Art History, Major | Museums and Cultural Heritage, Minor | Lovett College, '20 | Internship Year: 2019
“I’ve been taking a step back and saying, ‘Okay, I don’t have to rush,’ and treating this internship as an explorative experience versus the next step in a linear progression.”
While Grace Earick has had several previous work experiences in the art industry, including two Rice research projects at the Menil Collection and Lawndale Art Center, interning at a major institution like the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston was a completely new endeavor.
“I really wanted to see what curatorial work was like,” she says. After applying directly through the museum’s job board, Earick received funding through the School of Humanities’ HEDGE program to pursue her 2019 curatorial internship at the museum’s International Center for the Arts of the Americas.
At the MFAH, she and fellow Rice intern Ellie Mix worked together in updating and helping to improve the accessibility of the museum’s International Center for the Arts of the Americas digital archive of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art documents.
Arden Decker, associate director of the ICAA, says the center’s mission is to make the digital archives accessible not only to researchers and scholars in the United States, but globally as well. “Our project has visitors from around the world. Obviously, many users are in Latin America, but we also have registered users as far away as Africa and Asia,” she says. “Our platform is used by expert researchers down to the public at large, so I think Grace and Ellie are not just impacting our local community, they’re also making an impact on a global community that’s interested in the history of Latin American and Latino art.”
In addition to gaining an immersive education on Latin American art, Earick acknowledges the significance of receiving a firsthand experience with museum careers through her internship. “It has been really professionally explorative for both of us,” she says. “It gave us more complicated and nuanced insights into what working in this industry looks like.”
As the Rice students’ supervisor, Decker, who found her own way into museums by doing an internship as an undergraduate, can personally attest to the value of internships as a means of gaining insight into both the passion and practicality that is present in museum networks. “I think participating in these types of internships is a way for students to see that there are many skills that can be applied in the sphere of a museum.”
Profile written by Katelyn Landry, Editorial Assistant, Office of the Dean of Humanities