Off-Campus Arts Internships

Stanford offers a number of programs that provide stipends for unpaid internships. Some programs also offer pre-arranged placements--this is a great option if you're not sure you're ready for a self-designed placement.

All of the programs listed support internships in the arts and are open to current Stanford students in any major.

Last updated August 2021

Identify Your Learning Goals

One of the keys to finding a meaningful internship is knowing what you hope to get out of it. We recommend completing our Learning Goals worksheet prior to beginning your internship search.

Informational Interviews

An informational interview is an informal conversation with a professional who has experience working in a role, company or industry that interests you. They offer a unique opportunity to connect with and and learn from someone doing work that you might want to do in the future, while also building your professional network.

It can be intimidating to reach out to folks for an informational interview--and that’s okay. Over time it may get easier, or at least seem less awkward. The key is taking the first step. Starting sooner rather than later ensures that, when you’re ready to rev up your informational interviews, you’ve ready to go.

BEAM Resources: Handshake & Coaching

Always start your search process here! Handshake is an online platform that provides Stanford students with opportunities and connections related to their career aspirations and interests. Employers also access Handshake to post positions, create events, and connect with students. A growing number of arts organizations are posting jobs and internships to Handshake on a regular basis.

BEAM also offers 1:1 coaching for all Stanford students across a variety of industries. You can learn more about the BEAM coaches and schedule an appointment in Handshake.

Timing Your Search

Recruiting and hiring timelines vary amongst arts and cultural organizations. Larger companies (such as corporate media and publishing) may begin in the fall, while nonprofit orgs typically don't list summer opportunities until late winter/early spring, and post-baccalaureate program application cycles can fall anywhere in between. It's generally best to always be on the hunt for opportunities--even if you're not actively looking--so you can familiarize yourself with the various timelines so that, when you are ready to apply, you'll be prepared.

The following timeline can be used as a template for organizing your search for a summer opportunity. It is just a suggestion--not a prescription. You may need to adjust the timeline  depending on when you want to start your internship/job. You can also complete many of the steps in a shorter time frame.

General Search Tips

  • Reach out to past host organizations: Many organizations that have hosted Stanford students in the past are eager to continue working with Stanford students. You can view a list of some past placements in the arts here.
  • Social media: Not only is this a great way to learn about exhibits, films, and performances that organizations have on the schedule, but many organizations post internship and job announcements on their social media channels. Follow organizations across multiple platforms (such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) to stay in the loop. Make sure to pay attention to recommended accounts as a way to expand your knowledge of the field.
  • Ask your professors and lecturers: Visit your instructors during office hours and ask them if they know of any industry contacts or organizations that could offer a meaningful internship opportunity.
  • Professional associations and local arts agencies often have member lists--these are great places to start if you have an interest in a specific industry or region. Many of these organizations also welcome interns. Browse our growing list of professional associations and local arts agencies.
  • Staying Organized: It can be overwhelming to manage all of the information you've collected during your job or internship search. This worksheet from BEAM is a great way to keep track of everything.

Arranging Your Internship

Job and Internship Boards

The following job boards are great resources for finding internships in the United States. Please note that opportunities may be unpaid--always check with the organization!

National

Regional

Paid Opportunities by Industry

Many arts and cultural organizations in the United States offer paid internships for college students! The following lists are a sample of the available programs that provide stipends (or in-kind benefits) similar to those offered through Stanford's Cardinal Quarter opportunities. Make sure to research each program and institution as part of your application process as timelines, application requirements, and experiences will vary between institutions.

Film & Media Internships

You can view a partial list here of nonprofit film and media organizations that have hosted Stanford interns in the past as part of the Cardinal Quarter program.

If you are interested in interning with a larger organization (such as a studio) or a production company in the United States, there are a number of great programs that offer paid opportunities. Many of these companies post their listings in Handshake--always check there first. 

