Bringing Art Into the Digital Age

Of 285 internships the Getty and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission jointly offered during the summer of 2002, the one at Otis College of Art and Design caught the eye of Janice Chou ’03. “I am an art major who does a little bit of everything-oil, digital arts, mixed media,” she explains. “Overall, the internship was a great chance to learn and immerse myself in art.”

The Otis College of Art and Design, in Los Angeles, is one of the country’s leading art and design institutions offering a range of programs, including Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees in digital media, fashion design, environmental design, toy design, fine arts, communication arts, and foundation, in addition to Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees in writing and fine arts.

For the last decade, the Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Internship program has supported over 1,200 summer internships in more than 100 Los Angeles area museums and visual arts organizations. Students receive $3,500 for 10-week internships that allow them to gain direct experience in the areas of exhibitions, publications, education, and conservation.

As part of her internship, Janice worked in the Millard Sheets Library scanning slides for the College’s modern survey class (covering art from 1850 to1950). Janice’s work was also incorporated into the Visual Resources Center’s art history image bank -now topping 80,000 slides available for student and teacher use.

“Image collections are the newest area of the library,” she says. “With a digital library, the students can look at the works while studying them online, and the teachers can zoom into specific parts of a painting to show its detail. I used the newest Photoshop application to touch up the scans of slides and then they were put into the Library’s database.”

Janice notes that one of the most valuable parts of her internship was the opportunity to visit, along with all the other Getty summer interns across the city, a number of Los Angeles’ cultural institutions.

“We went to the Skirball Museum and met many professionals in various fields of the arts, from administration and education to the community,” she says. “Additionally, we went on a field trip with our individual discussion groups-my group met with the Getty Museum’s curators of photo and illuminated manuscripts and the museum educators, as well as the designers of the gallery spaces. What’s interesting is that each time a show goes up, the space needs to be redesigned. The designers work with the curator or the artist to make sure the space works according to their vision; they handle the technicalities and know what the audience/viewers want and how the audience makes associations to particular colors. Our final event was a trip on the ‘Art Bus’ where we went to different sites, such as Watts Towers and other alternative venues, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Center in Exhibition Park, to study art.”