Emily completed her internship for Academy of Art University in spring 2019, through US Arts Center. Below is the summary of her experience.
US Arts Center
US Arts Center is an afterschool and weekend art school based in Chantilly, Virginia and Fairfax, Virginia. It serves students from ages four through eighteen and utilizes a unique curriculum designed by founder and artist Janet Zhao.
US Arts Center is proud to support students' success across all disciplines through a rigorous and creative art education experience, and has sent numerous students on to distinguished university art programs in Virginia and beyond.
Throughout my internship experience, I had the opportunity to observe and work with all ages and skill levels of art students. I assisted instructors in classroom management, lesson preparation, and project documentation. In each classroom, I was able to work directly with small groups of students from youngest to oldest as they completed progressively more complex art projects that focused on building developmentally appropriate painting and drawing skills, critique and public speaking skills, and artistic vocabulary. I also learned about the complicated administration of an art school through working in US Arts Center's front office, and ultimately finished my internship through several days of substitute teaching for Room 1 (4-7 years old) at the Chantilly location during parent-teacher conferences.
Insight and Reflection
My internship at US Arts Center was where I was truly able to experience the long-term strategies and effects of art education in action, without the wait. I taught students at the beginning of their journey in art, as well as students who were preparing their college portfolios after more than a decade in the program. At US Arts Center, I worked closely with Asian American families from the Northern Virginia area and developed a passion for the advocacy of arts accessibility in all communities. Janet Zhao's comprehensive art curriculum taught by a diverse body of teaching artists gave every single child the opportunity to create art and explore their sense of self as a student, artist, and human being -- inspiring me to strive for the same as an art educator.