Seattle Art Museum – Emerging Arts Leader Intern

Seattle Art Museum

Paid Internship Description

Title: Emerging Arts Leader Intern

Department/Location: Curatorial Department, African & Oceanic Art

Staff Mentor: Curator of African and Oceanic Art

Seattle Art Museum connects art to life. SAM strives for its employees, volunteers, and interns to reflect the community in which it exists. We want to develop careers for individuals interested in the arts who bring dynamic backgrounds and perspectives to this paid internship program. While diversity can embody many characteristics, we are particularly interested in engaging with historically under-represented groups in the museum field.

Goals and Learning Objectives: This interdisciplinary position is designed to provide emerging arts leaders from diverse backgrounds with an in-depth understanding of SAM’s operations, programming and audiences. This internship will develop the skill set of the emerging arts leader while also providing them the opportunity to contribute their unique insights and perspectives. This intern will work directly with the curatorial and education departments and be introduced to other departments to gain understanding of careers available to pursue. During the 10 week program, the emerging arts leader will develop a community engagement project or program inspired by SAM’s special exhibitions and permanent collection, culminating with a portfolio presentation that reflects the multidisciplinary work developed throughout the course of the Internship.

Assignments will include:

  • Working with the curatorial staff, the intern will assist photography of African art in the museum’s permanent collection, and research about how it was collected.
  • Working with the curatorial and education staff, the intern will be involved with designing programs about artist’s responses to water for an exhibition entitled Our Blue Planet which will open in March 2022.
  • The intern will take part in listening to community input about “Africa in the Imagination”, a series of interviews to develop changes in the galleries.

Duties & Responsibilities

  1. Learn about what various departments do: curatorial research, community partnership & engagement, program support, development (both program and fundraising) and administrative support.
  2. Gather ideas from professors, artists, musicians, dancers and community leaders who are inspired by African art, and by the subject of water around the world.
  3. Design a community engagement project or program related to Our Blue Planet.
  4. Attend Enrichment Sessions and other programs for interns.
  5. Spend time engaging with visitors at the Info Desk and assisting visitors in the galleries.


  1. Demonstrated interest in and experience with the arts, either through school and associated activities or within a work setting. Competitive candidates will also demonstrate maturity and be able to articulate why this Emerging Arts Leader Internship supports their professional goals in museums or the wider arts industry.
  2. Ability to work with staff and volunteers in a professional manner on a variety of tasks.
  3. Ability to ask for help and accept supervision and evaluation of your work.
  4. Ability to adhere to Museum policies and to support management decisions in a positive, professional manner.
  5. Basic filing, typing, computer, and video conference skills.
  6. Abide by the Standards for Museum Volunteers/Interns as outlined in the Volunteer/Intern Packet.

Education: High School graduate, or GED.

Compensation: $16.69 per hour for up to 20 hours per week, for 10 weeks in the fall term, 2021

Application Requirements (Deadline 5 pm Pacific time August 2, 2021):

  1. SAM Internship Application: Submit application for a specific internship through the SAM Careers page
  2. Personal Statement of no more than 700 words detailing:
  • How you represent diversity in terms of culture, background, or artistic/professional experiences.
  • How questions of equity shape your personal and professional goals?
  • How and why interdisciplinary collaboration will aid your academic or artistic career.
  • What interests you about working in a museum focusing on international art?
  • What you hope to gain from this experience and how might it enhance your education and career plans?
  • What do you feel you can contribute to the museum?
  • What departments or areas of the museum (Public Programs, Curatorial, Communications, Development, Operations) are you most interested in working with?
  1. Resume
  2. Two Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation, ideally from teachers, supervisors, or mentors. References should be emailed directly to, with the applicant name noted in the Subject line.