Summer Job Spotlight: Communications Intern at American Federation of Arts

Taylor Lamb – September 6th, 2017

Doreen Devasia is a fourth year in the College of Arts & Sciences. She is double majoring in art history and foreign affairs. This summer, she lived in New York City while interning at the American Federation of Arts, which is a nonprofit that organizes traveling art exhibitions. 


  • Location: New York City
  • Organization: American Federation of Arts (AFA)
  • Position: Communications Intern
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • How She Found the Internship: Americans for the Arts website

Can you describe the duties of the internship and some special project you worked on?

I interned at the AFA through a program called Diversity in Arts Leadership, which matches students with nonprofit arts organizations throughout the city. Since I was in the communications department, I wrote press releases for an upcoming exhibition, Women Artists in Paris: 1850-1900. I also researched and wrote about women artists, managed social media accounts, promoted Museum Week, photographed catalogues for the website, and formatted newsletters. To promote the exhibition, the AFA organized a public event with the curator and needed to publicize it. So, I researched press contacts and wrote a press release specific to the event. I then shared this with the list of media outlets so they could find out about it and provide coverage of the event. At the same time, the AFA was working on revamping its website. The organization has had numerous publications since its creation in 1909, and I went through the archives of catalogues to photograph them for the website. In addition to this, I had other responsibilities through the program. I visited eleven other nonprofits and spoke with several creative directors and curators to learn about issues of diversity and representation within the arts. 

What did you learn?

I learned that the realm of arts has a long way to go in being fully inclusive and representational of its diverse participants. I also learned that funding plays a huge role in nonprofits and that everyone plays an important role, especially those who work behind the scenes. I figured out how to navigate a new city, be critical and inquisitive of organizations, and how to network! Most importantly, I got to learn about the structures of nonprofits and how the AFA organizes and prepares for exhibitions and publications. 


To learn more about how the Career Center can help you find your next internship or job, check out the Events Calendar of explore Handshake for opportunities. 

If you are interested in sharing your summer internship or job experience in the Creative Arts, Media, and Design Community, email tll5je@virginia.edu