Internship Series: Parrish Art Museum

Parrish Art Museum
Montauk Highway Watermill, NY
United States
40° 44' 9.3588" N, 73° 7' 4.5984" W

It all started with a museum trip. My boyfriend had been raving about this amazing art museum on the east end of Long Island and how we just had to go. In spring we made a trip out to Parrish Art Museum in Watermill and it was the most captivating experience. Between the remarkable architecture and the varying artworks I was in awe the moment we turned into the entrance. Immediately after our visit I applied for an internship. That summer I interned at Parrish as a Communications Intern. This would be my third internship but my first that was specific to my major.

            I was beyond excited to start working, in part because I was eager to be around art and learn about the artists, as well as learn from others in the industry while expanding my communications experience. It felt like the first day of school. Throughout my time at Parrish I learned various new skills and was able to work hands on with my supervisor, other interns and the various departments. This was really rewarding because I saw how different facets of a museum work in conjunction to make Parrish what it is. One aspect of the museum I thought was very unique was how involved Parrish is in the local community and the numbers of events offered to the public. There are tours led by docents as well as special tours throughout each exhibition season to focus on the specific aspects of an artist and the works. I believe art education is the key to expanding the ‘active art appreciation’ community. Parrish makes a point of expanding their visitors’ knowledge through educational tours and special events.

            I am more familiar with digital communications but Parrish taught me the basics of traditional PR and communications. This was really helpful in understanding press coverage and how that can effect an organization. My supervisor was very open and worked one on one with me paying no expense to explain processes in depth. After having experience at a larger establishment I realized I loved smaller/medium-sized organizations. I really appreciated the intimacy of the office and how all departments worked directly with one another. I don’t think I would have learned as much as I did if it were a larger museum or company.

At the end of the summer an intern luncheon series was held. This gave all the interns the opportunity to hear from the head director of different departments. They indulged about their path in life and how they ended up at Parrish. Having the chance to talk to leaders of the institution was amazing. It taught me that life, especially after college, isn’t a linear path. Everyone’s story was extremely dynamic, with occupations switching between industries and across states. Realizing how fluid life’s journey is shattered my idea of my own future. It made me consider possibilities and be open to change. Every single director who spoke exemplified an openness to change and opportunity. This gave me faith; as long as I keep an open mind and adapted to change I think I’ll be just fine. Parrish taught me so much and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such inspiring people. I have so much to learn but the lessons and skills I learned at Parrish will absolutely be carried with me in future endeavors.