For Sarah Wallack ’16 this summer, an art museum was much more than simply a place to look at paintings; it was a place to find inspiration and to share it. As a studio art intern in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’ (MFA) education department, she helped to teach children’s art classes through the museum’s Journeys Through Art summer program. As a Hamilton art major she also found inspiration for her own work. Wallack’s internship was funded by the Summer Internship Support Fund.
Wallack’s days at MFA were full and active. She served as an assistant teacher for two art classes with children between 5- and 8-years-old. Her responsibilities included preparing art supplies, supervising the young students and working closely with the children to help them with their art projects. Each session had a theme related to artwork within the museum’s galleries. Each day Wallack and the class’s teacher would take the children down to the gallery to look at art related to the theme. Wallack helped to discuss this artwork with the students, and she loved seeing how they reacted. She commented, “Seeing their faces light up as they create a print for the first time or walk into the gallery expecting to be bored and then become totally infatuated by a painting is very rewarding for me.”
Throughout her internship, Wallack felt that she was learning alongside her students. She reflected, “What made my internship so unique was that the space in which I was interning was a classroom for myself as well for my students.” An art and Hispanic Studies double major, Wallack enjoys creating many kinds of art, especially oil and watercolor paintings. Her internship afforded her the opportunity to regularly see paintings from some of her favorite impressionist painters such as Monet, Seurat and Sorolla. In addition to her favorites Wallack drew inspiration from the museum’s wide variety of collections, explaining, “The diversity of art within the museum has influenced me to develop new areas of interest. I have both developed a greater understanding of specific ways in which I can improve my own art and have expanded my knowledge of history through my observation of art within the Museum.”
Wallack found inspiration not only for creating art, but for teaching it. Her experience in the classroom was certainly challenging; she remarked, “I didn’t realize before this internship how much energy one needs for teaching!” However, it was also immensely rewarding. Wallack explained, “There is something so profound about watching a child express him or herself through the creation of art. From this internship I’ve confirmed my love for teaching art to children.” Over the summer she was able to see her young students grow, and she was able to develop her own teaching skills. She is now considering attending graduate school for art education, and she hopes to one day teach in her own art classroom.