My name is Anna and I am a senior BA/BFA student in Visual Studies at Lang and Fine Arts at Parsons. The Eugene Lang Opportunity Award provided a stipend for me to complete an unpaid internship in the Rubin Museum of Art’s Department of School and Family Programs. In my internship role, I worked closely with the coordinator of the Math & Mandalas program to schedule and prepare for the 15 spring workshops. Math & Mandalas is a free interdisciplinary art program funded by the Matisse Foundation that combines math and printmaking to introduce disadvantaged students in New York Title I schools to the art of the Himalayan region. Over the course of three sessions, a Rubin Teaching Artist travels to a public school in one of the five boroughs and embarks on a learning experience with a group of students that includes using math to create a blueprint for their own mandala, the opportunity to see the Mandalas on view at the Rubin, and the creation of their Mandalas with printmaking techniques. Because of the familiarity I developed with the program’s curriculum, I had the opportunity to complete my own Math & Mandalas residency with Ms. Ferguson’s 8th grade math class at PS 279 in the Bronx. Over the course of this teaching experience, I got to know the students on a deeper level because the residency spanned three weeks and was able to introduce them to the Rubin’s wonderful collection as their personal tour guide when they took a field trip to the museum. The best part was their palpable excitement of getting messy while printmaking and their pride as they walked away with their creations.
In addition to my involvement in Math & Mandalas, I taught art workshops in the Rubin’s art studio to visiting classes, gave tours, and became acquainted with the administrative aspects of working in a museum. From sitting in on meetings on subjects as diverse as grant proposals and marketing, I gained first-hand experience with the different parts that make a small museum like the Rubin work. Of course, while the professional experience was invaluable, I really appreciate the personal connections that I built with the department manager (who is a Lang alum!) and the other interns. I hope to continue my involvement at the Rubin as a docent this coming semester. This personal and professional development was made possible by the Opportunity Award, and for that I am incredibly grateful.