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Arts Internship

Host organizations: The application for the 2020 program will open in January 2020.

Interns: The application for prospective interns will open in March 2020.

Join our mailing list to receive periodic updates about the Arts Internship Program, including application annoucements.

The Arts Internship Program is a paid summer internship program that provides high school students with practical job experience in arts-related positions. Interns explore the arts in an in-depth and applicable way while also gaining 21st century job skills. For many students, these internships serve as their first paid job experience. Internships range from 40 to 400 hours between May and August and start at a minimum of $9.00 per hour.

Organizations are responsible for interviewing and hiring interns, setting intern schedules, and providing oversight and management of selected interns. In turn, MPS provides funding for intern wages and benefits, transportation (in the form of unlimited M-Cards for the duration of the internship), as well as job-related training and career exploration.


Student interns work closely with a supervisor/mentor during their internship to meet the following objectives:

  • Become more prepared for future work experience
  • Gain confidence in applying for future jobs, internships, etc.
  • Learn new skills in the focus area of their internship
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the work that goes into completing a work of art or implementing a program
  • Build a professional network of mentors that will support them in achieving their future goals


Organizations must:

  • Be currently funded via the MPS Partnership for the Arts & Humanities or have been funded via the MPS Partnership for the Arts & Humanities in the past, and/or have participated in the MPS Arts Internship program in the past
  • Be able to provide an internship opportunity that is at least a total of 40 hours between May and August with a minimum of 75% of those hours being in direct contact with art media and/or training (a maximum of 15% of hours are allowable for other administrative duties), unless your internship is intentionally planned around arts administration or arts education
  • Be able to provide a supervisor/mentor with youth-development experience for all hired interns
  • Be able to send supervisor(s) to mandatory informational sessions/trainings, including:
  1. a supervisor informational session/orientation prior to the start of the internship period 
  2. the first intern training session (supervisors and interns attend together)
  3. the final showcase (supervisors and interns attend together; parent(s)/guardian(s) are invited to attend, as well)

Students must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age (unless the hiring organization indicates that the position is open to students who are 15 years of age or older)
  • Be a high school equivalent student
  • Be a resident of the City of Milwaukee OR currently enrolled in a MPS high school
  • It is preferred, but not required, that individuals qualify for free or reduced school lunch.

Application Process


  • Complete a proposal detailing the program/project the intern or interns will support, the length/number of hours of the internship, how the organization/supervisor will support the intern(s) with career goals, a proposed budget, etc.
  • MPS staff will review and score proposals and notify partners within one week whether or not they have been approved for funding. MPS may request a revised proposal, including a revised budget and/or revised position descriptions before entering into a contractual agreement with any partner organization.
  • Once proposals are finalized and contracts are executed, MPS will release an internship application for prospective interns. MPS will post this application along with descriptions of available internships on the Milwaukee Recreation website and with the Milwaukee Public Libraries. Partner organizations are strongly encouraged to distribute the application/position descriptions through their own channels, as well,
  • Prospective interns will complete an application and submit it, along with a letter of interest and a list of 1-3 professional references to the organizations they are interested in. Organizations are responsible for interviewing and selecting interns. All HR-related requirements are the responsibility of the host organization.


  • Read the position descriptions (available in late March) to identify which opportunities are of interest.
  • Contact the organization(s) to find out if they require additional application materials (beyond what is listed below). Contact information is listed with each position description.
  • Complete and send the following application materials to the organization(s) you are interested in working with:
    • MPS Arts Internship Student Application Form (available in late March). 
    • A letter of interest stating why you want the internship and what you have to offer the organization.
    • A list of 1-3 professional references (teacher, mentor coach, etc.; not family members or friends).
    • Any other information requested by the organization.
  • If an organization is interested in you, they will contact you directly to set up an interview.


Host Organizations


Check back in March for the 2020 application and a list of available positions.


Phone: 414-475-8508

April Heding 
Supervisor - Partnership for the Arts & Humanities

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