By Education & Media Intern Yesenia Perez
On Monday, July 10th, I visited the Getty Arts Center for my first time. There I met over 100 other Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Interns, representing more than 90 Los Angeles-area museums and visual arts organizations, all of us eager to begin our day at the 2017 Getty Arts Summit.
Exterior view of The Getty Center
After sharing introductions over coffee and pastries in the courtyard, we moved inside the Getty Museum Lecture Hall where Cynthia Querio, The Getty Foundation Program Assistant, welcomed us to the space. Ms. Querio gave a brief overlook at the exciting things underway through the Getty Foundation including Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, the upcoming collaboration of arts institutions across Southern California highlighting Latin American and Latino art.
(c) 2017 J. Paul Getty Trust
Betty Avila, Associate Director of Self-Help Graphics, delivered the keynote address in which she weaved together an authentic and honest reflection of her own personal journey with counsel for emerging leaders, seamlessly touching upon the complicated politics of gentrification and art and exploring the evolving landscape of arts leadership. Drawing from her own experience and position at Self-Help Graphics, she underscored the importance of career mentorship whilst emphasizing the necessity for women of color to boldly and unapologetically take up leadership roles in the art world.
Following the keynote address, we participated in breakout sessions led by fourteen professionals working in a variety of careers with Los Angeles art organizations and institutions. I attended the “Civic Engagement and Art Education” session with Sandy Rodriguez, an artist and independent educator; “Artists and Community Partnerships” with Shelby Williams-Gonzalez, Development and Communications Director of artworkxLA; “Communicating the Arts” with Kimberly Kandel, Communications Coordinator for the Ford Theatres in Hollywood; and “Learning from Exhibitions” with Jamillah James, Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. As my passions lie at the intersection of art, education, and social change, I found the interactive dialogue with Sandy Rodriguez particularly relevant and affirming, while hearing from Shelby Williams-Gonzalez about her work with artworxLA happened to harmoniously align with my forthcoming senior thesis, which will center the creative arts as a space to negotiate identity, construct multiple forms of knowledge and capital, and disrupt the school to prison pipeline. These conversations were also great spaces for me to learn about what other interns were up to and in what exciting and unexpected ways our interests overlapped.
Ms. Querio leading us through Eyewitness Views!
By this point in the afternoon our hunger was satiated by the delicious sandwiches we enjoyed with our Learning Hubs during lunch. Learning Hubs are regional cohorts of around fifteen to twenty MUI interns, each with a group leader who is a full-time employee at one of the participating organizations. Westside Hub #6 is led by our own Gaby Hernandez, who organized an outing to The Museum of Jurassic Technology and The Wende Museum a few weeks earlier. It was fun to reconnect with my fellow Hub members while taking a walk through Robert Irwin’s Central Garden, though the sweltering heat quickly forced us to retreat back inside for air conditioning. We wrapped up the afternoon with gallery and department tours; I had the privilege of touring Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth Century Europe and Berlin/Los Angeles: Space For Music.
My day at the Getty solidified my interest in working in the arts and most importantly, broadened the scope of abundant opportunities that are available by introducing me to a diverse range of individuals working at multiple levels to transform communities and society.