Director’s Fellow Latrice Lawson (CMA Intern Week)
Latrice Lawson is a graphic design student and studio artist from Jackson, Mississippi. She attends Jackson State University and is this year’s Director’s Fellow at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Throughout her busy schedule working with our education department and designing and creating images for the CMA website we sat down with her and talked about her takeaways and the challenges she faced during her eight-week fellowship at the museum.
Cleveland Museum of Art: How did you become a fellow at the CMA?
Latrice Lawson: My art history professor mentioned the fellowship to my African Art class. I had always appreciated the museum environment as a visitor, but never really thought of pursuing art history as a career. I decided to apply and asked my art history and graphic design professors to write recommendation letters for me. I was selected as a finalist, got the fellowship, and here I am!
CMA: What exactly do you do here?
LL: I am interning in both the publications and the education departments. In publications, I’ve done photo editing for the Cleveland Art Members Magazine, worked on handouts and museum brochures, and made lots of cards, banners, and slides that are currently visible on the website. In education, I’ve taught a couple of ceramics classes and helped out with scavenger hunts, family events, and programs.
CMA: What’s been the most exciting part of your internship?
LL: Witnessing how all the departments are interwoven and work together for visitors. It’s a beehive, of sorts! I also love how I’m able to learn more about the artwork. As a visual artist, I love learning about different techniques, but understanding the context of a piece and the artist who created it is imperative to truly appreciate a work of art.
CMA: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced while interning?
LL: For publications, the biggest challenges, but also the most important part, have been the consultations. In order to ensure that everyone gets what they need from your department, there has to be clear communication. Publications usually take a few revisions, but seeing the final product makes everything worth it!
Learning to use film cameras
For the education department, the biggest challenge is event planning and organization. I think people often overlook how much time and energy goes into education programming at the CMA. The people in education work really hard to ensure that visitors of any background enjoy their experience at the museum! It’s a lot tougher than it looks and I have developed a huge amount of respect for the people in the department.
CMA: What projects are you working on now?
LL: I’m currently finishing up my final publication assignments (mostly web pieces) and am getting ready to spend the last bit of my time in education, where I’ll be assisting with their summer programming.
CMA: What has been the most unexpected part of your experience at the CMA?
LL: How enjoyable the work environment is here! Everyone is always friendly and happy to help, if they can. I’ve been to a fair array of museums and that is not always the case.
CMA: What advice do you have for people interested in interning at the CMA?
LL: APPLY! Make sure to be honest on your application and cover letter. You may have moments where you doubt yourself (like I did), but you never know unless you put yourself out there. Take a leap of faith!
The Teen CO•OP poses with Latrice on their first day of training.
To learn more about becoming an intern at the Cleveland Museum of Art check out our fellowships and internships.
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