Submitted by Sarah Hansford, Teen Intern

Though ESMoA wasn’t my first job or internship of my high school career, I knew the first (and the last) day that it would be the most rewarding.

ESMoA has taught me invaluable workplace skills, like how to properly make French press coffee and to never celebrate a German’s birthday before their actual birthday. They have also taught me slightly more practical skills such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and how to make a play program with Word Doc. I have learned how to not freak out with emails to professionals,  not freak out during calls with professionals, and not freak out during meetings with professionals. Basically, how not to freak out and be a functioning almost adult.

I have said it before and I will probably never stop saying it: ESMoA and my ESMoA internships were a key part of my college acceptances. I wrote three of my college application short answer essays about ESMoA and included them in every other stressful personal essay.  When I first met my Admissions Counselor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, which is where I will attend this coming fall, he raved about the ESMoA internships and volunteering on my application and proved that it made a major difference. Whenever I talk to people, college representatives included, their eyebrows always seem to shoot up to hear about my extensive history with the institution, including a program that began as an idea on my first day as an Ambassador: The Teen Thing.

The Teen Thing is a strange title to call ESMoA’s new teen program, but it’s a name brought about by a conversation surrounding the desire for ambiguity in a system that forces teens into definiteness. A name that conveys a place to not worry about life paths and instead make art for ourselves and our community. A name that encompassed the ever expanding idea of what teens can do. A name that was a challenge and a solution. Despite the think pieces and Time magazine articles that say otherwise: teens are more than cellphones and shallow ideas. The Teen Thing created art every meeting and presented ten sculptures to the community – all unique and all our own.

Other contributions included STENCIL, a stencil art workshop for teens with artist Jorge ‘GORGS’ Ruano, which opened up ESMoA to teen artists and began the conversation about The Teen Thing. A Portfolio Review Day for Teens was also offered in October 2015 and included admission representatives from OTIS College of Art & Design, FIDM, CalArts, and Laguna College of Art & Design, and artists, Jorge Ruano and Vincent Alpino, who all came to review high schoolers’ visual art portfolios. The inclusion of working artists was continuously mentioned as positive since it was unique and insightful. My last major contributions to ESMoA were the coloring books for adults for TOUCH and PLAN. Through a process of tracing over photos of the artworks, inking the tracings, then scanning and digitally retouching them into simple line illustration pages. The coloring books opened my eyes to my own future. A future of going by an assignment, having deadlines, and working with clients. Honestly, I loved it. I saw myself as the illustrator I want to be one day and I found myself carrying out the job with pride in the final work.

Now that my internships are sadly over I know that ESMoA has made a lasting positive impact on me as a person, an artist, and an employee.

Sarah Hansford will be attending the Maryland Institute College of Art this Fall. During her time at ESMoA, Sarah spread the spark of creativity through her work on numerous education initiatives which include The Teen Thing and the “ESMoA Coloring Book for Adults” series. In addition to her internship, Sarah also enjoyed participating and co-captaining the El Segundo High School ComedySportz team and developing her love of the arts. 

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