Written by Nicole Licea
Director of the GLCA New York Arts Program, Alvin Sher, visited the campus on Thursday to conduct informative sessions for students and faculty and to show a short film pertaining to this interdisciplinary internship opportunity.
Established in 1937, the Chelsea-based NYAP provides students from 12 schools across the nation with opportunities to experience working with a diverse array of professional artists and organizations. The three main areas of study are Media Arts (Television & Radio, Video, Film & Performance Art, Advertising & Marketing, Creative Writing, Journalism and Literature), Performing Arts (Theatre, Acting, Directing, Stage Management, Production, Music Performance/Composition, Dance & Choreography) and Visual Arts (Studio Arts, Design, Art History and Arts Administration). There are also apprenticeships available that focus on Gender Issues and Minorities and Ethnicity.
Sher was available from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for any students with questions about the program. In the early afternoon, Sher showed a half-hour film in the Fine Arts Center that included brief testimonials from students at schools across the nation who took part in the New York Arts Program (NYAP), introduced the four main advisors of the program and gave a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes life students living and working in New York.
“We don’t heavily advertise the program,” Sher said. “Our turnout every year depends mainly upon how much publicity we get through the grapevine.”
Students who apply do not have to be art majors as long as they’re able to demonstrate previous experience and interest in a particular field focused upon by the NYAP. Generally, the accepted students are either juniors or seniors.
“We have the occasional second-semester sophomore every now and then,” Sher said, “but it really depends if the student has had sufficient preparation and demonstrates their desire strongly enough within their application and interviews.”
While Southwestern usually sends about four students a year to complete the semester in New York, last year there were ten, including three who interned in the music field. Students currently participating in the program are working with different companies, including Saturday Night Live and the Chelsea Museum. Former NYAP students have interned with such big-name publications as “Glamour”, “Teen Vogue” and “Rolling Stone Magazine”.
“Going to the program in New York gave me experience to supplement my focus in photography, but this is an amazing resource for people in the fields of theatre, music and communications,” Carling Hale, Senior, said. “If you feel like you don’t have adequate facilities or professors or resources for your area of study here at school, then going to New York is great idea. It was inspiring getting to be around so many gallery openings and art shows.”
After being accepted into the program and arriving in New York, students begin a series of interviews arranged by their advisors based on what kind of internship or they want. They also have the freedom to arrange for their own apprenticeships. Hale split her time in New York between apprenticing for fashion photographer Jordan Doner and working with freelance artist-photographer Sarah Small.
“The program is so flexible,” Hale said. “If you don’t like what you’re doing or feel uncomfortable with who you’re working with, you have the power and control to switch up what you’re doing.”
The fifteen-week fall and spring semesters are spent in the program’s mid-town Manhattan townhouse, usually with about 45 other students from different schools. Although the NYAP also offers a shorter spring term of ten weeks, students from Southwestern have to attend one of the full-term fifteen-week semesters.
Hale considered the opportunity to develop a more personal relationship with a boss one of the main benefits of on-the-job training away from the conventional classroom environment.
“You are not going to get this kind of learning in a university setting,” Hale said. “There isn’t a class that teaches you how to deal with clients and the business aspect of the industry. I got to see how being a photographer affected someone’s personal life and relationships.”
Sher advised that students speak with Southwestern’s on-campus representative and Internship Recruiter, Maria Kruger, if they want to find out about the technicalities of the program, like transfer of financial aid and keeping track of credit requirements for different majors.
“I am here to support students through the entire process of application to the NYAP, from the very beginning when they get the idea in their head that this might be just the thing for them,” Mrs. Kruger said. “I’ve been to the program site in New York and spoken to the students who come back; I even have photos of the house that they stay in. I’m the person you need to contact if you want to learn more.”
Deadline applications for the internships beginning in September of the fall semester are due March 31 and those for the spring term beginning in January are due October 31. Maria Kruger can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling ext. 1671 to set up an appointment. More detailed information about the program, application requirements and deadlines, tuition costs and the background information about the program staff is available at their website.