My Vivid Reality
–Chloe Williams, 2021 Education Intern
What an opportunity of a lifetime it is to be part of the Chrysler Museum of Art’s summer internship program. I am a frequent visitor of the Chrysler, and I was excited for an opportunity to be consistently surrounded by so many great pieces of art, participate in different behind-the-scenes activities, and meet personnel that I wouldn’t usually get the chance to meet. I am a junior at Norfolk State University, and my major is Fine Arts. My career goal is to be an art therapist for children. Spending the summer in the education department at the Chrysler really helped me connect the dots to my future career. With Allison Taylor, the Museum’s director of education, as my mentor, I was sure to succeed in all my endeavors. During my internship, I learned how to maneuver through the many tasks given to me, work with a team, be patient in stressful situations, push my creativity, listen attentively and follow through, and be even more confident in what I believe in through my ideas.
Cell Phone Tour: The first assignment that I was given was to create an audio cell phone tour for the Chrysler’s permanent collection. This cell phone tour takes the visitor on a journey of seeing the artwork in a different light by going beyond the information on the label. I chose The Artists’ Wives and The Old Mill as two of the pieces for the cell phone tour.
Rainy Day Project: This project is intended for parents to engage with their children at home. It consists of many activities based on pieces from the permanent collection. I chose to do my rainy-day project based on Five Lobed Covered Box with Decoration of a Qilin Standing on Rocks Rising out of a Sea of Rolling Waves. I was inspired by the detailed koi fish and created a koi fish out of construction paper, tissue paper, markers, and googly eyes. It is a fun craft that encourages children to really use their imagination to create a beautiful fish.
Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful Family Guide Poem: Pulling inspiration from Alma Thomas’s work, I wrote a poem that is included in the Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful family guide. The poem and other activities in the guide help parents and children find inspiration in the Chrysler’s summer exhibition and spark their own creativity. The exhibition highlights Thomas’s tendency to find beauty in everything. I tethered that theme into the poem by using titles of her works throughout the poem and connecting those titles with the world around us. I formatted it so that even the youngest child could understand without the poem completely losing its depth.
Behind the Scenes with Seth Feman, PhD: Before the Alma Thomas exhibition opened, Seth Feman, deputy director for art & interpretation and curator of photography, invited me behind the scenes. I’ve worked as an art gallery assistant at Norfolk State University, so it was very insightful to learn how a gallery works on a larger scale. He discussed the importance of which piece to choose to be the first thing the viewer’s eye leads to. I also watched him negotiate the spacing between paintings and determine where a painting should be hung so that it’s at the eye level of the viewer. He informed me about the process of getting the art and where it originates, from both museums and private lenders. I learned that art couriers travel with the pieces of art and watch when the pieces are put up and taken down. The courier is in attendance if there is a decision to move the piece as well. This is to ensure that the piece is being well taken care of while at the Chrysler.
Teacher Institute: I assisted Natalia Pilato, an art professor at Old Dominion University, to prepare for the Alma Thomas Teacher Institute. She was such a blast! Her game plan was to create marionettes and color studies in the eyes of Alma. I prepped the paint and ran the station. The teachers will use the marionettes as a teaching tool (just as Alma Thomas would have) for their students. We brainstormed on ways to assemble marionettes. There was a lot of trial and error but, eventually, we came up with the best solution on how to successfully produce a marionette. At the end, everyone got together for a tea party and put on an educational puppet show using their marionettes.
Summer Camp: I assisted during Camp Chrysler for ages 4–6 and 7–10. I got to meet some exceptional kids! They were so talented, insightful, and energetic. I’m so glad I got to make an impact on children’s lives by supporting their artistic abilities.
Healing Tour: My major assignment was to create a healing tour. This tour focused on provoking deep emotions through personal questions generated from the Chrysler’s permanent collection. One of the works I chose was Orestes Pursued by the Furies, which deals with guilt, shame, and forgiveness. As a future art therapist, it was imperative for me to put my best foot forward with this task. My meeting with Eileen Douglas, assistant professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), helped me gain a better understanding of what the mission for the tour was. We discussed that the tour should be called a healing tour rather than art therapy tour because providing art therapy requires a license.
Field Trips: This internship marked my first visit to the Hermitage Museum. I also experienced a guided tour of the Art Therapy and Counseling Program at EVMS. As a future art therapist, it was consequential for me to learn what EVMS has to offer. I learned what students can accomplish at the end of the program and how their work can be showcased throughout the building. I also had the opportunity to tour the classrooms and art studio! We talked about what art therapy means to us, if we knew someone who experienced art therapy, and the characteristics of an art therapist such as they are naturally nurturing. When I heard the description of an art therapist, I felt so warm inside because I knew at that very moment that I am destined for a career in art therapy. The EVMS tour confirmed that for me and I am forever grateful for that enlightenment.
Things I’ve Learned: On my Chrysler journey, I have gained so much knowledge from all facets of the Museum. I learned about the history of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. and the start of the Museum. I also learned more about Impressionism from the docent tour and how Art Matters, an art program formulated those who live with Alzheimer’s disease, helps people deal with life’s changes. I also had a meeting with Cassie Rangel, the graphics manager, and she taught me about the importance of text font, color schemes, and layouts of signs, programs, and advertisement banners for the many art exhibitions. Being a summer 2021 intern at the Chrysler Museum of Art was an experience of a lifetime! I will never forget the lessons taught to me from those who guided me through my process. I built connections with colleagues from different fields, carrying those contacts with me on my professional journey. As I grow, not only as an artist but as a person, I will make my imprint on this everchanging world by mirroring the qualities of those who mentored me. I hope those who follow in my footsteps, as an education intern, hold onto every ounce of inspiration they acquire every step of the way!