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Internship ,
submitted by
Rachel Rowland

McMullan Arts Leadership Internship, Experience Design – Visual Design (Academic Year 2024–2025)


The Art Institute of Chicago’s Experience Design department is excited to offer a McMullan Arts Leadership intern position to work with their Visual Design team.

The Experience Design team is the creative studio at the heart of the museum, hosting a multidisciplinary team of visual designers, architects, video and audio producers, developers, project managers and integration specialists. The Visual Design team is responsible for all things visual in the museum—ranging from exhibits, to print materials, digital products, environmental and service design, and brand.

The McMullan Arts Leadership Internship in Visual Design offers the opportunity for a designer early in their career to explore their interests and refine their skills through a broad range of creative projects.

The intern will join a museum-wide intern cohort and have access to a range of programs to support their development in addition to their placement in Visual Design. Mentorship is provided throughout the experience and connections with an intern alumni network will be established.

Goals of the McMullan Arts Leadership Internship Program

The McMullan Arts Leadership internship program is part of a museum-wide effort to provide students the opportunity to gain experience, career awareness, networks, and skills that will position them to thrive as future art museum leaders.

This program specifically aims to support students who encounter economic challenges when considering a career in the arts. Aligned with this goal, we aim to help shape a diverse group of leaders whose actions are informed by a wide range of perspectives, varying career paths, and values inspired by their own lived experiences.


In this position, the intern will have the opportunity to:

  • Cultivate skills to develop, present, refine, and execute a creative brief;
  • Build strategies to align personal creativity with project objectives;
  • Gain familiarity with bespoke and industry-standard production, proofing, and installation methods;
  • Become comfortable working with a comprehensive design style guide along with editorial feedback;
  • Develop strong communication and organizational skills;
  • Develop mentor relationships with field practitioners;
  • Build peer-to-peer relationships with fellow interns.


Under the mentorship of the Creative Director and Senior Designer, The McMullan Arts Leadership Intern will gain experience by contributing to the responsibilities shared by the Visual Design team:

  • Support creative concepts;
    • The intern will support design inspiration research, interpreting creative briefs, and generating design ideas that interpret the goals for exhibitions, printed material, campaigns, and brand work.
  • Support production design;
    • The intern will support the design team with production across many visual design formats including: exhibition graphics, wayfinding and campus signage, marketing campaigns, digital products, moving image, and printed materials.
  • Participate in the design process;
    • The intern will collaborate with other members of the Visual Design team and participate in group design crits and feedback sessions. They will be regularly encouraged to provide and receive constructive feedback.
  • Contribute to authentic and original creative work;
    • The Art Institute has a unique voice and identity. The intern will support the brand and the museum’s dynamic programming. They will help explore a rich visual vocabulary to find the best solution for the design challenge.
  • Support the museum in its commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution;
    • Our team treats all colleagues and visitors equitably and respectfully, recognizing the value that diverse backgrounds and perspectives bring to our organization.
  • Attend weekly check-ins with mentors: Visual Design’s creative director and senior designer;
  • Attend intern cohort professional development programs and museum practice seminars.


  • Undergraduate or graduate student; recent graduates (within one year of graduation) will also be considered;
  • Due to onsite necessity, applicants must be based in the Chicagoland area and/or attending school in the Chicagoland area over the course of the internship term;
  • Strong interest in developing typographic skills and understanding of grid systems;
  • Creative approach to the use of typography, image, and color;
  • Proficiency in Adobe’s Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat Pro);
  • Comfortable working in a team environment and contributing to group discussions as well as receiving feedback;
  • Collaborative approach to problem solving;
  • Ability to balance multiple projects in a fast-paced studio environment.


Please apply on must upload all of the requested materials below (résumé, essay responses, and hyperlink to portfolio) into only one pdf document and list your last name and “AY 24-25” in the title of the file (example: [LAST NAME]_AY 24-25.pdf.) Please make the digital portfolio present as an accessible website, Dropbox, or Google Drive hyperlink in your résumé. Please upload your materials where asked in the online application.

PLEASE NOTE: You will not be considered if any requested application element is missing.

To apply for this internship, tell us your story. We want to understand who you are, what motivates you, how you think, and where you’re coming from. Please submit the following materials:

  • Résumé
  • Hyperlink to a digital portfolio that includes recent examples of relevant design projects that reflect your knowledge, skill, and creativity
  • Instead of a traditional cover letter, please respond to the following questions and prompts in short essays (maximum 300 words except for the last prompt.) We encourage you to provide specific examples to support your answers or to illustrate your ideas:
    • What about this job description interests you the most?
    • With the mission of the McMullan Arts Leadership intern program in mind, what perspectives might you bring to this role that you think museums need more of?
    • How do you envision this opportunity helping you towards your professional goals?

DEADLINE: The deadline to submit an application to this position is Tuesday, July 16 at 11:59 pm CDT. We will not accept late applications. We will contact the candidates we want to interview within three weeks of our deadline.


Duration of Position: 32 weeks / September 2024 (start date anytime during the week of September 23–27) through April/early May 2024 (end date anytime during the week of April 28–May 2)

Compensation: Paid / $16.32/hr / part-time / Temporary

Schedule: This is a part-time, 32-week position for a currently enrolled or recently graduated undergraduate or graduate student. The intern will work 14 hours per week, for a total of up to 448 hours over the course of the internship. Work days will occur between Monday–Friday; the start date and schedule will be determined upon agreement with the candidate and the host department.

Hourlong virtual and in-person intern professional development programs will be scheduled throughout the internship term that the student is strongly encouraged to attend. These programs will occur during the week; we ask that the intern make this part of their internship schedule.

Format: The internship will be a hybrid of onsite and remote workdays. Internet access and appropriate technology will be necessary to complete this internship; technological accommodations will be provided by the Art Institute of Chicago.

Number of openings: 1

Contact Info:
Academic Engagement and Research Department
(312) 857-7146
Job Type: Paid Internship
Compensation: $16.32/hr
Location: The Art Institute of Chicago