Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) Internship 2020

Organization: Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara

The Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) advances creativity and inspires critical thinking through meaningful engagement with the art of our time. Celebrating its 40th year in 2016, MCASB has expanded its role in Central California and beyond as the premier non-collecting contemporary arts institution dedicated to exhibiting, commissioning, and documenting the most innovative and compelling art of our time. Its world-class roster features solo and group exhibitions of artists of diverse media, ethnicity, geography, and gender, with accompanying scholarly publications serving as critical contributions to the field of art. In the course of a year, MCASB presents 8-10 exhibitions and over 30 special events.

MCASB was founded as alternative arts space Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF) in 1976 by artists and art supporters seeking a venue dedicated solely to contemporary art. Initially a roaming space, CAF found its first home in the historic Balboa Building in downtown Santa Barbara, before moving into the current 3,500 square foot venue in the Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center in 1990. In 2012 CAF became Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) with a refined mission toward education and the arts. What once began as a grassroots, artist-run organization with nominal funding now serves as the leading contemporary arts presenter in Central California. Operating as a kunsthalle, MCASB continues to function as a non-collecting, non-profit museum dedicated to innovative and experimental contemporary art and arts education. Both adaptive and responsive, MCASB is an incubator for new ideas and risk-taking artwork as it positions itself to be a contemporary museum for the 21st century.

Project: Curatorial Department Graduate Intern

Open to graduate students interested in gaining curatorial experience in a museum setting, this position involves a wide range of tasks that provide practical knowledge of the museum’s exhibition-making process. Interns are integral to the success of the curatorial department, and as such, they are fully integrated into the work environment. Under the direction of the Executive Director & Chief Curator (ED), the Curatorial Department Intern will have the opportunity to shadow a museum director and be privy to all aspects of planning and executing contemporary art exhibitions. The intern will observe and participate in a variety of department and inter-department brainstorming and organization meetings and learn the structural, strategic, and operational decisions at play in a contemporary art institution.

Neither previous museum experience nor a stated goal of a museum career is required. Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The position will commence June 15, 2020 at ten hours per week for 20 weeks.


  • Excellent writing, administrative, organizational, and communication skills
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Well-organized work style with an ability to multitask
  • Strong command of the English language
  • An interest and appreciation for contemporary art from diverse perspectives
  • Successful applicants will possess maturity regarding artistic content that may be difficult for certain audiences.
  • Ability to interact effectively with diverse staff, board members, supporters, and community in a courteous and professional manner
  • Ability to address fast-changing priorities and meet deadlines
  • Fluency in Microsoft Office Suite; knowledge of MAC OS X as well as Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe Software helpful
  • Occasional evening and weekend schedule for events
  • Intermittent physical activity, including walking, extended standing at events, twisting, sitting, bending, stooping, and occasional lifting of up to 15 lbs

Essential Functions

  • Conduct research on exhibiting artists and compose artist biographies
  • Write and edit exhibition-related texts
  • Communicate about exhibitions in writing and through speaking with artists, museum visitors, students, and docents
  • Compose and maintain exhibition checklists and timelines
  • Prepare research; write labels and wall text; assist in catalogue development and photo documentation of exhibitions; process unsolicited artists proposals
  • Support in creating content related to programming, marketing, and press, as well as technical aspects of exhibitions
  • Participate in cross-departmental efforts to promote exhibitions, such as selection of publicity images and texts; prepare exhibition information for fundraising and audience development, including docent training and public programs