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April 30, 2018

Five keys to finding opportunities in arts and communications

Grace Grieve-Carlson ’19

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The path to a career in the arts can take many different directions, which means that finding your own next steps can sometimes be a challenge. With these tips and resources, you’ll be ready!

Sunlit studio within the Kendall Sports & Dance Complex
Sunlit studio within the Kendall Sports and Dance Complex

1. Look at Handshake and other online databases.

Handshake — Mount Holyoke’s job search database — contains hundreds of opportunities for Mount Holyoke students. You can find even more opportunities through the sites below.

  • Artsearch lists thousands of art internships around the nation. A coupon for free membership can be found in Handshake.
  • is a great resource for arts internships in Massachusetts.
  • matches undergraduate women in the visual arts with mentors and paid internships.
  • Studio Institute gathers paid art internships for undergraduates, and is specifically dedicated to supporting diverse candidates with financial need.
  • The Los Angeles County Arts Commission matches students with California-based internships at theater companies, dance companies, orchestras and more.
  • The New York Foundation for the Arts posts residencies, internships and other art opportunities in and around New York.
  • The College Art Association publishes calls for entries and papers, conference notices, fellowship and grant opportunities, available internships and more.

The Handshake Resource Library has even more resources collected by the MHC community for museum- and theater-specific opportunities. Websites such as LinkedIn,, Glassdoor and Idealist are not art-specific, but are also great resources.

Students at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
Students at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

2. Check out MHConnect and Five College opportunities.

Mount Holyoke cultivates relationships with businesses and organizations, which leads to a curated collection of internships for Mount Holyoke students. These include opportunities to volunteer at the UMass Fine Arts Center, join Team Mead at Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum, or find a job or internship at the MHC Art Museum.

Hampshire College has several academic summer art programs, such as Screenwriting for Film and Video, Stop Motion Animation Intensive, and the Institute for Linguistics, Image, and Text, which includes a paid internship. While you are on the Hampshire College website, see their comprehensive list of arts and writing opportunities.

Costume design through the Department of Theatre Arts
Costume design through the Department of Theatre Arts

3. Talk to the professors and others mentors in your life.

Some family members may have insight on industries that you are interested in. People you meet through events or lectures may be able to give you tips. And, of course, your professors are great resources. If you make strong connections with professors, they could even ask you for help on their own projects!

Having an “in” at a company or organization is a great way to secure an internship, so don’t be afraid to mine your network for help from the people around you. Always be respectful and cultivate these relationships on an ongoing basis, not just when you need help.

Inside a studio art class, Art Building
Inside a studio art class, Art Building

4. Reach out to companies you admire.

If you know of a charity that is doing great work or have long wanted to intern at a specific studio or museum, check online to see if they accept interns. Most have special sections on their website with information on how to apply, but if they don’t, reach out directly via email. Not every company will respond, but those who do will be impressed at your initiative. Stop by the Career Development Center if you need help drafting your inquiry letter. 

Bonus: You will encounter less competition for internships that are not widely advertised.


Inside Mount Holyoke’s digital music lab
Inside Mount Holyoke’s digital music lab

5. Don’t wait — create!

If you know what you want to paint, write, animate or build, why not get started? There are several ways Mount Holyoke can support you. In addition to the guidance you’re likely to receive from faculty, many academic departments have grants to help defray cost barriers associated with pursuing a major-related project.

This past summer, Carlin Ring ’18 wrote a young adult novel in verse, entitled “Saga Skin,” that was made possible by Lynk funding.

“Before I got started, the big thing was finding a mentor. I made a long list of professors I thought might be willing to oversee my project,” explained Ring.

“I planned to write 17 poems a week — 200 altogether. I kept track of my progress through a spreadsheet that my mentor, Sally Sutherland, also had access to. I was back home in Iowa while I wrote, but about every month, we checked in over the phone.”

“I’m still in the process of editing, but because of Mount Holyoke’s support, for months I was able to focus all my energy on writing without worrying about a second job.”

Students at work in the College’s Makerspace
Students at work in the College’s Makerspace

These are just a few of the many options for finding arts careers!

Talk to your academic advisor or stop by the CDC for more resources and ideas. During the academic year, walk-in hours take place Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the CDC and on Fridays in the MEWS from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Or call 413-538-2080 year-round for a 30-minute personal advising appointment.

Employ your creativity. Learn More

Grace Grieve-Carlson ’19, an English major and Arabic minor, is a marketing and design assistant at the Career Development Center. She is the general manager of WMHC and hosts a radio show on Friday afternoons. She is also a member of the Unusual Suspects improv troupe, a cartoonist for the Mount Holyoke News and co-leads the student organization Comedy Collective.
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