Summer interns at Anderson Ranch enjoy the fruits of their labor

The Anderson Ranch interns will receive professional development award.

This summer’s class of interns at Anderson Ranch all will receive a professional development award of $5,000, made possible by a gift from the Jen Rubio and Stewart Butterfield Foundation.
Courtesy of Anderson Ranch Arts Center

Summer interns at Anderson Ranch will receive a professional development award of $5,000 beginning with this year’s cohort.

The award, which is made possible by a gift from the Jen Rubio and Stewart Butterfield Foundation, fulfills Anderson Ranch’s longtime goal of providing monetary compensation for interns, according to Esther Macy Nooner, who coordinates Anderson Ranch’s intern program.

“We love the interns and we love the program,” Nooner said. “This is really the first year with a vision that’s been talked about for a long time, and I think that giving them the award and setting them up for success as much as possible (is) always our goal.”

Though interns have historically been provided with housing and food, in addition to a multitude of educational opportunities, this will be the first summer they are being financially compensated, too.

“It’s really hard to have someone come and work really hard for three and a half to four months without any solid income,” Nooner said. “It’s always been something that we’ve been trying to figure out.”

The internship is designed with the educational component in mind, providing professional development workshops and other educational opportunities for interns. The award provides young artists with financial support to assist them with future artistic pursuits.

“They can use that money to help with school, they can use that money to help fund their practice, they can use those funds to either help with education or some sort of practice advantage,” Nooner said.

Nooner said one of the interns she mentors mentioned plans to upgrade their camera, while another said they would use the award to pay for an upcoming residency.

The award also expands access to the internship, making it more equitable for participants.

“It is really important for us because we want to have such a diverse group of interns and we want to be able to provide opportunities in a much more democratic and equal way,” Nooner said. “When you can actually give them an award that financially helps them finish school, or upgrade their camera equipment or help them with anything else afterwards, it really opens the door for so many more people to apply.”

Though the gift was the result of a one year underwriting of the internship program by the Rubio and Butterfield Foundation, Nooner said Anderson Ranch is looking for ways to continue providing the award in future years.

“Our development team is certainly working on ways to sustain it for the years to come,” Nooner said.

Anderson Ranch hopes to continue providing interns with an honorarium funded by private donations to encourage diversity by financially supporting interns who may not be able to participate without the award, according to Lindsy Fortier, the organization’s director of marketing and communications.

“There’s always been an emphasis on diversity within the internship programming, and I think that this award will help to further that effort,” Fortier said.

In addition to funding the interns’ career development, the award is an important way to show appreciation for the interns, according to Nooner.

“We couldn’t have successful workshops without them, and I think it’s really important to show them that they are appreciated and that their time is valuable,” Nooner said.


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