Design Internship approved for NEA grant
Milwaukee high schoolers are getting a head start on their creative careers through the Design Internship at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. The free, year-long program was recently approved for a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to expand the program in 2023-2024.
Consisting of paid internships, tuition-free access to MIAD’s Summer and Weekend Pre-College program and a strong mentorship component, the Design Internship creates pathways for Milwaukee students to experience creative careers. Program attendance has more than tripled since its inception in 2021, and the NEA grant will support more than 50 internships in 2023 to meet demand for the program. MIAD partners with eight area businesses to provide students paid internships and industry experience in careers ranging from architecture to graphic design.
“My favorite part about the program was how many diverse and creative individuals I was able to see and work with, and also having the opportunity to actually be in a workplace,” says Damarys Cerda, a sophomore at St. Augustine Prep. Cerda was an intern at Hanson Dodge. Sion Martin, a senior at Reagan High School who interned at Maker LLC, appreciated “[t]he unwavering support that we received, as well as constructive criticism … I gained a broader understanding of design in general, but especially in the context of a professional setting.”
The Design Internship began in response to the Greater Equity 2030 challenge, which recognizes the lack of diversity in Milwaukee’s creative economy. As a result, the program gives special consideration to applications from students of color or from economically distressed families with the aim to expand access to Milwaukee’s creative industries. “To be recognized by the NEA is truly an honor,” says Corbett Toomsen, MIAD’s director of youth and community programs. “With their support, we are able to continue to grow the program to meet the demand of Milwaukee youth interested in design professions and make a positive impact for our community.”
Nearly 100 students applied for the Design Internship in 2022. “Each year we receive more applications than we are able to place with our professional partner firms,” continues Toomsen. “The support from NEA allows us to step closer to our funding goals for the program, such as fully covering the cost of paid internships, which will further incentivize new partners to join the program. With more partners, we are able to accept and place more interns that apply for the opportunity.”
Usually known as the Charles Allis Museum, the institution is temporarily changing its name in conjunction with its new exhibition highlighting women, femme and nonbinary artists. The Sarah Ball Allis exhibition is curated by MIAD Associate Professor and Chair of First-Year Experience Kate Schaffer and includes work by MIAD alumni Melissa Dorn ’96 (Sculpture) and Artemis Sidikman ’22 (New Studio Practice: Fine Arts).
In their first exhibition, Faith Allen ’25 (Illustration) went big. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design sophomore submitted two artworks to the Black Art & Design Juried Student Exhibition and reveled in the freedom to create the largest pieces they could.
Briana Hibbs ’12 (Photography) started her own handmade earrings business, Made by the Lake, in January 2019. She relies on her eye for product photography to show her jewelry in its best light, and the business now boasts a successful following of over 2,000 customers on Facebook.
Unfinished Legacy, a brand started by Milwaukee artist Brema Brema, enjoyed a promotional video created by current Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design senior Hannah Davis for her Digital Media: Video Production elective course in fall 2022. The semester-long project culminated in a three-minute video and three shorter clips advertising the brand.
The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA), located in West Bend, has announced its “Ten at Ten” exhibition celebrating the work of ten emerging artists for the tenth anniversary in its new Mothership building. Two MIAD alumni, Lindsey Yeager ’21 (New Studio Practice: Fine Arts & Illustration) and Eduardo Zavala ’22 (NSP: Fine Arts), were selected to show work at the exhibition.