BFA 2014

IMLS Sparks! Ignition Grant 3D Coordinator
Art Institute of Chicago

About My Co-op Experience

My Co-op internship is with the Department of Digital Information and Access at the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). I am part of a group exploring the capabilities of 3D printing and scanning technologies as tools to engage audiences with the museum’s collections.

I focus on developing public programs that experiment with ways to determine how 3D technology affects audience involvement. These programs range from family-friendly 3D scanning sessions to weeklong explorations of design with educators. As part of the project, we will be developing tours using 3D models for visitors suffering from Alzheimer’s.

What I Learned from My Co-op Experience

Prior to this experience, I thought of museums as institutes to exhibit work and educate society about art. Now that I have spent a little time here, I have a better understanding of how everything works. I never knew a museum could be so innovative! AIC is always thinking about ways to improve the user’s museum experience. It doesn’t want visitors to just look at art, but to experience it in a unique way. It has an incredible iPad program that brings viewers closer to an object’s history and details electronically. In the application, museum goers can zoom in on object details and learn interesting trivia about the object.

I’d never had the opportunity to teach before and, now that I have, I have considered going into an educational position. Working with teens was incredible. They were lively and interested in digital fabrication and conceptual art. I was interested in how each teen approaches a project differently and recognized that it requires a personalized technique to help them bring their ideas to life.

I remember one teen was really into fashion, and everything she made prior to this was created out of recyclable material. I showed her a few of my favorite fashion shows and designers to encourage her to expand her style. I will never forget the twinkle in her eye and the smile of amazement. I knew that she had just been exposed to a new world—one from which she would take great inspiration.

About the Employer

The Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art for 1.5 million visitors annually from around the globe. Founded in 1879, it has approximately 300,000 works of art in its permanent collection, housed in eight buildings at the heart of Chicago. In addition to displaying the permanent collection, the museum hosts 30 special exhibitions and hundreds of gallery talks, lectures, performances, and events every year.

About SAIC Co-op Internship Conversations

School of the Art Institute (SAIC) students share their co-op internship experience and what valuable insights they learned along the way.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.