Praxis in the Arts
Putting your learning into practice, or praxis, is an evidence-based method of deepening and expanding knowledge. As artists engage in their discipline, they explore and amplify their knowledge.
Praxis in the Arts, a studio art initiative with support from the Knowlton Center for Career Exploration, requires majors to have work experience in the arts as part of their degree.
“Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern for a non-profit artist collective, Redux Contemporary Arts Center, in Charleston, SC., “ says Kate Hinshaw ’24. “Redux fosters creativity while hosting exhibitions, organizing educational classes and providing studio space for 40+ artists. It was such a unique experience learning about installing work, putting on a successful exhibition, interacting with artists, running a non-profit, and understanding the educational component of art. Redux was such an awesome place to learn for someone like me who doesn’t quite know what they want to do in the “art world.”
By engaging with the Knowlton Center, studio art students can cultivate contacts within the Knowlton Visual, Written, and Performing Art Career Community, access opportunities in the Handshake platform, and learn methods to research and apply successfully to their preferred opportunities.
Hinshaw adds, “Michelle Doran from the Knowlton Center was a great mentor for me especially with resume development, cover letter writing, and interview prep. While I learned that I don’t want to pursue the administrative arts as my career, I had so many valuable experiences and would highly recommend jumping on an opportunity like this for anyone who is still unsure what they want to do professionally.”
The Knowlton Center also offers stipends for internships to help offset the cost of unpaid and low-paid internships. The stipends provide equal access to life-changing opportunities for all students, including those from economically challenged backgrounds.
Associate Professor Sheilah ReStack states, “This important requirement asks students to have real-world experience in the arts as part of their journey through academics and art-making at Denison. Every student is eligible to apply for funding for internships, which is truly a chance in a lifetime to be paid to gain experience. Too often, internships are exclusive — only those who can afford the ‘unpaid’ internship can access. We are so thrilled that our students can gain experience in the arts and be compensated through this partnership.”
The Knowlton Career Center applies criteria from the National Association of Colleges and Employers to assure internships provide concrete and meaningful experience. These criteria include:
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.