June 12, 2012

Getty Foundation's Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Launched in the Wake of Civil Unrest, Program Encourages Diversity with over 2,700 Internships at Local Arts Organizations


Melissa Abraham
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6861   

Left: 2011 interns Asia David and Alexis Kim attending the Getty Arts Summit.
Right: Edgar Garcia, a Getty alumnus who now works in the City of Los Angeles’ Office of Historic Preservation.
© J. Paul Getty Trust

LOS ANGELES—The Getty Foundation is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its heralded Multicultural Undergraduate Internship program this summer as it welcomes the 115 new interns of 2012.

Launched in the wake of Los Angeles’ civil unrest in 1992, the Multicultural Undergraduate Internship program seeks to increase diversity within the staffs of museums and visual arts organizations by offering paid internships to outstanding students of diverse backgrounds who either live or attend college in Los Angeles County. Over the past 20 years, the Getty has provided over 2,700 internships to 150 local arts organizations.

“Our intention in creating the internship program was to introduce students from under-represented communities to potential careers in the visual arts,” said Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “Two decades into this effort a number of program alumni have assumed leadership positions in museums and other cultural organizations, and in fact some are now mentoring the next generation of interns.”

“My summer at Visual Communications in 1993 as part of the first Getty intern class provided pivotal moments for me and my career,” said Leslie Ito, who subsequently rose to the level of executive director at her host organization before moving on to her present role as program officer in the arts at the California Community Foundation. “I look back on that experience and remember to always encourage the next generation of leaders.”

Another alumnus is Edgar Garcia, who served as an intern for the Los Angeles Conservancy in 1999 and now works as a preservation planner in the City of Los Angeles’ Office of Historic Resources where he supervises interns.

"Participation in the Getty’s program has been the single most influential experience in shaping my career in historic preservation and arts management," says Garcia. 

Ito and Garcia are among many alumni from the program have gone on to find permanent work in the arts, and the majority of them credit the Getty’s program with providing that critical first step.

More recently, encouraged by her experience as a Getty intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) last summer, Luisa Aguilar Solis applied for a job with the organization.

“Three months after my Getty internship was over I was hired by the museum as an image coordinator.  I feel like without the actual internship experience it would not have been as easy to take on the tasks I have to do daily,” said Aguilar Solis.

The students are not the only ones who benefit from the program.  For many of the arts organizations, the interns provide much-needed staffing each summer, as well as access to some valuable perspectives.

“The interns know a lot.  They understand social networking and what’s going on with other young people,” said Jeanne Hoel, Senior Education Program Manager at MOCA. “Having them here is a very positive experience for everyone involved.”

In its 20th year, the Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program continues to achieve remarkable milestones—it is one of the few long-term programs of its kind, and it has had a tangible impact in helping people of diverse backgrounds delve into careers in the arts. The program‘s success also inspired a public private partnership when the Los Angeles County Arts Commission joined the Getty by creating an undergraduate intern program focused on the performing and literary arts in 2000.

In addition to 12 positions offered at the Getty, this summer’s Multicultural Undergraduate Interns will be hosted by the following non-profit institutions:

A+D Architecture and Design Museum, Los Angeles
American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona
Angels Gate Cultural Center, Inc., San Pedro
Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center Inc., Los Angeles
Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena
Art Center College of Design, Pasadena
Arts and Services for Disabled, Inc., Long Beach
Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts & Culture, Los Angeles
Autry National Center of the American West, Los Angeles
California African-American Museum, Los Angeles
California State Parks, Will Rogers State Historic Park
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia
Catalina Island Museum, Avalon
Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA
Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles
Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles
Department of Cultural Affairs, Public Arts Division of the City of Los Angeles
18th Street Arts Complex, Santa Monica
El Pueblo Park Association, Los Angeles
Fowler Museum, UCLA
Friends of Banning Park Corporation, Banning Residence Museum, Wilmington
HeArt Project, Los Angeles
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino
Historic Italian Hall Foundation, Los Angeles
Immaculate Heart Community, Corita Art Center, Los Angeles
Inner-City Arts, Los Angeles
Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, Los Angeles
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles
LA Freewaves, Los Angeles
LAXART, Los Angeles
Library Foundation of Los Angeles
Long Beach Museum of Art Foundation
Los Angeles Conservancy
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Inc.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles Harbor Department Historical Archives, City of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Associates
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
Machine Project, Los Angeles
MAK Center for Art and Architecture, West Hollywood
Millard Sheets Gallery, Pomona
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Culver City
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach
Office of Historic Resources, City of Los Angeles
Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles
P.S. Arts, Los Angeles
Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena
Pasadena Heritage
Pasadena Museum of California Art
Plaza de la Raza, Incorporated, Los Angeles
Pomona College Museum of Art
Public Corporation for the Arts of the City of Long Beach
Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation, Inc., Long Beach
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont
Ryman Carroll Foundation, Los Angeles
St. Elmo Village, Los Angeles
Santa Monica Museum of Art
Scripps College, Claremont
Self-Help Graphics, Los Angeles
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
Social and Public Art Resource Center, Venice
Tierra del Sol Center for the Handicapped Foundation, Claremont
Torrance Art Museum of the City of Torrance
University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach
Velaslavasay Panorama, Los Angeles
Venice Arts: In Neighborhoods
Vincent Price Art Gallery Foundation, Monterey Park
Visual Communications, Los Angeles
Wende Museum, Culver City
William S. Hart Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Foundation

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations:  the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

The Getty Foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the Getty Trust by supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the understanding and preservation of the visual arts locally and throughout the world. Through strategic grants and programs, the Foundation strengthens art history as a global discipline, promotes the interdisciplinary practice of conservation, increases access to museum and archival collections, and develops current and future leaders in the visual arts. The Foundation carries out its work in collaboration with the Getty Museum, Research Institute, and Conservation Institute to ensure the Getty programs achieve maximum impact.  Additional information is available at

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