Being a High School Intern at LACMA: Q&A with Joana Choi

Joana Choi is a high school intern at LACMA working with the Education department. Joana started as an intern in September of 2010 and has worked on projects from the opening of the Resnick Pavillion to After Dark. She has also had a big hand in helping with teen programs. We talked to Joana about being an intern at LACMA, future career plans, and more.

Joana Choi, High School Intern at LACMA

Tell us about your first experience as an intern at LACMA.

The first big event that I took part in was the public opening of the Resnick Pavilion. It was really great. I loved wearing that red LACMA STAFF t-shirt, and being the one that people would rely on for information. I loved seeing all the excited kids having a great time with the workshops, hearing from the parents that the new building was great, taking lots of pictures in the photobooth with other interns—it was all such great fun! I really couldn’t ask for a better first experience!

Do you have a favorite work of art in the museum?

I like them all, but one of my favorites would be one from the Latin American Gallery. It’s from the Art of the Ancient Americas. I’m not sure of the title of the work, but it’s a small figurine that is an ancient action figure. What I like about it is what it teaches me about ancient cultures and how they used to be. It’s so fascinating how, regardless of the time, some things just don’t change.

What is the most memorable thing you have been involved in at LACMA?

I’d have to say EatLACMA because it was such a fascinating event composed of such bizarre stations. The idea in itself of art and food is interesting, since food is such a vital yet disregarded part of our lives. I loved the doughnut mural, the fresh fish tacos, the potato garden, the free plates, the tomato fight—everything about it was interesting. I think it really was an event that, although fun, made one think about the big role of food in our lives.

One of the big programs you have helped with is After Dark: Teen Night. What is your role with that program? Are you looking forward to the next Teen Night on August 20?

My role is to survey the attendees in line, pass out wristbands, keep the line moving, and help with the clean up. Our event in June turned out much bigger than expected, so with a long line that went to the end of Wilshire, it was quite a workout having to walk up and down to tell the attendants to take out their IDs, keep moving, etc. The event was such a success that I can’t wait to see how Teen Night this weekend will go. Teens will get to go though the Tim Burton exhibition after the museum closes, eat specially-created Burton food items from the Kogi truck (blood sausage tacos and Jack Skellington eyeball lollipops), dance to a DJ, and more. It’s going to be a great event.

Has interning at LACMA helped to shape your career path?

Definitely. Through LACMA and the experiences it has awarded me, I was able to become more passionate. I used to be a person who really let doubts hold me back from doing what I wanted. I always loved fashion, but since I had never taken any art classes, I wasn’t sure about following my passion. But through the internship, I was able to meet with the Mulleavy sisters (Rodarte) and Kate gave me an advice that allowed me to take a big leap. That was a defining factor, but the internship as a whole let me be passionate and more impulsive, and now, I am following a career path that I genuinely enjoy. Just think—two years ago I was thinking of pre-med or law, and now I’m an aspiring designer working on her portfolio!

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