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 a 360-hour community-based 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. All majors welcome.

The program consists of two academic courses: the "Art and Activism" seminar, and a course focused on students' development as working professionals and community organizers called “Learning by Doing”. Students will also be matched with an arts organization in the city to complete 24 hours per week of community-based work.

Spring 2025 Application

Deadline: Wednesday, April 10th at 11:59pm, 2024

Watch the Virtual Info Session

    Program Components

    Art and Activism: 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. ARTH 2870: Art and Activism.

    City as Classroom: 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 about their internship experiences. Throughout the program, students will build a portfolio that showcases what they’ve learned and documents their professional journey. These credits count as elective academic credits: CAS 1990 "AiA:City as Classroom"

    Learning by Doing (9 credits)

    Students will work at an community organization for at least 24 hours a week (3-4 days) doing meaningful work in the arts world. Expect to work 360 hours over the course of the semester. Students will be matched with one of several sites that have agreed to host UVM students. There may be several students at each site, adding to the feeling of community this program thrives upon. While every effort will be made to match you with a site that aligns with your interests, it is essential to understand that any experience in a NYC arts organization will be helpful to you in your future career in the arts. 

    Past 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?

    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. CAS 2991 "Int: AiA: Learning by Doing"



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

    1. At least 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 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)

    • Recommendation 

    You will need to contact a professor or other professional reference and ask if they would be willing to provide you with a recommendation. 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 the selection committee. 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.


    Housing will be located in St. George Towers in Brooklyn Heights. Find more information and accessibility information on the Educational Housing Services (EHS) website. Each student in the program is guaranteed a bed in a double room. Roommates will be randomly assigned with change of roommate requests being routed through the EHS team after program enrollment. Any concerns about the housing should be sent to Sophia Trigg, CAS Internship Program Director, who can get in touch with the EHS team prior to enrollment.

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

    The New York City subway and transit systems now accept ApplePay, GooglePay, and SamsungPay, as well as contactless credit and debit cards. You can also purchase a pre-paid card to use. More information can be found on the MTA website.


    Financial Information & Program Costs:

    Tuition: During the Arts in Action term, students are billed full-time tuition and fees based on their residency (in-state or out-of-state), just like a regular term at UVM. Billing happens through the UVM account on the same schedule as normal. The Program Fee is billed on the UVM account along with the tuition & fees (see Program Fee section below).

    Deposit: Students accepting their place in the program will be required to pay a $300 deposit. This deposit is non-refundable unless UVM cancels the program. This deposit will count toward the total Program Fee listed below.

    Program Fee: Students will be billed a program fee of approx. $9,896 on their UVM student account. This fee covers housing for the term plus one meal per week during class time. The $300 deposit (see above) is applied toward this program fee. There is scholarship funding available for students who have demonstrated a high level of financial need on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). No separate application is utilized. All students applying for the program will be considered based on their FAFSA.

    Financial aid: Federal, State and University financial aid, including need-based and merit aid, will apply for your Arts in Action term just as it would for a regular full-time term enrolled in on-campus courses. Any aid for which you are eligible will be applied against your term charges, including the Arts in Action program fee. If you are awarded any additional scholarship funding for this program, it will be incorporated into your overall aid offer for the term and applied to your charges. Since the program fee may be higher than your typical housing costs would be, you may be able to borrow additional loans to assist with the increase, if eligible. To go over your specific aid offer and the changes you may see while doing a term of Arts in Action, please contact Student Financial Services.


    The Arts in Action Team:

    Kelley Di Dio – Director of the School of the Arts - kelley.didio@uvm.edu. Contact Kelley for questions regarding the program content, organization, internships, course, or other general questions.

    Mildred Beltre – Professor of Art & instructor of the Arts in Action program. Mildred will be on sabbatical during AY 2023-24, so all questions regarding the content of the program internship matching, or about whether the program is a good fit for you should be directed to Kelley Di Dio (above). Mildred will be running the program in New York while you're there. 

    Sophia Trigg & Kelly Smith – CAS Internship Programs – cas.internships@uvm.edu. Contact Kelly and Sophia for questions about the application process, Program Fee, housing, timeline, deposit, or other general questions and we can direct you to the right person.

    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 the Spring semester, 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.

    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 for some credit to 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 Kelly Smith.

    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.


    What to do after you get accepted to the program:

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


    Kelley Di Dio, Interim Arts in Action Program Director

    CAS Internship Team: cas.internships@uvm.edu

    (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.