Staples student spends summer interning at The Met


Photo contributed by Sabrina Paris ’23

Sabrina Paris ’23 (right) at her internship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

For four weeks every day, Sabrina Paris ’23 walked up the steps of The Metropolitan Museum of Art to meet with professional artists, work in different exhibitions and learn about the significance of the art.

Paris participated in the The Met High School Summer Internship Program for four weeks from July 11 to Aug. 12, 2022, as she was one of the 20 interns selected from over 1,000 applicants to be a part of The Met High School Internship Program. As an intern, Paris worked with a variety of professionals of diverse fields and assisted them with the programs they were running based on a special exhibit the museum was featuring. In her time there, Paris created bonds with her fellow interns and mentors, along with curating an appreciation for having the human “urge to create”.

During the first couple weeks of the internship, Paris worked in an Afro-Futurism Period Room. 

[One of the exhibition’s artists and I] would take [teenagers] to different exhibits–such as Modern art or European art or sculptures–and […]teach them about a specific motif or a specific symbol, then we would take them back into a room and do a collage with the specific symbols that they drew or that they found.

— Sabrina Paris '23

Whilst exploring The American Wing of The Met before her shift as an intern, Paris admired the Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze.

The latter half of her internship was spent working in the Islamic Art department, where she assisted one of the museum fellows with his PHD for an application he designed that is able to translate ancient Arabic with augmented reality. 

“Basically what my role was, was helping him present the APP helping to survey people and their experiences with the APP at the end and like what it really meant,” Paris said. 

Paris also had the opportunity to explore the different exhibitions The Met offered early in the morning before her shifts started.

“I would tour a section a day,” Paris said. “I started in Near Eastern, then I went to European paintings, then I went to Modern, then I went to Chinese.”

According to Paris, during her time at The Met this summer, she got inspiration from the cultures she was learning about and the people around her for her own art. She realized that it is not unique for her to want to create art that is inspired by the life around her, but rather that humans have been inspired by their lives to create art for hundreds of years.

“I think it’s really incredible how we as humans have an urge to create,” Paris said. “Being in the museum has really taught me that every single human, going back to 500 B.C., has wanted to create things. Take down the nature around them and the people around them and paint something.” 

The Met features Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat (obverse: The Potato Peeler) as photographed by Paris.

Paris learned about the history of the relationship between humans and the desire to create by touring the different exhibits at The Met. Despite her internship lasting only four weeks, Paris was able to tour the entire museum. She even had the chance to view the art privately, before The Met exposed it to the public.

“Being able to experience the art when there was no one else there was very incredible,” Paris said.

As she reflected on her internship, Paris not only described her unique experience with the art incredible, but The Met’s environment as a whole too. She found that “learning from everybody around [her] and learning from the art around [her]” was a “transformative experience.”