Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Inside Out

I'm in the last days of my internship and I've been pretty busy, trying to tie up all of the loose ends in each of my three projects.  Today, I'm entering the last bit of data for the AAMD Maps and I hope to have everything sent off to the AAMD by this afternoon.  I'm also giving all of my program synopsis sheets one last proof-read before I print them off.

And much more exciting, we finally picked a name for the 125th Anniversary Project!  Yesterday, we were supposed to have a committee meeting but Michelle was out, buttering up some of our prospective locations and Courtney was off working on the construction of the frames, so that left Larry and I as the only two in the office.  So Larry and I sat in his office, discussing the general progress of the project and my part in it, when he finally said, "Alright, we need a name for this thing-- what do you think?"

We had a meeting with the marketing department last week that involved a lively brainstorming session to come up with names for the project.  Some were better than others.  A few of the rejects were:
Drive By Art
(Not such a great image in Detroit)
Severe Weather Art
(Which started as Art in the Sun, but then became a play on the tornados we've been having all summer)
Art Attack
(Which I actually really liked)

The list of ones we liked was pretty long, but in the end, it was Larry and I that selected the offical name for the project:

DIA: Inside Out

The runner up was a name that I actually coined: Off The Wall.  But Larry pointed out that we're actually putting these paintings on walls, so it's not such a great play on words.

Either way, I love the name we came up with and I was thrilled to play such a large role in selecting it.  I might not be around to see the paintings go up, but when I read about it in the paper, I'll know that they're using a name I helped select-- and that's just as satisfying.

On that same note, I will not be around to see the paintings be installed because my internship is (sadly) coming to an end on Friday.  Inside Out is far from finished, so Larry has asked that I find another intern (or two or three) to replace myself on the project (he even suggested that I conduct inverviews!), so I submitted the resume of a former classmate from CMU (Fire Up!), put a note on the Emerging Museum Professionals Facebook page and asked a former prof to email the offer to his students.

The fact that I need to replace myself at the DIA seems to go against most of what I read this weekend in the New York Times.  The article talks mainly about the notion that interns should not be abused and worked to the bone without receiving "payment" of some kind, be it college credit, a stipend, etc.

The article states that:
In April, the Obama administration issued a fact sheet listing six criteria aimed at preventing employers from violating the Fair Labor Standards Act with their unpaid internship programs. Among the stipulations: that the training the intern receives must be similar to training that can be obtained in an educational setting, that unpaid interns don’t displace a paid employee, and that the employer does not derive any “benefit” from the intern’s work.
Ok, so...

Training similar to that of an educational setting:  Check.
Must not replace a paid employee: Check.
Employer does not derive any "benefit" from the intern's work: Ummm...

What exactly do they mean by "benefit"?  While at the DIA, I did a lot of things that I think were helpful to the organization.  I wrote up program synopses that can be included in donor packets and grant proposals, I entered a ton of data into the AAMD database for mapping our community outreach-- which will be useful in our upcoming millage campaign, and I secured several locations for DIA: Inside Out, which I also helped name.

Last night, I was explaining to my dad that while these things were helpful, my absence after Friday will not be noticeable... until I thought about Larry's request.  Perhaps I did provide a measurable benefit to the DIA.  Without knowing Obama's definition of "benefit", it's hard to say.  But let me say this, I do not feel cheated or used by the DIA in any capacity.  I am incredibly proud to say that I played a beneficial role in the success of a museum that I love dearly.

And I didn't even have to pay $42,500 to do it. 
(Seriously, read that article!)

1 comment:

  1. Jess, The DIA will miss you.

    Yeah, it was an internship, but, you had much more passion and interest than the passing intern. Your devotion and affinity with the DIA shows throughout your writings. I'm sure the staff you worked with saw that too. The DIA was lucky to have you, for the time they did!