A semester-long socially engaged experience in New York City with a focus on community, art and activism

Students will spend a semester in New York gaining firsthand knowledge of the art world and arts in community via two courses and an internship experience. This program is for students that are interested in using the visual arts and the city of New York as a lens for exploring and understanding issues of inequality and the struggle for social justice.

The program consists of two academic courses -- the "Art and Activism" seminar and a course focused on students' development as working professionals -- and a 3-day-per-week internship at an arts organization. Students of all majors are invited to apply!  You do not need to be an arts-related major.

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Deadline for Spring 2024 will be in September 2023

    Program Components

    The Seminar (3 credits)

    Taught by Mildred Beltré, Associate Professor of Studio Art, Art and Activism will be focused on community, artist interventions, and the history of community activism through art. This course will look at art and activism in New York City in both a historical and contemporary context. It will be focused on community arts methods and the history of community activism through art, and will help place the internship in the thematic and political framework of the city.

    Starting with a grounding of what context each of us brings to the city, we will consider the historical and current state of the city and how the arts and institutions function within it. The coursework is structured as nodes within intersectional constellations of issues, tactics, and artists. Through readings we learn about international, national, and New York-based movements, artists, and collectives.

    Credit details: These credits count as academic elective credits unless otherwise approved by your department for major credit. 

    Professional Development Course (3 credits)

    Students will meet every Thursday to begin to develop their professional identity and understand how to navigate the workplace as they get a feel for their career path in the arts. In small groups, students will interact with peers, identify and leverage their strengths and share their internship experiences. Throughout the program, students will build a portfolio that showcases what they’ve learned and documents their professional journey.

    Credit details: These credits count as elective academic credits. 

    The Internship (9 credits)

    Students will work at an internship for at least 24 hours a week (3-4 full days) doing meaningful work in the arts world. Students are responsible for applying for and securing an internship position (with our help) by the start of the program. Internships should be at

     organizations that are related to the intersection of community, arts, and social justice. Past internship locations have included: the Brooklyn Museum, BRIC, Creative Time, Daniel Arsham Studio, Lower East Side Printshop, Museum of the Moving Image, Queens Museum, Franklin Furnace, Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn Children's Museum, and the International Studio and Curatorial Program.

    Students will gain first-hand exposure to the workings of arts institutions and various aspects of the arts. They will gain knowledge of the diverse communities of New York and how communities access art through these institutions, as well as gaining a sense of how art and artists function in the world. What are the different audiences? How do artists get their work out?  What resources are available to artists and arts institutions?  What is their role in the city? What happens in an artist's studio?

    Credit details: These credits count as elective internship credits, and DO count toward graduation. Keep in mind, however, that you can only count a maximum of 12 internship credits toward graduation as per CAS internship policy. Check with your advisor if you have questions. 

    The Fall Course (1 credit)

    The fall preparatory course is designed to help structure your internship search and application process. It will also allow you to get to know your classmates before departing for New York! Students will meet in person several times during the semester, but most of the written work will be completed with Mildred and submitted through Blackboard. Students will be responsible for completing and submitting their own applications to internship sites as well as interviewing & accepting an internship by the beginning of the Spring 2023 semester. 



    UVM students must meet the following requirements in order to participate in Arts in Action:

    1. Junior standing during the semester you intend to participate. (In some rare cases we will consider a student with sophomore standing who has previous internship / professional experience or who is in their 3rd year at UVM).
    2. GPA above 2.5
    3. International students who hold F-1 or J-1 visa status must seek permission from the Office of International Education in order to participate.


    Application process:

    This program will take the place of your spring semester. Required components of the application:

    • Application form

    The application form is designed to help you think about your reasons for applying to this program. It will ask you about yourself, your experiences, and your goals. 

    • Resume

    Your resume should list your education, previous employment, skills, volunteer experience, and any educational or leadership experience you believe has prepared you to be an intern. Try to keep it to 1-page. (Example resume)

    • Sample Cover letter

    Go online and find an arts organization in New York City that you would love to work for -- it can be anywhere, dream big! -- and write a cover letter as if you are applying to an internship there. This will be the basis for the cover letters you will write during your internship application process in fall 2022. (Example cover letter)

    • Recommendation 

    You will need to contact a professor or other professional reference and ask if they would be willing to provide you a reference. You'll be asked to submit their name on the application form. Then, they will be sent an auto-email asking for them to fill out a survey about your strengths as a candidate. A reminder email from you about this is always helpful!

    • Interview

    If selected for the final round, you will be asked to attend an interview with program Director Mildred Beltre. This is to get to know you a bit more and to allow you to express anything that did not appear in your application materials. Interviews will take place in May 2022 and may be in small groups depending on the number of applicants.