Some paid internship programs offered by major film/media organizations that have been of interest to Stanford students in past years and their application timeline: 

If you are applying to any of these programs make sure to read the eligibility requirements and application instructions very carefully. You may also want to follow the company on social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to receive additional information and updates regarding their internship programs. 

Museums and Galleries

Many different types of skills are involved with operating museums and galleries. An internship in one of these organizations can introduce you to roles that support the presentation, preservation, and education of artistic works in communities. You can view a partial list here of museums and galleries that have hosted Stanford interns in the past.

Several of the Regional and National Internship programs listed on this page also offer opportunities to intern in museums and public art organizations.

Some additional paid internship programs offered by large museums and galleries that have been of interest to Stanford students in past years:

Many regional and national paid internship programs also offer opportunities in museums.

If you are applying to any of these programs make sure to read the eligibility requirements and application instructions very carefully. You may also want to follow the organization on social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to receive additional information and updates regarding their internship programs. 

Performing Arts and Live Events

Performing arts is a broad category--it includes traditional fields such as theater, dance, and music as well as inter/multidisciplinary events and projects. Some performing arts organizations focus on just one type of performance (such as a symphony, dance troupe, or theater company), while others present a variety of performers (such as performing arts centers, performance series, etc.) You can view a partial list here of performing arts organizations that have hosted Stanford interns in the past.

Some additional paid internship programs offered by live event organizations that have been of interest to Stanford students in past years and their application timeline: 

Many regional and national paid internship programs also offer opportunities in performing arts organizations.

If you are applying to any of these programs make sure to read the eligibility requirements and application instructions very carefully. You may also want to follow the organization on social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to receive additional information and updates regarding their internship programs. 

Recording and Concert Industry

Some paid internship programs offered by live event organizations that have been of interest to Stanford students in past years and their application timeline: 

If you are applying to any of these programs make sure to read the eligibility requirements and application instructions very carefully. You may also want to follow the organization on social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to receive additional information and updates regarding their internship programs. 

Year-/Season-Long Programs

The following programs offer longer-term placements and work experience in a variety of arts-related careers.

Regional and National Programs

The following regional and national programs offer paid internships with nonprofit arts and cultural organizations: 

If you are applying to any of these programs make sure to read the eligibility requirements and application instructions very carefully. You may also want to follow the organization on social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to receive additional information and updates regarding their internship programs. 

Job & Internship Toolkit

Resume/CV

Resumes tell the story of your education and accomplishments. You may need to tailor the format and content of your resume depending on how it will be used (e.g. focusing on artistic achievements when applying for project grants, highlighting leadership experience when applying to administrative opportunities, etc.)

We recommend that recent Stanford grads use a hybrid resume format. This style blends your academic, administrative/leadership, and artistic experiences into one document. 

Cover Letter

Cover letters are a way to introduce yourself to potential employers. They showcase your skills and experience in a narrative format to highlight connections that may not be apparent solely through your resume. Many employers also use the cover letter as a way to evaluate your writing and communication skills.

Typically cover letters should be no more than one page long; however, if a few sentences spill over to another page it’s generally not a deal breaker.

The following format is a great base for writing a compelling cover letter. Always make sure to read the application instructions carefully; you may need to adjust this template based on the opportunity.

Artist Statement

Coming soon

Portfolio

Portfolios showcase your work as an artist/creative. They are a common requirement for application-based opportunities (such as funding, training programs, etc.) and creative opportunities.

It can feel daunting to create the first version of your portfolio--and that's okay. The great news is that your portfolio will change over time as your work evolves and you receive feedback from reviewers. Our portfolio checklist will help you get started.

1:1 Advisors

Need additional help with your resume or refining your internship search? Connect with one of the many Stanford staff members who can meet with you 1:1.

Sabrina Wilensky 2018

Contact:

Sabrina Wilensky (she/her)
Manager of Grants and Programs
Office of the Vice President for the Arts
swilensk@stanford.edu

Schedule a meeting (for students only)