Came for Soccer, Stayed for Art: Interview with a Reynolda House Intern

Name: William
School: Wake Forest University
Major & Graduation Year: WFU Communications major with a minor in art history, 2023
Internship tenure: Spring & Summer 2013; Development, Education
Current position: University College London UCL, Art Education, Culture and Practice; Intern, Anonymous Gallery, New York City

A D-1 athlete may not be the typical art intern resume—but that doesn’t mean they aren’t game. William came to Wake Forest as a member of the university’s soccer team. As the son of an archaeologist who worked at the National Museum of the Philippines, William has always been interested in galleries, museums, and curating. However, his athletic schedule initially kept him from declaring an art major. Then, William made an executive life decision: to quit the team to follow his true passions. He completed other creative internships internationally before joining the Reynolda House team during his last semester at Wake Forest, “I had different digital internships during the pandemic, but this was my first experience with an institution—and it was a no-brainer as I’d be getting museum experience,” he says.

With a ‘get exposed to as much as possible and see where that takes me’ attitude, William dived into Reynolda House’s education department. He gave tours, taught classes, and assembled learning sheets for students. The internship brought him out of his comfort zone and into the institutional workplace for the first time, “I learned museum etiquette, how to cite different works, how to write about art, how to communicate with work colleagues and supervisors—and felt welcomed in the museum space as a professional.”

He also had the opportunity to explore his own career interests. Having already done some study abroad work in London, William worked with the Reynolda House staff to identify and match him with master’s courses. With Reynolda House as a gateway into the art world, William discovered his own strengths and interest in education. “I did a lot of instructing at Reynolda. After talking to Julia, [I realized] which education course in which field suits me right now.”

But sometimes it was the museum’s smaller visitors who made him flex his skills the most.

“I had to learn how to flip the switch between my own shyness and my work persona, which requires a certain amount of proactivity and extraversion.” These communication skills helped him reach new people who want to be in the museum space but may be intimidated or unsure where to start. On this track, William even crossed paths with the children of his old soccer acquaintances, “I used to see these kids in the gym—and suddenly I was teaching them about American art.”

As far as the internship itself, William encourages future interns to maximize their time there by taking on the many opportunities to do different things. “Just dip your toe at least once. Maybe it’ll help you figure out what you enjoy and what you don’t.” Additionally, he says this period is ripe for interns to make mistakes and grow. “Do as much as they can—so you can learn to do it well.”

Before William starts graduate school in London in Fall 2023, he’s interning at the Anonymous Gallery in Chinatown, NYC. Even though he was raised by someone who worked at a museum, art education & administration as a career possibility is still very fresh to him. Nonetheless, with the bit of hindsight he has on his Reynolda House internship, William can already see the role it will play in his career, “I learned how to communicate with work colleagues and supervisors. But even more so, Reynolda House helped me realize my own strengths—and I’m following those today.”

Interested in interning with Reynolda House? Apply for the fall program here.

Paid internships at Reynolda House for the year 2023 are supported by the Wells Fargo Foundation.