15 Art Internships for High School Students
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Passionate about art and wondering where it might take you? In this post, we’ve rounded up art internships across the nation that provide mentorship and learning opportunities with leading arts professionals. You’ll get to explore a variety of careers in the art world and develop your own skills in art-making, curation, leadership, and collaboration.
While most internships are located near cities, you can still use geography to your advantage — look for opportunities at local museums, galleries, and art studios near you!
15 Art Internships for High School Students
The Met offers school-year and summer internships to sophomores and juniors in New York, along with expanded eligibility for summer internships to students in New Jersey and Connecticut. Interns are placed in one of 17 departments and work 40 hours total, earning a stipend at the conclusion of their internship. With activities ranging from event planning to career workshops, this program provides an insider’s guide to arts administration. Application deadlines generally fall in October for school-year internships and April for summer internships.
The MFA offers paid 12-month internships for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the Boston area. Students may apply to the STEAM Team, the Curatorial Study Hall, or the Teen Arts Council depending on their specific interests. Select Boston Public School (BPS) students are also eligible to work as Student Docents. All programs include hands-on projects, networking opportunities, and a behind-the-scenes experience at one of the most comprehensive art collections in the world. Applications are currently being reviewed on a rolling basis for the 2021-22 cycle, so apply now!
Paid internships are available throughout the year to Chicagoland teens at one of the oldest and most beloved art museums in the country. Whether it’s planning events, making art, or engaging with visiting artists, all four programs at the Art Institute offer plentiful opportunities to explore, learn, and collaborate with other interns. Deadlines occur throughout the year, but Teen Council applications will open in June, and students taking classes at the Marwen may apply for the Marwen Internship in July.
Los Angeles teens aged 16-18 may apply to be summer gallery guides for ~7 weeks at the Getty, one of the most visited museums in the world. The program pays for transportation to and from the Getty, along with a stipend upon completion. Interns learn about museum collections and work primarily with groups of K-12 visitors, developing public speaking and facilitation skills. Students in the Boyle Heights community are also eligible for Getty Teen Lab, an eight-week STEAM-focused summer internship that offers a stipend and covers transportation costs. Check for application deadlines in the spring!
Anyone between the ages of 14 and 19 in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex may apply to join the Teen Advisory Council and/or Teen Ambassador Program at the DMA, one of the largest art museums in the country. The Teen Advisory Council plans for youth events and programs yearlong, while Teen Ambassadors lead gallery teaching and art activities for elementary and middle school students for 20-40 hours over the summer. Both positions are unpaid, but museum volunteers enjoy free parking and free admission to special exhibits, along with discounts in the store and cafe. Applications for the Teen Advisory Council will open in July.
Founded during the nation’s first centennial in 1876, the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers two school-year programs for teens. Philadelphia public school students may apply to the Teen Sketch Club, a group of fifteen students who meet for nine weeks each semester to explore the museum collections and create art. Those interested in planning events alongside museum staff may apply to the Teen Ambassador Group, open to teens ages 14-19 who commit to biweekly meetings throughout the school year. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for applications!
The largest museum in New York City after the Met, Brooklyn Museum offers three paid internship programs to local teens ages 14-19: the Museum Apprentice Program, InterseXtions: Gender & Sexuality, and Teen Night Planning Committee. All programs offer skills training and meetings with artists and museum staff, along with opportunities to work on projects engaging museum visitors and the local community. Internships generally begin in the fall, so look out for application deadlines in the spring! Alumni ages 18-22 who complete an internship may then apply for Teen Council, a paid position focused on youth organizing.
Florida high school students may apply for the paid summer ArtWorks Internship offered by Arts for Learning, a Miami nonprofit organization. The internship requires no previous arts experience and runs for 6 weeks, during which students work 150 hours alongside a mentor in their specialty of choice: visual arts, dance, creative writing, theatre, music production, or animation. Nonresidents of Florida may accrue community service hours in lieu of payment. Around 45 students participate every summer, so check for deadlines in the spring!
Anyone age 14 and above may apply to the General Smithsonian Internship Pool, which the 19 Smithsonian museums and numerous affiliated offices will draw upon for recruiting interns throughout the year. Application deadlines are July 15 for the fall semester, November 15 for the spring semester, and March 15 for the summer. Most internships are unpaid, and you may also apply directly to the museums in which you are interested. For example, the National Portrait Gallery hosts a Teen Museum Council, with applications opening in September.
One of the country’s oldest performing arts venues, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) offers a paid year-long program for rising high school seniors in New York. Between artistic training, college preparation, and professional development, students attend weekly workshops in July before starting internships with BAM’s Education Department that run from October through June. Interns network with professionals, plan for training after high school, and receive fee waivers for college applications. High school juniors should apply for this program by May.
One of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art in the world can be found here in San Francisco. Bay Area sophomores, juniors, and seniors may apply to the museum’s Art Speak internship, a paid 10-month experience that runs for 6-8 hours weekly throughout the school year. Interns engage with Asian art and activism, develop and teach activities for arts education, and attend local artist workshops. You can join the mailing list for applications by contacting email@example.com.
Established in 1971, the Bronx Museum offers two paid internships to New York high school students. Teen Summer runs for four weeks and emphasizes collaborative exploration of local communities and cultural highlights in New York, culminating in media and art productions. Teen Council runs for eight months during the school year and allows students to curate an exhibition, interview artists, and collaborate on video projects. For program information and applications, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the largest institutions in the world devoted entirely to contemporary art, the MCA offers a yearlong cultural leadership program to Chicagoland teens ages 14-19. Beginning with a two-week summer intensive, members then meet weekly during the school year for collaborative projects, event planning, workshops with artists and museum staff, and visits to cultural sites around Chicago. Applications are generally due in the beginning of the summer, so reach out to email@example.com for more information.
As the major art museum in the Pacific Northwest, SAM offers a Teen Arts Group that runs during the school year for local teens interested in event planning. Participants select artists, organize gallery talks, and work with museum staff to coordinate community programs, receiving community service credit or a stipend for their work. SAM also offers programs like Teen Art Intensive and Design Your [Neighborhood], multi-session workshops focused on art-making techniques and public design. Deadlines are likely coming up, so be sure to check the website periodically for updates and application information.
New York’s very first museum offers a Student Historian Internship to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the New York City metropolitan area. Around 25 students are selected for this 6-week summer program, conducting research around the city to create digital projects. Interns eligible for free/reduced lunch or attending a Title I school will receive a stipend, and all others qualify for community service or school credit. Those who complete this internship may return as Teen Leaders, paid positions that run throughout the year. Both Student Historian and Teen Leader internships have application deadlines in May.
How Much Do Internships Impact Your College Chances?
Internships are an excellent way to explore potential career paths and demonstrate commitment to specific interests. While a one-time program may not have much advantage over other activities listed on your applications, a 6-week summer internship can still double as work experience, community service, and extracurricular engagement all in one! Keep in mind the four tiers of extracurriculars when considering opportunities. The more selective a program, the stronger your profile will be.
As with most activities on your resume, it’s also best to showcase commitment over a number of years. This demonstrates genuine passion and allows you to make valuable professional connections, which might just result in a special letter of recommendation. Try CollegeVine’s free chancing engine to assess how extracurriculars (along with GPA, test scores, and other factors) might impact your chances of admission.