By Education & Media Intern Vanessa Chung
On Monday, June 27th, I, along with 100 other Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Interns, entered the Getty Center Museum Lecture Hall for the annual Getty MUI Arts Summit. The day started with coffee and breakfast pastries (yum!) in the courtyard, where I was able to meet other interns and see some familiar faces from UCLA and my Community Learning Hub.
Community Learning Hubs are cohorts of fifteen to twenty interns grouped by location, led by a full-time employee at one of the participating organizations. I’m lucky to have P. S. ARTS’ own Gaby Hernandez as the hub leader for the Westside. Thanks to her, our Learning Hub was able to meet the week before the Summit for an all-day outing to three different organizations (we visited 18th Street Arts Center, Villa Aurora, and the Eames House). On Monday, our Learning Hub immediately gathered together, and we spent coffee time sharing our weekend stories and laughing at the memories made that previous Thursday.
Following breakfast, we were ushered into the lecture hall to hear Nao Bustamante deliver the keynote address. She shared her career in the arts, allowing us to better understand her practice as a multimedia and performance artist exploring issues of ethnicity, class, and gender through the medium of her body. As part of the Getty Multicultural Internship program and as a female artist, it was exciting to hear a fellow woman artist of color encouraging us to do what was necessary to challenge and change the institutions around us.
A conversation with my Hub afterwards about her charge to change inspired me to find more grounded, more essential ways to approach my interests in the arts and education. In my time studying with UCLA’s Visual and Performing Arts Education, I was exposed to the many shifts in arts education, from the instillment of Common Core to budget cuts to the arts in public schools. These changes make organizations pushing for quality arts education, like P.S. ARTS, indispensable. However, I’ve often felt overwhelmed by the pressures of finding ways to approach change; it was encouraging not only to find allies with my peers, but also with an established artist. I’ve since been searching for more intentional ways to work with fellow artists, educators, and local organizations to advocate for the arts.
After the keynote address, we continued the day with career sessions, where twelve professionals working in a variety of Los Angeles art organizations and institutions shared the tricks of their trades in small breakout groups. I attended the “Community Engagement” session led by Clement Hanami, Art Director and Program Developer at the Japanese American National Museum; “Arts and Community Building” led by Self Help Graphics Associate Director Betty Avila; “Audience Engagement” by Greg Sandoval, the Curator of Public Programs at the Fowler Museum; and “Academic Art History” led by Miwon Kwon, the Chair of the UCLA Department of Art History. I found these career sessions to be taste tests of specific careers in the art world. It was interesting to compare and contrast how each speaker discussed their careers and see how an organization’s size, location, and audience changes the culture of the workplace. While looking through my notes from these sessions, I found a conversation with Greg Sandoval particularly relevant to my internship; he spoke on creating programs where participants have more room to understand processes in art rather than creating a generic master copy. For example, instead of focusing a lesson on producing a painting that looks like a Jackson Pollock, a program could look into reviewing the gesture and mark-making strategies created by the Abstract Expressionist painters and their intentions in using those techniques. I started reevaluating the P.S. ARTS To Go’s I’ve been creating this summer and have since tried to adjust the focus to the process, not the product. It was exciting to find overlaps between the different organizations and what I’ve been working on at P.S. ARTS!
The rest of the day continued with lunch with our Hub (where I might have indulged in one-too-many sandwiches) and tours led by Getty staff. As a recent graduate soon to face the terrors of job searching in the arts, it was reassuring to interact with so many motivated and like-minded individuals pushing for innovation and growth in their respective fields.