Dan Flavin Installation at Richmond Hall, The Menil Collection, Houston, photo by J. Griffis Smith/TxDOT


Internships are a key component of Texans for the Arts’ work both to extend our reach and capacity and to afford learning opportunities for students particularly interested in learning how to develop and galvanize community support for the arts. Through a variety of projects, interns will gain an understanding of non-profit arts administration and advocacy and will learn skills in community outreach, event coordinating, development, and public policy.

Because of the timing of the Texas Legislature (140 days every two years, odd numbered years), the cycle of activities engaging interns will vary between even and odd numbered years.

Texans for the Arts’ interns will report to Executive Director Ann Graham. While Texans for the Arts is based in Austin, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all work is conducted online through Zoom and phone, so long-distance applicants will be considered.

Time Commitment: 10-15+ hours per week (very flexible around interns schedule)

Responsibilities are subject to change based on the needs of the organization and whether the Texas Legislature is in session, but may include assisting with:

  • Planning, executing, and evaluating Texas Arts Advocacy Day, an Austin-based day-long event that mobilizes community members to advocate for the arts in their districts. (This event only takes place in odd-numbered years during the Texas legislative session.) In addition to planning and implementation, interns will assist with setting up legislative office visits for participants.
  • Updating and evaluating the Arts Advocacy Challenge, an initiative that equips new arts advocates with the tools to begin sustained advocacy efforts at the local level with a particular focus on the “interim” between the legislative sessions.
  • Scheduling legislative visits for Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Action Summit held every March in Washington, D.C., and preparing resource materials for the Texas delegation. This yearly event brings the nation’s arts advocates together to receive arts advocacy training and meet with their federal elected officials and staffers on Capitol Hill and make a strong case for investing public resources in the arts.
  • Preparing materials for the Texans for the Arts Foundation’s Arts Funding & Leadership Development workshops. These workshops take place across Texas and train citizen-advocates on how to build relationships with their legislators and sustain arts advocacy efforts in their communities.
  • Researching information for advocacy materials and resources, which may include information about Texas cultural districts, the economic impact of the arts, campaign finance reports, and current legislation.
  • Updating Texans for the Arts’ Community Arts Advocacy Toolkit, an online resource that helps arts advocates navigate the Texas political system, build relationships with their elected officials and support the arts on a variety of levels.
  • Updating Texans for the Arts’ social media platforms and website.
  • Taking minutes for meetings and conference calls with the Texans for the Arts’ Board of Directors.
  • Conducting research and organizing and updating information about members, legislative districts, and other relevant subject areas.
  • Other administrative duties as needed.

Recommended Interests and Qualifications:

  • Passion for the arts and a community’s access to the arts and culture.
  • Pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in the fields of Public Policy, Arts Administration, Fine Arts, Political Science, and/or Government Relations.
  • Familiarity with and/or interest in local, state, and federal politics.
  • Familiarity with social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter) and basic web content development (ideally Nationbuilder).
  • Excellent verbal and written communication.
  • Proficiency in Google Drive applications and Excel.
  • Reliable, communicative and provide a fresh perspective, organized
  • Possess a positive attitude and an ability to problem-solve.
  • Must be able to lift and move up to 20 pounds, and in the case of special events, have the ability to stand or sit for extended periods of time. It is preferred that the intern have a valid Texas Driver’s License.

Interested in being an intern with Texans for the Arts?

  • Submit a letter of interest speaking to coursework, experience, or special interests and skills related to the position and what you hope to gain from this internship.
  • Send resume to [email protected]
  • Provide references upon request.

Thank you for your interest in being a part of the Texans for the Arts team!

Questions? Please write to [email protected] and thank you!

Recent Interns


Vivian Gonzalez

Intern, Spring 2021 | Texans for the Arts

BA & BS, The University of Texas at Austin

Vivian Gonzalez is a senior at The University of Texas at Austin currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance Honors, a Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communications, and a minor in Arts Administration. As a Latina actress and arts leader from the U.S.-Mexico border, Vivian has developed a passion for arts equity and accessibility. She was previously the Campus and Community Engagement Student Assistant at Texas Performing Arts and an Education Workshop Facilitator for the 2019 Touring Theatre for Young Audiences Production of Ramon Esquivel’s Hero Twins: The Blood Race in partnership with Texas Performing Arts and Austin’s Paramount Theatre. This year, she is serving as the PR + Marketing Co-Chair at The Cohen New Works Festival and a Facilitator with UT’s Latinx Theatre Initiative in addition to being a Spring Intern with Texans for the Arts. 

As an intern, Vivian is excited to transform into a trailblazing arts leader and bring the immeasurable lessons she will gain at Texans for the Arts back to South Texas. This Spring, she hopes to learn more about how to utilize online engagement as the arts community continues to navigate the global pandemic. Vivian expects to graduate in December 2021 and pursue a career in Arts Administration to keep creating artistic spaces open and accessible to all.


