Tianning Zhang


Summer 2015: Tianning Zhang: Minneapolis Institute of Art


Tianning Zhang, an SJU Senior and Art and Economics double major, was a Media Production Intern at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) this past summer (2015). The MIA is a fine arts museum that also embodies Zhang’s mission to enrich the community by collecting, researching, preserving and exhibiting great art works from around the world!

As a Media Production Intern, Zhang was involved in the research, pre-production, filming, recording, and editing the film, Of Us and Art: 100 Films Project. The film was a year-long project that celebrates and introduces visitors to the history of the museum, its collections, as well as those who make the museum happen via 100 short videos complied together. The title of the film only seemed fitting as MIA will be celebrating its 100th birthday. In addition to the film, Zhang assisted in the installation of interactive media devices such as, The Codex Leicester & the Creativity Mind by Leonardo Da Vinci and Myopia by Mark Motehrsbaugh, both upcoming exhibitions. By working on these activities Zhang says, “I was able to observe and understand the museum's exhibition and operations well. And I was able to gain experiences and knowledge that related to exhibition and media production.”

Zhang was able to apply knowledge and methods learned in his art history classes when researching collected objects and presenting their stories in videos that were understandable to the audiences, relating his internship experience right back to his classroom experience. The interactions with the professionals, artists and curators in the museum gave Zhang a “further understanding of art” building onto that classroom experience and providing the opportunity to explore the art world hands-on.

 When asked what advice he would give to future interns or those looking to complete an internship, Zhang encourages future interns to, “…take initiative to explore…talking with your supervisor and co-workers is a good way to learn, they will love to share their knowledge and experiences. It may give you a better idea about your future. And stay in touch with them, professional connections are really important in many industries.” The philosophy of the CSB/SJU Internship Program parallels what Zhang suggests above – that it’s extremely important to be explorative and inquisitive during your internship! The experience is meant to provide students crucial insight into what type of career is a fit and to help students realize connections between classroom learning that relate to the internship setting.