Tim Zhang

Intern: Tim Zhang

Year: Senior

Major (s): Art and Economics

Title: Media Production Intern

Place of internship: Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia)

How did you find out about the internship and what was the application process like?

Mia was the museum we always visited during course field trips, starting from my first year at CSB/SJU. It has an extraordinary art collection from a vast range of cultures and periods, which have always supported my study of art history and largely influenced my art creation. Because of this, Mia has always been the place I wanted to work at. Before I applied for the internship, I was interning (and still am) as a Marketing & Development Intern at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at Saint John's. This experience helped me establish a skillset of working with various multimedia tools for a non-profit organization that preserves cultures. Under the support of my supervisor at HMML and professors of the Art department, I applied for the summer intern position through Mia's website at the beginning of this year. Their staff were really friendly and patient during the application process and I was very excited when I was offered the position.

What were some of the internship highlights?

My duties included media production of short films and installation and maintenance of interactive media devices for exhibitions. Luckily, this year was Mia's 100th birthday at that location, so I was part of the production of "Of Us and Art", a project of 100 videos. I also assisted with a rebranding commercial, "Mia is Mine". I had the chance to work on different parts of the video production process, including pre-production research, filming, recording and editing. It was a great learning experience and my colleagues always generously provided me with guidance and advice. I was also able to work on major exhibitions during this summer. "Leonardo Da Vinci, the Codex of Leicester, and Creative Mind" was one of my favorite exhibitions. It was a tremendous pleasure to work on something created by one of the most important Renaissance masters and polymaths, and to be able to gain hands-on experience preparing for a major exhibition.

What was a typical day like? What were some of your major responsibilities?

I had a flexible schedule and various kinds of tasks every day. I was always excited and curious about what was next. In addition, I really enjoyed working with experienced and knowledgeable colleagues in an environment surrounded by great art collections. Mia provides interns a learning opportunity to visit and talk with different departments and people, which helped me understand more about the museum industry.

What were some of the challenges of your internship?

The internship was challenging in the sense that many responsibilities were new to me. Some required higher level skills than I had. For instance, I never had the opportunity to work on professional exhibitions.  But, by diving right in and integrating learning from colleagues and the skills I had before, I was able to achieve my responsibilities, build skills, and gain valuable experience.

What did you learn?

 I gained knowledge and skills related to media production and interactive media through working closely with colleagues who helped me understand how to do certain tasks, but also challenged me to keep improving. I was also able to learn more about art history through research and gain experience with how a museum interacts with communities locally and internationally.

What advice would you give other students interested in internships?

I think taking initiative to explore is very important. Talking with your supervisor and colleagues is a great way to improve professional skills and establish connections. Generally, they love to share their knowledge and experiences. It may give you a better and clearer vision into your future.

(Fall 2015)