Headshot of Layla Mitchell

Layla Mitchell

Major: Art History

Layla Mitchell dressed all in black posing in front of some brick buildings.

Tell us about your internship – what kind of work did you do? What did you find rewarding?

For my internship, I worked at the Zenith Gallery where I helped with various tasks such as, packaging artwork for storage and for shipment, drafting emails, giving tours of the gallery, and creating portfolios on all the artists and their artworks. Everyday when I walked into the gallery, there was always something new happening or that needed to be done. While interning, I was a part of numerous gallery openings where I greeted all the visitors, answered any of their questions, and met all the artists in the exhibitions. It was amazing to see how a gallery operated while being a role in it.

Have your career or life goals changed as a result of your internship? If so, how? 

My life goals have not changed as a result of my internship. This program made me want to pursue a job in a museum or gallery even more than I did before leaving to go to Washington D.C.

Share an exciting memory from your internship – something unexpected, an accomplishment, someone you met. 

At my internship, I had the opportunity to help install an exhibition at the Gallery’s downtown location. While unloading the paintings and sculptures from the truck, it started to lightly snow so we had to move pretty fast to not damage the artworks. When we were inside taking down the previous exhibition and wrapping them up for transport back to the main gallery, the snow started to come down really hard where all you could see outside was white. But, we still had to go back outside in the freezing cold and snowstorm to put the old paintings and sculptures in the truck. When we finally went inside, the heat was on full blast so that when hanging up all the artworks we all took off all of our layers and even went outside in just short sleeves to get some air! This day was a blast and one of my favorite moments at my internship.

Did your internship lead to any opportunities?

Yes! I had the opportunity to go to the famous Cosmos Club, a private social club where past presidents were members. At the club, I got to hear one of the Gallery’s artists speak about his paintings being displayed in their exhibition and have conversations with him at this event and more discussions at future openings that took place.

Layla Mitchell at night standing near the White House

Share a story about something special you did in Washington – an event you attended, a place you went, an exciting talk, etc. 

As a huge fan of the movie National Treasure, I had to go to all the places that the movie took place. Some of my favorite spots were the National Archives and Mount Vernon. While at the National Archives, I stood in front of the Declaration of Independence and said “I am going to steal the Declaration of Independence” just like Nicholas Cage. When I went to Mount Vernon, I booked a special tour called “The National Treasure Tour” where they took us to all the locations they filmed and even into the basement and behind the mansion by water where only this special tour was allowed. It was really fun living out my dream of experiencing my favorite movie of all time.

How has living in the nation’s capital for a quarter changed you?

Living in the nation’s capital for a quarter changed me, as I never used public transportation before and while in D.C. I took it everywhere I went. This is just one of the many new things I tried.

Do you have any advice for future UCDC students?

My advice for future UCDC students would be to go explore the nation’s capital everyday. There is always a museum, sports game, or restaurant to visit.

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