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Gena Arnaiz: Superhero Sunday

Museum of Art and History Public Events Internship
Superhero Gena

The Museum of Art and History (MAH) Public Events take place during the weekends and is a free activity for the community. My internship required both preparation during the week as well as participation, collaboration, and facilitation of the public events on Sundays. Events like this are meant to get people interested in the museum, to create a safe space for people to get to know one another, to promote artistic creativity, and to establish a strong sense of community for families and children. I have been able to assist in creating and working the events titled "Wishing Hoops", "Foam Marbling", "Yarn Bombing", "Boys and Girls Club", "Weaving with Recycled Materials", and my own event "Superhero Sunday".


My internship supervisor presented me with the opportunity to facilitate my own Sunday “Play Make Event.” To do this, I had to come up with a family friendly theme that an art activity as well as an environment could be created in Abbott Square Plaza. The theme I chose was superheroes, and the event was titled "Superhero Sunday: find your inner superhero and the power that will change the community (and world)". I chose this idea because all kids love to imagine themselves as a superhero or at least with powers. The theme is gender neutral and even adults can let their imagination run wild. 


To prep for the event, I had to order art supplies and create the visuals and decorations for the event such as the props that would be used in the photobooth, examples of the capes and masks for kids to look at, and a template for the trading cards. I was also in charge of designing instructions for each activity as well as creating a fun Powerpoint for visuals. Additionally, the event required me to prep the materials that would be used for the event and to create a layout map of the space we would be using. On the day of the event, I was put in charge of the other volunteers and interns which was a great way for me to exercise my leadership abilities. Sunday events like these give families a space for communication and memory making that is not always available to them in other settings. 


This event was different because I had to be there to tell people how to set up and give them an idea of what the space should look like. It was similar to the way an artist designs an exhibition in a gallery. The event became my masterpiece. The event itself had a great turnout with 273 people, and the comments that people had about the event were very positive. Overall, it was a great experience for me to able to hone in on my event planning skills and catering to the needs of all age ranges. The Free Sunday Events were a completely new addition to the museum this year.


The MAH re-establishes the type of relationship between the museumgoer and the object or experience at hand. The MAH takes traditional museum display and turns it into an interactive experience by bringing the art and museum’s concepts outside of the museum walls for the Sunday public events. For the Public Events Program Internship, I learned about the MAH’s Theory of Change. This begins by making the museum a welcoming space, sharing and preserving the shared stories and ideas of the people and history that make up our community, and inviting participants to explore these concepts. This leads to building bridges across different cultures, religions, traditions, lifestyles, etc., strengthening new bonds and existing bonds, and invoking empowerment in voices. Through all of this, the community becomes connected and the museum serves as the mediator between it all. 


The intellectual and personal growth that I developed through this internship was priceless. There is no way to fully put into words all of the skills that the MAH has given me. It has made me confident in my abilities as a person and as a member of this community. It has sparked an interest in museum education and teaching that I had not been given insight into before. Lastly, it has shaped who I am and who I am going to be upon my graduation in the spring quarter. Without the hard work I put in at the museum, I do not believe that my college experience would have been the same. I believe this internship experience has been a crucial part of my development as a History of Art and Visual Culture major.