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Stanford in Washington program to offer new arts track in 2014

The Bing Stanford in Washington Program (SIW) will offer a new track focused on visual arts, arts administration and theater and performance starting in winter quarter of 2014.

Richard Meyer, professor of art history and faculty chair of Stanford in Washington (Arts), said that the idea for this track originated two years ago when Nancy Troy, chair of the department of art and art history, visited the program in Washington, D.C.

“She immediately recognized the potential for an arts internship, as there hasn’t been any focus on the museums, performances or art galleries in D.C.,” Meyer said. “She thought it was too exciting of an opportunity to pass by for Stanford students.”

Meyer had taught at the University of Southern California for 15 years before coming to Stanford last year. He was then given the task of leading the arts program.

“Her idea is extremely exciting, and I teach a lot of courses on American art so it is a terrific opportunity for someone who is interested in those areas,” Meyer said.

The program will admit a maximum of 10 students for its first quarter. Meyer said the SIW program has entered discussions with about 15 different cultural institutions that might sponsor internships.

Those institutions include the National Endowment for the Arts, the Phillips Collection, the American Art Magazine, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the National Museum for Women in the Arts.

“We’re hoping to build [as] big [a] network of contacts as possible within that landscape, who’d be happy to have a Stanford intern work full time for 10 weeks,” Meyer said.

Jill Vizas ’97, on-campus coordinator for SIW, said that while it was possible to have an arts internship prior to the new track’s introduction, there were only a limited number of classes offered.

“We have had students who were art and art history majors intern at places like the Smithsonian,” Vizas said. “This is just formalizing it more in terms of coursework.”

According to Meyer, there has been demand from students for SIW to offer an arts track.

“Students have knocked on our door and have asked for arts internships, so we know that there’s an interest in that and in D.C., being the nation’s capital,” Meyer said. “The challenge was putting the two together.”

Josie Johnson ’13, an Art and Art History major, had looked for appropriate internships on her own and expressed enthusiasm about the new track’s potential.

“I think it’s going to be a really great opportunity,” Johnson said. “I’m a senior, so I’m going to miss out on it but if it had been around while I was still here, I definitely would have done it.”

“For students who want to go into art administration or film, these opportunities are really key,” Meyer said. “That’s what [the new track] is adding: not just to be in Washington for a quarter, but to develop a crucial credential for future success.”