LA Opera establishes six-year paid internship
When most people think of interns, they think of enthusiastic college juniors and seniors experiencing the office environment for the first time before being thrust into the workforce. At LA Opera, we do hire college interns – but we also hire high school interns through an innovative new program meant to forge the next generation of diverse arts leaders: LA Opera Leadership Academy.
LA Opera Leadership Academy is not your ordinary internship.
Why? It can last six years.
That’s right, six years.
Each year, LA Opera chooses two rising juniors for the paid arts internship. Throughout the year, they spend three months in different departments, learning the ins-and-outs of a major arts organization. Committed interns are invited back year after year including through their college years, if they go to school locally, or over the summer if they head away for school.
This internship is unlike any other, because for the duration of the internship, students are immersed in an arts organization. These students will know about LA Opera, and be mentored by senior staff, in a way that most people don’t find until after they leave school and start their professional careers.
Maya Ordoñez and Robert Rivera have experience this LA Opera mentorship firsthand. They were the first students to be selected for this program and spent the entire 16/17 season working for LA Opera in the marketing, finance, and education departments.
Ordoñez learned of the program through her teacher David Metz, while Rivera participated in LA Opera’s summer Opera Camp for two years before applying.
When asked about their favorite part of the program, Ordoñez says, “It’s great to work in an office environment and experience opera at the same time. I also like working on the education events, because I love seeing how little kids and students are affected by opera. It’s life-changing for some of them.”
“They give us tasks and even if it’s a simple task they make us feel important,” adds Rivera. “I like the trust they give us.”
Because the interns rotate between many departments, LA Opera Leadership Academy also demonstrates the diverse set of careers you can have in the arts.
Ordoñez and Rivera are both ambitious students. While Ordoñez doesn’t yet know what she wants to study, she likes acting and stage management, and is looking forward to getting behind the scenes experience at LA Opera. Rivera, on the other hand, wants to be a lighting designer and is looking forward to networking with LA Opera’s tech team.
This fall, Ordoñez and Rivera will return, joined by two new interns, as the LA Opera Leadership Academy program enters its second year. By the time the LA Opera Leadership Academy students leave college, the hope is that they will have so much work experience that any arts organization – or any company for that matter – would be lucky to hire them.
To learn more about our education and community engagement programs, click here.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.