Visual and Performing Arts - From Classroom to Career Junior Year


More Advising
Use your Visual and Performing Arts faculty advisor and peer advising to choose the best courses, internships and potential graduate schools. Be prepared for your meeting.

Take a Leadership Role in Visual and Performing Arts Extracurricular Activities
vpa_ctc_playTake a leadership role in one or more of the many arts-focused extracurricular activities at the University. Mentor and recruit underclassmen. Collaborate with other arts students both inside and outside of your discipline to brainstorm exciting new artistic works and projects. Start thinking about potential leadership opportunities within the activities that you participate in.

  • Theatre Fairfield
  • University Symphony Orchestra
  • vpa_ctc_banner4Gospel Choir
  • The Sounds: A Cappella Group
  • The Bensonians: A Cappella Group
  • Ham Channel
  • Jazz Rock and Blues Ensemble
  • Your Mother Does Improv: A student run improv troupe
  • Pep Band
  • Private instrumental and voice lessons

Find an Internship
Brainstorm with your advisor about potential internships for the summer and future semesters. Take advantage of the many on-campus professionally run art galleries, museums, theatres, television channels and music venues. Explore off-campus opportunities by working with your advisor and making connections to people in your field of interest. Think about "trying out" a career, gaining work experience, marketable skills, potential mentors and a competitive edge. Look for potential matches between an internship with your career.

Here is an overview:

Art History
vpa_ctc_art_class2Interns play critical roles in the day-to-day operations of the museums and galleries for which they work. From performing essential administrative duties to undertaking specialized projects, interns contribute in real and meaningful ways to the smooth operation of the arts organizations to which they lend their time and talents.

Internships are beneficial for both the student and the institutions that engage them. Specifically, while a museum or gallery benefits from the completion of specialized projects as well as the fresh insights and new collegial relationships its interns help forge, interns themselves can expect to gain meaningful, hands-on experience. This, in turn, leaves students better prepared to evaluate their career options after graduation and enhances their standing in an increasingly competitive job market.

In recent years, for example, art history majors and minors have held internships at The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut UBS Corporate Art Collection in New York City, Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York City, and the Fairfield Arts Council in Fairfield, Connecticut. On campus, internships are available at the Bellarmine Museum of Art and the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery to students majoring or minoring in Art History.

Internships are one of the many ways that music majors are able to focus their course of study on specific and individual interests and explore diverse applications of academic study in a professional environment. Internships are beneficial for both the student and the institutions that engage them. They provide excellent opportunities for students to gain the relevant experience required in the field, delve more deeply into areas of interest and develop professional connections necessary for post-graduation job placement. Music majors often intern in areas of arts management, recording, production, promotion, music therapy, advertising, and performance among other disciplines. During the course of an internship, students are able to shadow professionals in the field as well as work on real projects that can be included on a resume.

Film, Television, and Media Arts
vpa_ctc_filmStudents in the major or minor program are encouraged to seek out internship opportunities in the area of their concentration of film, television or media arts. Internships are available from many production companies, as well as television and radio stations. Faculty members have many contacts with practitioners in these media and often help qualified students arrange internships for credit. Fairfield's proximity to New York City (just an hour away) makes dynamic options a real possibility. In recent years, for example, our students have held internships at NBC, ABC, ESPN, The Daily Show, MSG, Speedvision Network, Outdoor Life, CNN, Comedy Central, The Conan O'Brien Show, WFAN, ESPN, WEBE 108, National Geographic Film and Television, and numerous independent film production companies.

vpa_ctc_art3Studio Arts
Studio internships are for students who have completed at least three studio courses and whose academic work has prepared them for professional work related to the major. An internship allows you to gain hands-on experience in fields related to Studio Art through supervised work for artists, in galleries or museums. Internships require faculty supervision and are developed by each student in consultation with the supervising professor.

Recent majors have interned with New York artist Petah Coyne, nationally-known artist Robert Cottingham, The Brooke Alexander Gallery in New York, The Whitney Museum Annex, The Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery on campus.

When people find out I majored in art and minored in math they just can't seem to resist telling me how weird they think that is. And then they find out I'm in graduate school for software engineering and they just don't know what to say. This happened so many times that I even included it in my personal statement for my graduate school application, to be able explain how not weird this was. It actually makes perfect sense, and my Fairfield education helped me realize that this was a perfectly logical, natural next step because of their dedication to being interdisciplinary and focusing on cura personalis. Luckily I was applying to Fairfield again and they already understood. 
- Melanie Rice; Art History major, math minor; graduate student, software engineering, Fairfield University

Every year, theatre students apply for four competitive scholarships to serve as production interns for Theatre Fairfield. Internships are given in Business, Marketing, Public Relations, and Technical Theatre to assist the various faculty and guest artists in those areas. If you serve as a production intern, you'll gain invaluable professional experience in running a theatre operation and this will serve you well when applying for outside internships and paying jobs (with health benefits) in the professional theatre. All students may apply for these scholarships once they are enrolled in the Theatre Program; we don't accept applications from incoming freshmen.

vpa_ctc_caryatidIn addition to the production interns listed above, we offer internships in all facets of creating theatre, from stage management to design to managing our costume shop. Students eligible for Federal Work-Study Grants frequently combine the internships with their work-study positions. The faculty will be happy to work you to create a new internship with Theatre Fairfield. We also strongly support students applying for internships at producing theatres throughout the U.S. and the world.

Department Awards
Every winter, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts awards grants to students who propose an exciting and well thought-out independent project, performance, study abroad experience or unpaid internship. Gain experience in entering such a competition and learn how to effectively package and present your work-and yourself. Non-seniors are often singled out for their great work.

Keep Dreaming! Attend "Get a Gig" Meetings
What is your "dream job" after graduation? What are you passionate about? Talk to professionals in the field, alumni, faculty advisors and other mentors. How can you use your remaining time at Fairfield to prepare for it through class work, internships, volunteer activities, summer jobs, leadership positions with clubs and organizations, and other relevant out of class experiences? Learn how to prepare for job-hunting, interviews and networking events. See department chair for details.

Start Researching Graduate Schools and Other Post Graduation Options
Talk to Visual and Performing Arts professors about possible graduate school work in Visual and Performing Arts ... or scholarships like a Fulbright Fellowship ... or volunteer experiences such as Teach for America, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps or City Year.

Line Up References
Look for 3+ professors in Visual and Performing Arts and elsewhere who might serve as professional references for you. Discuss your future plans with them and ask for guidance. Stay in touch so they can speak about your successes in an informed way.

vpa_ctc_class2Attend "Life After Fairfield" Alumni Panels
Attend a night of discussions with Fairfield alumni who have graduated from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. Students will have the opportunity to discuss how graduates are using their arts knowledge in their chosen professions as well as ask alumni what they wish they had done in their undergraduate careers to better prepare them for the outside world. This provides great networking opportunities for students as well as valuable insight into future career opportunities.

Major/Minor Events
After attending Visual and Performing Arts Major/Minor events, talk to professors and students about how to get the most out of the major or how to combine majors and minors to create a specialized program catered to your interests and career goals.


That's just the start. Take a look at this career information from other University offices that we think is also valuable to Visual and Performing Arts majors.


Visual and Performing Arts career activities by class year

Freshman Year | Sophomore Year | Junior Year | Senior Year

About Us →

Admission & Aid →

Academics →

Life at Fairfield →

Parents & Families →

Alumni & Friends →

Athletics →