Although she is just a rising sophomore, Sarah Scalet ’15 is already nearing the completion of two simultaneous summer art internships. She works as both a costume designer for the non-profit Sitar Arts Center’s summer theater camp in Washington, D.C., and an intern at Red Dirt Studios in Mt. Rainer, Md. Scalet has enjoyed working in a professional artist’s studio but also gains great satisfaction from giving back to the community while working at the arts center. Her two internships are made possible by a stipend from the Jerome Gottlieb ’64 Fund, which is administered by Hamilton’s Maurice Horowitch Career Center.
One of the key advantages of working in two internships, according to Scalet, is the variety that comes with each day’s work. She works at both internships during the same day and always has an opportunity to engage in hands-on tasks in a creative environment, which is an aspect of her internship she truly appreciates.
The Sintar Arts Center started out as a single class housed in a basement in one of Washington D.C.’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Today the center has evolved into one of the city’s largest accredited art centers for underprivileged children, offering classes in music, dance, drama, digital arts, visual arts and creative writing. Scalet’s work at the center as a costume designer is particularly challenging and engaging because costume design is a field that is completely new to her.
In just her first week of work, she was placed into a leadership position in the costume design department of the center’s summer musical, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Although Sitar Arts Center is a non-profit, its plays are produced on a nearly professional scale under the direction of staff from such esteemed venues as Folgers’ Theater. Scalet is responsible for taking measurements, brainstorming costume design ideas and gathering fabrics and other materials. She also directs the design of the sculpture elements which will be used in the play, including headpieces, crowns, scepters and even a full size chariot.
Although her second internship at Red Dirt Studios does not involve non-profit work, Scalet appreciates that the studio nonetheless makes an effort to give back by “bring[ing] diversity and culture into a community that might otherwise be overworked by the talk of politics.” The studio’s owner, Margaret Boozer, was a former professor at the Corcoran College of Art and Design who counts among her students Hamilton’s own Associate Professor of Art Rebecca Murtaugh. Scalet spends her days assisting Boozer in various projects including the construction of custom modernist furniture and outdoor sculptures and water features.
Scalet has enjoyed the diversity of her experiences this summer, and while she says that she is not likely to pursue a career in art, she is glad to have learned that such a career is possible even in today’s stagnant economy. She believes that this summer’s internships have taught her problem solving skills that are universally applicable and that “the ability to take each twist in stride is an invaluable trait for any career [she] ultimately chooses.”
Scalet is a graduate of Walter Johnson High (Md.)