WBCA Launches Paid High School Internship Program

Inside White Bear Center for the Arts’ administrative office, high schoolers are busy at work, learning how to install exhibits, design promotional materials, and work in arts administration. Seven students from local high schools recently accepted positions as interns at White Bear Center for the Arts through an internship program called “Studio Repose.” The internship gets its name from WBCA’s high school literary magazine “Repose,” a publication which the interns will be involved in creating. 

The interns come from five different high schools across the Metro area: St. Anthony Village, Mahtomedi, White Bear Lake – South Campus, Centennial, and St. Croix Preparatory Academy. During the next six months, the interns will work on projects ranging from graphic design, managing social media, curation and installation of exhibits, and event organization. They’ll also get the chance to learn more about the workforce, hearing from local professionals in the arts sector and beyond. 

WBCA started this internship with the goal of providing a space for creative youth to explore potential career opportunities, thinking of the internship as a holistic approach to workforce development through the lens of an art center. “There is a breadth of avenues to pursue within the arts sector, and the arts also play a critical role in other industries,” Studio Repose Internship Administrator Lexi Munson said. “No matter where their careers take them, the knowledge and experience gained through Studio Repose is universally transferable.”

Not only do high schoolers get real life experience working in the arts through this program, but they also get paid to do so. How does White Bear Center for the Arts fund seven internships? In 2023, WBCA received a workforce development appropriation from the state of Minnesota in the 2023 Omnibus bill, fully funding the program for the next two years with bipartisan support.

For some of the students, like senior Sam Thein from Mahtomedi High School, the internship is a way for them to develop career skills in a field they know they want to pursue. “My dream is to someday teach pottery,” Sam said in an exchange with WBCA, “and I would like to learn how I can develop the skills I will need to inspire others to be as passionate about pottery as I am.” However, the skills developed within this program are not limited to the arts sector. “Skills such as time management, interpersonal communication, teamwork, thoughtful expression, and reflection are strengths that students can proudly carry into any future career or life experience,” Munson said.

This year’s seven interns are the flagship group, discovering the possibilities of Studio Repose as they journey through their time with WBCA.  “Studio Repose is a pilot program, and we know that there is plenty of room for growth and adaptation,” Munson said. “Who better to learn from than the students themselves? We can’t wait to be a part of each intern’s journey and explore how we can support their passions after their internship at WBCA is complete.”