from FSU Art BA ’19 Sarah Weitzel:
“As I was preparing to graduate this semester, I realized I didn’t feel prepared to be a ceramicist out on my own. I was very excited about my internship with FSU Art Professor Holly Hanessian, head of the ceramics department here at FSU, as it would give me some of that experience I felt I was lacking. After a semester with Holly, I feel more prepared; I got a peak into the behind the scenes world of preparing exhibitions, I learned about what it takes to run an organization by taking a leading role in CeramiNoles, and I got to step into the world of professional conferences by attending NCECA.
One of my main responsibilities during my internship has been to help prepare materials for Holly’s work. This ranged from helping to sew some of the background pieces hung in her show, to preparing a newsletter through mailchimp, to acting as a sounding board for some finishing touches, to assisting in take-down and packing-up when her show was finished. These were seemingly mundane aspects of showing work, which actually held great importance for the final results. CeramiNoles is the ceramics student organization at FSU, of which Holly is the faculty advisor and I am a member. I helped Holly and the other members prepare for sales, make work, and organize events. Having a hand in running some of activities in an organization was great experience as I learned a lot about the simple organizational aspects, as well as more complicated matters like funding. NCECA, the conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, was a sort of culmination of my internship. Much of the work I did was in preparation for the conference: Holly’s shows were part of this conference, and the fundraising for CeramiNoles aided students in attending the conference. Attending the conference was a very special experience; I was able to hear talks from accomplished ceramic artists, see work that spanned from pottery to instillations, and learn about tools and techniques while also representing the ceramics program at FSU. The conference allowed me to add to my knowledge and skillset (and tool box since there were numerous vendors there), but it also allowed me to make better connections with the people in the ceramics department especially my professors.
The internship course is an excellent way for people to gain real-world experience that cannot be gained in a classroom. I feel better prepared to navigate the art world after I graduate, and I am grateful that this internship has given me the experience I needed.”