Assistantships Begin for Visual Arts Students

Written by Laura Paskin
January 20, 2015

Visual Arts students are now eligible for paid artist assistantships, thanks to a grant from the Robert B. McMillen Foundation. The program, which is designed for student artists majoring in digital design, photography, and studio art, pairs students with professional artists.

"Assisting in a professional art studio prepares our students to carry out their own professional creative practice," said Professor Naomi Hume, chair of the Department of Art and Art History. "Students benefit from the exposure to an artist's daily work, whether by helping them create objects, document, or even pack and ship their work for an exhibition."

Seattle has a vibrant art scene and world-class artists' studios. The paid assistantships provide opportunities for students to work directly with local and regional artists as well as faculty during the spring and summer months. The Seattle visual arts community will participate in supporting the studio assistantship program with their time and commitment to mentoring the next generation of professional artists.

"It is important but rare for undergraduates to engage with practicing artists beyond encounters in the classroom," Hume added. "These assistantships offer real-world experiences with practicing artists."

Artists' assistants usually fall into two general categories: unpaid interns and paid assistants. Only established, commercially successful artists can generally afford to pay their assistants.

"Giving the opportunity for developing artists or artists who are not commercially oriented to take on assistants could be transformational for Seattle's art community," Hume noted. "Creating a pipeline of smart, engaged, curious student assistants for local artists could transform what artists in the city might take on as projects and enable them to complete work that requires assistance beyond their normal means."

Selection of the first group of eight student assistantships takes place during the winter quarter. Students will begin their assistantships in April.

The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 42 undergraduate major degrees, 37 minors, and 6 master?s degrees, including an MFA in Arts Leadership.