Sociology major and art history minor Kevin Cervantes ’21 has landed a prestigious summer internship at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. As one of only six interns hired by the internationally renowned collection of museums, Cervantes will research cutting-edge pedagogy and develop curricula that will engage children in the analysis of abstract art.
The 10-week internship program offered through the Katzenberger Foundation gives undergraduate students an opportunity to work in research and collection projects. Like Cervantes, selected interns have completed substantial coursework in art history, and hold an interest in museums, galleries, libraries and archives, as well as possess research and writing skills.
Cervantes will work in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in the Education Department. His project, titled “What Am I to Look At: Designing New Tools for Contemporary Art Interpretation,” will develop an art program targeted toward children from disenfranchised communities.
“My art history education feeds my curiosity and passion for learning about what social context produced a specific artwork,” Cervantes says. “At HWS, I have developed into a research-based scholar who is interested in understanding as a catalyst for creating change.”
Through his studies in sociology, Cervantes says he is well positioned to confront the challenges that prevent “various communities from attending museums or participating in museum programming,” such as physical access and representation.
Last summer, Cervantes also gained insight to the archival non-profit space through a research and archive internship with the Center for the Study of Political Graphics. There, he says he gained experience using archival software.
Cervantes says his mentor, Professor of Sociology Jack Harris P’02, P’06, and the staff at the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education and the Office of Intercultural Affairs were instrumental in helping him land the right internship to pursue his career goals. He is also grateful to his college advisor and mentor Patti Demoff.
In the future, Cervantes intends to launch a museum “built by and for the people” in Southeast Los Angeles. “My goal is to provide marginalized communities with physical access to the arts. I imagine a museum where the signage is in Spanish or Chinese Mandarin, and the programming is as diverse as the community it is located within,” he says.
On campus, Cervantes is a Posse scholar and an America Reads tutor. In 2018, the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning named Cervantes “Hobart Tutor of the Year.” He is also a member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America.