MoAD intern and artist Rawley Clark on their summer internship at MoAD
Though I’ve lived in San Francisco for almost my entire life, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I stepped into MoAD for the first time. I was so enamored with the fact that every wall was covered in art by Black artists, that each sculpture was meticulously made by careful Black hands. It was easy to spend hours taking everything in, and I knew that it was a place that I would love to be a part of someday. Having spaces where Black art is centered, prioritized, and uplifted is something that is incredibly important, and it brought me so much joy to think about the ways that MoAD is impacting communities of color every day. Black art and Black stories, as well as the stories of people of color in general, are subjects that I focused on a lot in my undergraduate career. For my senior thesis, I spent a year interviewing women of color in the arts that live and work in the San Francisco Bay area and compiling them into an illustrated artist’s book, so the mission of MoAD resonated with me deeply. When I saw that my university was offering summer internships at the museum I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Despite the fact that the museum was unable to open due to the state of the pandemic, working at MoAD has been such an amazing experience that I am beyond grateful for.
I have learned so much during my short time at MoAD this summer. The staff is comprised of some of the most passionate, hardworking people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Despite everything that is going on in the world, I’ve gotten to see the behind the scenes planning and execution of countless events and programs that our staff has put on. It has been amazing to see just how far the community has grown throughout the past few months and the reach that the programming has been able to generate because of the programs’ online accessibility. I have absolutely loved seeing the ways that the staff supports and uplifts one another, as well as the dedication that this team has to provide a unique experience regardless of the circumstances. Though at first, I was worried and a bit skeptical about how an internship that was completely remote and did not allow me to be physically present in the museum, the MoAD staff and director worked hard to make the best out of the situation and to include the interns as much as possible in that work.
This internship has allowed me to work on skills that I was always interested in developing but never had the chance to really pursue. Over the course of the summer, I was able to practice design work, manage memberships, sit in on important meetings, and more. I felt incredibly supported and felt that my supervisors had complete trust in me to work freely and to create the things that I wanted to create. Through this experience, I was able to push myself out of my creative comfort zone, which is something that is always important to me as an artist. I was able to balance my personal work with my work for the museum, learning a bit more with each project and applying the things that I’d learned in both realms. The internship was about more than just simply getting it done– every step of the way I was encouraged to express myself creatively and was only ever given positive, constructive criticism. Especially coming straight out of undergrad, it was amazing to get a taste of what art-making would look like in my personal and professional life, outside of the context of the classroom.
My experience at MoAD is one that I am sad to see come to an end. I have loved working with the other interns and interacting with the staff. It was absolutely amazing to spend a summer immersed in Black art and culture and to share that joy with a group of incredibly talented, passionate people. Thank you to everyone at MoAD who contributed to this experience, and I hope that our paths can cross again outside of the virtual space!