Keara Hill, a sophomore psychology major, and Kayla McVay, a senior mass communication major, participated in the 2018 Art and Civil Rights Internship Program, a partnership between Tougaloo College and the Mississippi Museum of Arts. Interns in the program gain valuable hands-on experience working with art collections, conducting gallery tours, learning about museum operations and the role artifacts, historic records and documents play in shaping our civil society. Interns also learn the various facets of museum careers through closely working with curators and by engaging with objects in both collections of the Tougaloo College Art Gallery and the Mississippi Museum of Art,” said Dr. Redell Hearn, Curator of Art & Civil Rights for Tougaloo College and Mississippi Museum of Art and Turry Flucker, Tougaloo College Art Collections Manager.
“I gained first-hand experiences in a professional setting that further developed my talent, broadened my horizon and enabled me to incorporate my knowledge in psychology into the world of art,” said Hill. She spoke very fondly about one of her best experiences. “I was involved in the opening of the latest art exhibit at the Tougaloo Art Gallery that introduced me to all aspects of gallery operations,” said Hill.
“This internship afforded me the opportunity to explore the different dynamics of art. It opened my mind to the possibilities of art as a career,” said McVay, who says being an art intern has shown her how much knowledge she has acquired while attending the College and is allowing her to embrace new ideas and duties outside of her major.
Deja Nicole Patterson, a 2018 art graduate, has been able to translate her skills of researching, discussing, and writing about art history from a variety of perspectives and her year-long internship experience at the Mississippi Museum of Art to her work as a curatorial fellow at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York. “I first learned of the curatorial fellowship during my senior year at Tougaloo. I became passionate about learning how musicians like Louis Armstrong inspired many African Americans and broke barriers during times of racial tension, as depicted in many of the pieces at the Mississippi Museum of Art. The fellowship will further develop my skills in preserving and interpreting photographs, sound recordings, manuscripts, scrapbooks, and other primary source materials, and in giving historic tours to various populations and evaluating techniques of interpretation,” says Patterson.
Like Patterson, McVay and Hill are learning the benefits of being versatile, marketable and educated to ensure they are prepared for various impactful opportunities, all which reinforce the Tougaloo College culture that is instilled inside of every student who walks through the historical gate.