 3 hours per semester (October-December and March-May). As this program involves a significant time commitment, this internship might not be ideal for students engaging in multiple extracurriculars and after-school obligations.  


Location: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Eligibility: New York City high school students who have completed Youth Insights Artists and Youth Insights Arts Careers programs.

Dates: This program runs year-round, with sessions held in the summer and after school.

Application deadline: Information on this is not available at the moment.

Stipend: Students will be paid, but information on the exact amount is not available.


Youth Insights is a program that consists of after-school and summer opportunities for New York City high schoolers. Three of its other programs, YI Artists (one school semester), YI Arts Careers (summer), and YI Introductions, are free learning opportunities. Students who have completed the YI Artists and YI Art Careers programs are eligible for the year-long paid internship program, Youth Insights Leaders. Interns will organize public events for other teens, develop and lead interactive tours of museum exhibitions, and assist educators at the museum. If you apply to the YI Leaders program, you must be prepared to work 3–10 hours every week. At the moment, apart from the YI Artists program, which is accepting applications here, applications for all YI programs will open next year.


Location: Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York, NY

Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores and juniors in NYC can apply to Artslife. All students aged 13–18 in NYC can apply to RECESS.

Duration/Dates: July 9, 2024–August 16, 2024 (Artslife) | February 20–23, 2024 (RECESS I) | April 23–26, 2024 (RECESS II)

Application deadline: April 7, 2024 (Artslife) | January 7, 2024 (RECESS)

Stipend: $16 an hour and an unlimited MetroCard for the duration of the internship (Artslife). $200 stipend and weekly unlimited MetroCard (RECESS).


MAD offers two paid art internships to NYC teens, Artslife and RECESS. Artslife is a 6-week program offering a combination of art and design through leadership training, museum studies, and community engagement. Students will be introduced to careers in all museum departments—Curatorial, Education, Development, Communications and Marketing, Visitor Services, Security, and Registrar. The first week of Artslife will revolve around team bonding and an introduction to the museum. The next five weeks focus on collaborative projects (which could involve the creation of artwork and visits to other cultural institutions) with mentors, which include museum staff, local designers, and arts professionals. 


RECESS is an intensive 4-day program that involves understanding art and art history and how museums work. RECESS I and II are scheduled during winter and spring breaks of NYC public schools, respectively. Both, Artslife and RECESS, involve developing and leading peer-to-peer tours of the museum. The programs also offer a chance to develop a podcast series! You can check out podcasts developed by MAD interns here


Location: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, NY

Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors in NYC are eligible to apply.

Dates: The internship typically runs from November to May.

Application deadline: There is no information available on this at the moment.

Stipend: $2,000 paid in two $1,000 installments during the program.


This program is worth considering if you are interested in exploring the field of design. At Design Hive, you will work with professional designers to learn how an initial idea becomes the final design and develop collaborative projects. Access to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is also offered with the program, so you can engage with the exhibitions, objects, and people. The program is scheduled with 2-hour sessions every Tuesday. Keep an eye on the official Design Hive page for application announcements!


Location: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL

Eligibility: Students aged 15–19 in Chicago can apply.

Dates: The program will run from September to June.

Application deadline: Applications will open in April. There is no information on the deadline at the moment.

Stipend: Up to $1,600 a year


Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, offers teens in the city this cultural leadership program—Teen Creative Agency. The TCA interns are expected to come to the museum once a week to engage with contemporary art and artists. They will also visit other cultural institutions, peers, and professionals in the field of arts. The idea is to make room for the youth’s perspective and their ideas in the museum. The program’s lead artists guide teens to hone their collaboration skills and improve their knowledge of public engagement and creative processes.


Location: Washington D.C.

Eligibility: Rising high school seniors can apply.

Dates: The program runs 8 weeks in the summer. Students can plan the exact dates via discussions with their mentors.

Application deadline: March (tentatively, based on previous years)

Stipend: $3,200 ($400/week)


This internship honors Benjamin Lawless – an internationally recognized exhibition planner, designer, Emmy-winning filmmaker, and writer. During the program, interns will learn about audience engagement, exhibition design, and research stories associated with museum objects. The program requires 36 hours per week (Monday to Friday). The goal is that interns will develop creativity to find new ways to tell stories inspired by the Smithsonian’s collections and research at the end of the internship.


Bonus!


Location: Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI

Eligibility: Milwaukee-based high school juniors and seniors can apply.

Duration: March 7, 2024–May 16, 2024 (Satellite Teens) | July 11–August 4, 2024 (ArtXpress). These are tentative dates, based on previous years.

Application deadline: January 31, 2024 (Satellite Teens) | June (ArtXpress)

Stipend: Students will be paid, but information on the exact amount is not available.


These two paid internship opportunities at Milwaukee Art Museum are worth exploring if you’re keen on learning about the inner workings of museums and exploring the art and artists involved with the institution. The 10-week, 10-session Satellite Teens program involves working with the museum staff and local practicing artists, visiting other studios and galleries, and exploring institutions with art programs. Whereas, the 4-week summer program, ArtXpress, will give you the opportunity to create a mural that addresses an issue in the city of Milwaukee. This summer program also involves interaction with local artists and exploring the museum’s collections to draw inspiration for the mural. At the end of the internship, the mural will be displayed on a Milwaukee County Bus! 



A few more options you can consider:



One other option

If you are interested in doing university-level research, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program—a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, over 4,000 students applied for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art


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