My name is Melissa Hecker and I am a sophomore Illustration major with a concentration in Book Arts. I found out about this organization through MICA’s Career Fair. I did some research about Art With a Heart before the Career Fair and I was really interested in their mission. When I went to the Career Fair, I met Jamie and Audrey who are two staff members at AWAH. Jamie is the Program Manager and Audrey is the assistant to the Executive Director. I talked to them about my experience in working with children through being a member of Community Arts Partnership at MICA, and I gave them my resume with all of my art and community related experience. They reviewed my résumé and called me for a second interview. Hillary, the assistant program manager, interviewed me and told me that I am more than qualified, so I got the internship on the spot. Hillary’s job is to create all the lesson plans for the classes, organize the class schedules, and supervise the interns. As an intern, I helped Hillary organize lesson plans. I also made some of my own lessons for the class that I taught as an assistant teacher.
When I was at the office I worked alongside with some of the summer job kids where I made samples for projects, tested out new projects, cleaned materials, gathered materials for the classes, and helped out in whatever needed to be done quickly and efficiently. I am most of proud of the teaching aspect of the internship. It was really inspiring to work with kids from Baltimore because were very excited about all of the projects. I was able to connect with them through art. There was one project where the students learned about murals and graffiti in Baltimore and the use of inspirational quotes to express an idea. Many students made their projects about success and going to college. This was nice to see kids at such a young age be motivated and inspired from art lessons and the summer program. The most important thing I’ve learned from this internship is how to network with other art resources in the city. I’ve met a lot of local artists who teach art on the side for Art With a Heart.
The staff at A.W.A.H. wants to hire me as a teacher in the school year for an art class once a month. I am in the process of getting that set up to start working for them on the side. I will have to work around my school schedule, but I am really excited to start working as a teacher again. This has helped me sort my career goals in some ways. If teaching continues to go well, then I would love find more teaching opportunities in Baltimore schools. I am interested in finding ways to improve art education in Baltimore, and I believe I could be a huge impact on students’ lives. I have no greater joy than sharing my passion with kids and young adults who also share a love for art.