    Apply now


    Costs & Living

    Tuition: Students will pay their normal tuition & fees for a 15-credit semester at UVM. All scholarships and financial aid applies.

    Housing: Housing will be located in St. George Towers in Brooklyn Heights. Find more information on the Educational Housing Services (EHS) website. The Program Fee for this program will cover the housing cost. 

    Food: There is no meal plan associated with this program, so students will have to coordinate with their roomates to grocery shop and cook. Professor Beltre will also be able to recommend budget-friendly spots around the area.

    Travel: Students will need to purchase a metro card and cover the costs of their arrival to and departure from New York at the beginning and end of the semester.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    What does "normal tuition" mean?

    "Normal tuition" means the normal amount you pay for a UVM semester. This will of course be slightly different for each student which is why we do not name a sticker price here. All of your grants, scholarships and loans will apply as normal because these are normal UVM credits. Please get in touch with SFS if you are unsure what your normal financial aid package includes. 

    If I go during my sophomore year, does it count toward the 2 year "on campus residency" requirement?

    Yes, this program is considered "on campus" housing because UVM has reviewed and approved the housing provider. If you are signed up for UVM housing already for spring 2023, please let us know. One of the steps in the pre-departure checklist will be to work with ResLife to cancel your contract (this will not cost you anything). 

    Can I go during my last semester of senior year? 

    Yes, this program awards UVM credit, so you will not be breaking the "30 of the last 45 credits earned for the UVM degree must be taken at the University" rule set forth by the Registrar or your academic program.

    How do I get my internship?

    The fall 2022 course built into this program will include steps and deadlines that will help you apply for and land your internship in New York. Mildred Beltre will play a integral role in this process by helping you determine what types of internships would be best for your skills and interests. Though she does have connections with many New York organizations eager to host UVM students, if you have an idea for an internship site, please make sure to mention this early on! You will need to write your own application materials and take ownership of applying and interviewing for internship positions. 

    Can I count any of these credits toward my major/minor?

    In some cases, you may be able to count the academic course "Art and Activism" toward your major or minor. With permission from your department chair, the Dean's Office can process an exception on your degree audit to make the AS-196 course count toward your major or minor. Without this step, or if the course is not approved by your department chair, it will count as elective credit toward your degree. 

    What if I have already done an internship for credit?

    If you are in CAS and have already taken 4 or more credits of internship credit, then some of the internship credits for this program will not count for you. CAS has a maximum of 12 internship credits. If you have questions about this, please get in touch with Sophia Trigg.

    Can I get a part-time job while doing this program?

    Many students ask if they can get a job on top of their internship--which may be unpaid. The short answer is yes, although juggling a 3-4 day internship, two courses, and a part-time job can be difficult. If you have a work-study award, you might want to look for a remote position based at UVM that you can do while you are in New York.

    If COVID-19 precautions are still in place at UVM, will I need to complete a Day 0 test and get vaccinations/boosters?

    If UVM requires a Day 0 test in advance of Spring semester 2023, you will be exempt from that because you will not be coming to campus. HOWEVER, you will still be considered a UVM student, so you will need to comply with all vaccination/booster policies. 


    What to do after you get accepted to the program:

    Check out our pre-departure checklist and follow all instructions from EHS!


    Mildred Beltre, Arts in Action Program Director

    Sophia Trigg, CAS Internship & Experiential Learning Program Director

    (Header photos by Ilana Goldstein)

    Program Policies & Procedures


    Hear from a past participant!

    Ellie Guyon ('21, English) speaks about her time interning for BRIC and Creative Time


    The Spring 2022 Cohort:

    Maggie Adams, Alex Both, Rivan Calderin, Trang Do, Sirsha Hassan, Maddy Holden, Brooke McKeen, Sachi Sakaniwa, Pam Tetteh, Jenny Townsend, Jason Wolstenholme, Casey Young, Olivia Zito, Wyatt Taylor, Sam Weese

    Spring 2020:

    Perfect for any major

    "As a linguistics and Spanish double major, I was a little concerned that I would feel out of place not only in this art oriented program, but also working in an arts institution.  I quickly learned that this was far from the case, and I am so so grateful for this insightful experience, and the new perspectives and tools I have acquired.  I cannot stress enough how beneficial this program is to everyone - especially those whose areas of expertise lay outside the realm of the arts.  Through having students from a myriad of backgrounds, our class was truly able to grapple with complex and multifaceted issues from a multitude of lenses.  I feel like a much more well-rounded, educated individual, with new passions and interests to explore further."

    - Ilana Goldstein (Linguistics, '21)

    Arts in Action students Zmira and Mahntra pose in NYC.