Last summer, the ICA and VCUarts Department of Sculpture + Extended Media jointly hosted four high school interns from area schools participating in the Cochrane Summer Economic Institute. The interns were tasked with conducting research on local arts programming for teens and providing recommendations for the creation of teen programs at both the ICA and Sculpture + Extended Media.

Rahim Hassan, one of the four interns and a Clover Hill High School senior, discusses his experience and takeaways from participating in this unique summer internship experience.

Listen as Rahim reflects on what the ICA could offer teens and read more of his Q&A with education assistant Alexander Crawford.

AC: What opportunities do you think the ICA can offer teens?

RH: The ICA’s teen programs will be more than a safe space for teens to meet and talk about important topics. Through offerings like a teen council and other leadership opportunities, teens can learn skills like public speaking, organization, teamwork and problem-solving. At the end of the summer internship my fellow interns and I suggested that a teen council be formed, one that would be responsible for creating innovative programs for fellow teens. This council would be an important voice in the institution that would make sure that programs for teens are developed by teens.

AC: What was the most rewarding aspect of your internship?

RH: Even though my colleagues and I were just teenagers in our first internships, it was really rewarding to see that our findings were taken seriously and actually provided important information to the ICA and Richmond arts community. When we gave our final presentation, people in attendance were interested in our findings and had questions about our research and our opinions. It really gave meaning to why we were researching teen programs. The work we did is giving back to something that is going to be great for the Richmond community.

AC: How are you going to carry this experience with you in the future?

RH: I plan on going to college and majoring in economics with a possible future career in business or government. I’m interested in the problem solving and critical thinking that goes into working in the business world, and am drawn to government because of the ability to help people on a large scale. While I don’t see myself working directly in the arts, I have definitely found an interest in art and the arts community that I didn’t have before. Since interning at the ICA, I have traveled and visited art museums because of this new interest. You’ll definitely see me at the ICA opening!

AC: Any final thoughts you want to share about your experience?

RH: This was a great experience…not only working for the ICA but being able to see what is happening while it’s being formed. It’s already something amazing. I think anyone who has the opportunity to intern or visit once it’s open should definitely do so. There is amazing work going on both behind the scenes and for the community. Once the ICA opens people should get involved in any way they can.

For more information about the 2016 summer teen internship program, read the project summary by VCU’s Division of Community Engagement.