Inside an Internship: Sara Suppan

Photos by Nathan Lewis

Sara Suppan talks about her love for her ongoing internship with the Guerrilla Girls.

All undergraduate MCAD students are required to complete at least one internship at some point during their junior or senior years. Most students seek placement with outside organizations, such as Target, Squarespace, and Urban Outfitters, while others stay closer to MCAD, gaining job experience with internal departments, including our design firm MCAD DesignWorks.

I recently got to talk with Sara Suppan, an MCADian with lots of talent, about her current internship with Guerrilla Girls.


Hey Sara, why don't we start with the basics? What is your life at MCAD like?

Sara Suppan: I am a second-semester senior in the drawing and painting program. My favorite thing about MCAD lately has just been the constant access to a studio and to the advice of my peers.


How did you get your internship?

SS: My Gender, Art, and Society teacher Megan Johnston noticed my enthusiasm for her class last year and invited me to meet the Guerrilla Girls during their preliminary visit to the Twin Cities. They discussed their intentions to work with Minnesota artists and institutions to do a "takeover" of the area, and the ways that students could get involved. I expressed at the meeting that I wanted to be a part of the activities, but that I couldn't commit much time on top of my other classes during the school year, especially since I still needed to find an internship. MCAD Director of Gallery and Exhibition Programs Kerry Morgan suggested that the school could design an internship for me so that I could assist with the MCAD chapter of the project.


What is it like to intern for the Guerilla Girls?

SS: I am in sort of a unique situation because the majority of my work is done on campus. However, because the project connects MCAD to dozens of local art institutions, I have also gotten to meet with members from the Walker Art Center, the Weisman Art Museum, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Kulture Klub, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and many many others. Getting to witness this number of diverse groups come together has been a fantastic, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


Is balancing work and school difficult?

SS: I am, by nature, a very organized person. I love the saying, "Busy people get things done." I manage by an intricate network of to-do lists and daily schedules.



How do you get to your internship?

SS: Most of my meetings take place in Kerry's office. Occasionally we have traveled together to meet committee members at the Walker Art Center or at the Wedge Table nearby.


What is your internship schedule generally like?

SS: I meet with Kerry once a week during the school year, for about an hour. I'm only registering for two internship credits per semester, so that in the end I will have six internship credits.


What kinds of tasks/projects do you complete?

SS: While I am with Kerry, I take notes about the latest developments in the budgeting and planning for the Guerrilla Girls' visits. I also help her organize future meetings with the committee. At the beginning of the internship, I researched what kinds of things the Guerrilla Girls have done previously at schools to help us plan what they might do at MCAD. I made a few presentations to give to others when introducing the project, which included a history of the Guerrilla Girls and a summary of the work they have done in other cities.

The largest project I have to accomplish for Kerry is still underway. What will make the Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover a true "takeover" is that dozens of satellite galleries will be exhibiting work that is focused on some sort of social change or guerrilla action. I have the opportunity to curate a show for MCAD's Concourse Gallery. It will be titled Self/Concept, and it will investigate what factors shape the way we define ourselves. The focus is on art that deals with identity in relation to culture, religion, gender, and socio-economic status. I have spent a part of the summer working on the curatorial statement for the show, and selecting artists both in and out of MCAD. 


How has your experience been helpful in your artistic and professional life?

SS: I am interested in curating more in the future, and on building professional relationships with local institutions. Thus far this internship has taught me just how much networking, organizing, budgeting, and trial and error goes into developing a project with multiple artists. It has also given me the opportunity to meet some great people, including, of course, two of the Guerrilla Girls!



What is your favorite part about your internship and why?

SS: I've enjoyed being a part of the excitement. Every single person working on this project is happy to be doing it. It's a lot of grant writing and budgeting and negotiating, but it's all done with love. I feel like I am a part of something huge, while at the same time getting to learn lessons that can be applied to my own career. 


Thanks so much Sara! Sounds like Guerrilla Girls has a great artist working with them!

Sara was also interviewed earlier this year in a story about the Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover. Check it out!