California State University, Long Beach
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Getty Grant Supports Art Museum Interns

CSULB’s University Art Museum recently received a $12,000 Getty Foundation grant to support three multicultural undergraduate interns.

Ilee Kaplan, UAM associate director, praised the latest in a series of Getty grants since 2001. “This not only gives the UAM a chance to recruit students with art backgrounds and appropriate skill sets, but it is a way to pursue projects where there is a premium on time,” said Kaplan, “We’re very happy to have these hardworking students.”

The Getty Foundation is part of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It is a grant-awarding body, providing funding for scholarly research in the history of art, conservation of art collections, historic buildings and archaeological sites, and support for training of museum professionals, internships and museum interpretation.

 “One of our interns researched the 1965 campus sculpture symposium that brought works of art, created in partnership with local industries, to the university. He will be writing an iPod script detailing the acquisitions,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for us and dovetails with a grant we received from Verizon that will fund our development of a series of podcasts about museum exhibitions and collections.”

The second project involves research for one of the new UAM art and technology series projects. The intern is working with futurist John Underkoffler whose concepts of gesture recognition computers imagined in Steven Spielberg’s movie "Minority Report" have become reality. In Underkoffler’s exhibition, "Project Lab: Gestural Cinema," that will open at the end of January 2008, visitors to the museum will be able to deconstruct popular films and rearrange their images into video collages using the gesture recognition program installed in the Project Lab gallery. "Gestural Cinema" will be presented in conjunction with a groundbreaking conference scheduled for April 11-12, titled “5-D: The Future of Immersive Design.”

“The presentation will include several panels representing both the professional design field and the academic world, exploring how emerging technologies have changed the role of design in narrative media such as film, animation, and gaming,” said Kaplan. “This will be a first both for the Art Directors Guild and the UAM. We think this will be a very exciting project.”

The third intern collected materials for the UAM’s wood-lined research room that will provide museum visitors with resources to discover more about artists on display. The Getty grant underlines the long-time relationship between the UAM and its student interns. “Although the museum staff is not hired to be teachers, we teach all the time,” she said. “This instruction is built into what the UAM does and I think the staff enjoys the experience. Our goal is to give our students as much responsibility and experience as they can handle. We couldn’t keep this place open without our students.”

The grant is a good thing both for the university and the UAM, she said. “It gives us the chance to help train the next generation of arts administrators. These are the same people we will be hiring in the next few years,” she said. “Plus, it is important for the university to have a positive relationship with the Getty grant program. They get to know us as a responsible and nurturing organization that is professional and which treats its employees and students well.”

Support like this is essential for the museum’s future.

“Without grants like these, as well as the generosity of individual donors, we would be unable to do more than hang a few samples of the permanent collection on the walls, sit back and twiddle our thumbs,” she said. “These grants allow us to do the kinds of projects that we feel are important and that reflect the future of visual art.”