Culture Corps matches U-M undergraduate students to paid internships at arts and culture organizations in Southeast Michigan after taking a mini-course. Its goals are to encourage and expose students interested in arts and humanities majors to career pathways, to encourage students who might not know how to get started in arts and culture careers, and to support a breadth of SE Michigan art and culture organizations with a consistent group of paid students. The Humanities Collaboratory Equity Initiative supported a research phase of Culture Corps over the summer of 2021, to determine best practices for establishing relationships with internship hosts, the types of structures that promote quality experiences for students, and the historic trajectories that have shaped arts institutions' values and affecting their ability to attract a diverse staff.
Request a pdf of the full Culture Corps report firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first cohort of the Culture Corps begins on March 7, with a 2-credit course in the Department of American Culture.
Partnering Host Organizations:
- Detroit Public Theatre
- InsideOut Literary Arts
- Creative Washtenaw/ArtTrain
- Living Arts
- Wright Museum
- Arab American National Museum
- Sidewalk Detroit
- Mosaic Youth Theatre
- Detroit Opera
- Metropolitan Museum of Design Detroit
- Detroit Sound Conservancy
- Pewabic Pottery
- Garage Cultural
- Eisenhower Dance
- Motor City Street Dance Academy
- Dearborn Historical Museum
- Studio Artists
- Nour Ballout
- Avery Williamson
The Humanities Collaboratory Equity Initiative supported a research phase of Culture Corps over the summer of 2021, to determine best practices for establishing relationships with internship hosts, the types of structures that promote quality experiences for students, and the historic trajectories that have shaped arts institutions' values and affecting their ability to attract a diverse staff.
Interested in becoming a host organization? Contact email@example.com to learn more.
Culture Corps Stories
A Day in the Life of a Culture Corps Intern
Learn more about this year’s Culture Corps program, and how to join, by downloading this infosheet.
I have been interested in public spaces that integrate art and culture for a while now, and the first part of culture corps program guided me to look at public art spaces and organizations more critically. I was also able to experience first hand the work that happens behind the scenes at art and creative organizations.
I did a variety of tasks, including:
- Writing case statements, proofreading grants, updating the organization’s website, and helping with their newsletters.
- Updating websites, working in spreadsheets, data collections, organizational platforms like Asana, grant writing and proposal writing.
- I’m much more aware of the arts and cultural scene in southeastern Michigan now too. What is great about this internship program is that my organization was very understanding of my time outside of work. I was able to work for my other internship, alongside the Culture Corps internship, because of the flexibility.
Andrea Medina. Creative Washtenaw, 2022 Summer intern. Rising senior at UM- Ann Arbor. Romance Languages and Literature (Spanish & French) and Korean Studies.
Why were you interested in an internship related to art and culture?
- I’ve had internships in the past but never in the arts sector, and I am someone who absolutely loves theater & performance so I wanted to try to work in that area before continuing on in academia to see if it was something I would prefer to do. Frankly, I just love the arts, and I wanted to spend my summer working with an organization that worked on spreading theater to the wider community!
- I’m a very arts-inclined person and what drew me to CultureCorps is that I’ve always interested in the behind-the-scenes effort of planning museum exhibitions and the work that goes into continuing a collection, connecting with artists, and curating the works.
- I was interested because it is dynamic space with many opportunities for innovation and creativity
- I want to be able to work in the arts field and this class seemed like a great opportunity.
- As I was preparing for graduation, an internship in arts and culture would be a perfect way for me to transition out of college and into a career in the area I have been studying.
- Everyone in my life has encouraged me to pursue the medical fields or something more STEM related, for obvious reasons. I’ve been told it’s a stable job, it has great benefits and it’s an easy career, unlike the arts. I’ve been actively discouraged from participating in the arts as I’ve gotten older, but now that I’m independent and in college I can explore the arts as I please. I’ve found an incredible community of creative people and I want to stay involved with them after college. I believe that this internship was the natural next step in rekindling that relationship with theatre and the arts in a more professional setting.
- I love the arts, but my major did not leave much room for taking any semester-long art classes. An internship over the summer was the perfect solution for me to pursue an arts-related program as well as receive non-major credit.
What is a day in your internship like?
- My internship has been full of days where I get to do something new. You open a lot of new opportunities available for you and get to connect with people who could be the complete opposite of you but still manage to maintain a great connection with. You learn skills that are applicable in the real world and are put in situations no other place can put you in
- Lots of behind-the-scenes planning directly under the supervision of the Founder/President of the Museum, researching pieces and artists, working directly with other interns, communal discussions, and — on occasion — putting up and striking exhibitions.
- A day in my internship typically consist of doing grant research (researching opportunities for artists to receive funding and other resources), entering receipts into an excel sheet as a means of managing finances, and doing readings as a means of enriching my understanding of the artist’s background. I’ve also had a business trip in Chicago where I learned about how to mount a photo and create a frame from scratch, which was very interesting and fun.
- I go to work and typically make some ceramic tiles. I check in with my colleagues from each department and ask if they need help that day. I usually do some planning on my computer for the apprenticeship program that I am assisting.
- Most of my days are what you would assume as typical office work, with a creative lens. I get to work around older people who are equally committed to bringing the performing arts to young artists in the community. I help reach out to tell Detroit about our programs, and I summarize data from our past performances. Occasionally I get to attend shows and other social events. My recent projects involve heading summer recruitment for our fall season and planning our playwriting/songwriting summer program, all while checking in with my supervisor and coworkers.
What is something new you have learned from your internship?
- I’ve learned a lot about ordering merchandise, event planning, and how the audition/callback process of a small professional theatre works. I’ve also gotten to learn about Actors’ Equity and the hiring process for directors, stage managers, and other production team members.
- I’ve been learning SEO and mobile-based website UX, both of which are things I hadn’t had experience with before hand.
- I’ve gotten fairly good at using a google spreadsheet, researching grants, and framing photos.
- I’m definitely a spreadsheet and Asana expert now. I’ve made myself busy reorganizing any data I can get my hands on to make it more comprehensive for the team, and I’m proud that it’s paying off. I’m also improving on my group planning skills. It’s surprising how many people have to be involved on any one project, and you should never expect to be on your own.
- I have learned the basics of QuickBooks and what a nonprofit’s accounting information looks like. Additionally, coming into the internship I was already very familiar with Excel but I have become even more experienced with the software. Further, I have learned a lot about facilitating grants and the importance of grant language.
- I have learned a lot about the process of running a dance school, especially a successful one. The studio pushes a lot of content out of their Instagram account and it allows for more engagement of the dance students and their parents. I learned how to take effective meeting minutes and pitch ideas to a group (have all the parts ready before presenting so the idea is fully thought out).
Do you have a favorite moment in your internship so far you can share?
- I got to sit in on the auditions for DPT’s next season, which was very cool!
- Riding a Model T after we washed it
- My favorite moment was probably traveling over to Chicago in person and getting a chance to learn how to make a frame then try it for myself.
- My favorite moment so far has been participating in a cooking workshop held at the studio while helping run it.
- I got to visit the house of a local artist for a meeting and was able to see a lot of the art they made and even was gifted a piece! It was cool to see how local Ann Arborites care about the public arts programs in the city and are passionate about getting more out there. This meeting allowed me to see the behind the scenes of a public arts project, as normally I just walk by the art without knowing the intricacies of the process.