Kelsee Avery

Intern, Spring 2021 | Texans for the Arts

BFA, DePaul University

Kelsee Avery is currently in her senior year of the BFA Theatre Management program at DePaul University. Upon graduating, she will begin a Master's program in Arts and Cultural Policy, helping her pursue her passion for making art accessible and equitable for all. In the past, she has had the privilege to hold internships with the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group, Arts Alliance Illinois, and U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, which have helped shape her love of arts advocacy and policy. In her free time, she works on her podcast, The State of the Arts, and enjoys traveling whenever she can. Kelsee is thrilled to be a part of the Texans for the Arts team, and cannot wait to uplift and support the Texas arts community in all ways possible.



Rachel Phillips

Intern, Spring 2021 | Texans for the Arts

MFA, Texas Tech University

 Rachel Phillips is currently in her first year as an MFA Arts Administration candidate at Texas Tech   University, where she also serves as a teaching and research assistant. Her love of the arts began as a   small child when she started in dance class and continued throughout her life as she also got involved with music and theatre. In May 2018, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre along with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri. During her time in her undergraduate program, she worked for numerous publications as a writer and editor as well as for the “We Always Swing” Jazz   Series as a PR intern and Christian Youth Theater Kansas City as a summer camp administrative assistant. After graduating, she joined Christian Youth Theater Kansas City again as communications assistant and summer camp coordinator. She also serves on the board of directors for Leawood Stage Company and teaches youth theatre classes. She believes that arts advocacy is an important part of our job as arts workers regardless of what role we are in and looks forward to growing as both an advocate and administrator as she works with Texans for the Arts.


Emma Rose Gudewicz

Intern, Spring 2021 | Texans for the Arts

MA, Colorado State University

Emma Rose Gudewicz Emma Rose Gudewicz is a fiber artist, who is working on her Master’s degree in Arts Leadership and Cultural Management through the LEAP program at Colorado State University. She received her BFA in Fiber material studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2019. As an undergraduate student, she worked with middle school art summer camps through SAIC’s continuing studies department sparking her interest in art advocacy. Emma Rose is excited to learn how TFA advocates for the arts and the role they play is critical to the state.  




Emily Spahrmann

Intern, Fall 2020 | Texans for the Arts

BS, American University

Emily Spahrmann is a senior at American University in Washington, DC, currently pursuing her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business & Entertainment. A New York native, she was a dance student at Dance for Joy ballet studio in Mohegan Lake for twelve years, a violist in her school’s orchestra from elementary through high school, and an avid supporter of musical theatre. After moving to Georgetown, Texas in her first semester of college, Emily realized what a critical role the arts had played in her life. The studio and the theater were the places she felt most at home and valued in, the places where she felt she could contribute to something larger than herself. It is with that same feeling that brings her to Texans for the Arts, where she hopes to learn about arts advocacy and administration while also teaching others to believe in the healing power that the arts can have on the soul and on the larger community.



Lutie Rodriguez

Intern, Summer 2020 | Texans for the Arts Foundation

MAM, Carnegie Mellon University

Lutie Rodriguez is currently a Master of Arts Management student at Carnegie Mellon University. She graduated in May 2019 from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in Music, receiving honors for her thesis about women composers. While at TCU, she played cello in the TCU Symphony Orchestra and was active in the writing department, winning awards for her poetry and creative nonfiction pieces. Because of her passion for the arts in her own life, she hopes to use arts management to have the same impact on communities.

In her first year of her Master of Arts Management degree, Lutie has interned in the archives at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and published research about data privacy within arts organizations for Arts Management and Technology Laboratory. Having family roots in Texas and a love for the state’s arts and culture scene from her years in college, Lutie is excited to help TFAF advocate for the arts. This summer, she hopes to learn more about how policy and the arts intersect at the state level through helping TFAF with its communications.



Zoe Settle

Intern, Summer 2020- Fall 2021| Texans for the Arts

MA, Colorado State University

Zoe Settle is an actress and teaching artist currently based in Dallas, who is working on her Masters degree in Arts Leadership and Cultural Management through the LEAP program at Colorado State University. She received her BFA in Acting from Oklahoma City University with minors in Directing and Design & Production. In addition to pursuing her passion for performing, Zoe has the privilege to teach art and theater to students all around the DFW area. After completing her Masters, she hopes to expand upon her work teaching in order to increase the availability of arts education to all. Zoe is excited to spend her summer learning more about arts advocacy, and the critical role that the arts play across Texas.




Mary Shannon Tompson

Intern, Summer 2020 | Texans for the Arts

BSFS, Georgetown University

“I am so excited to work with Texans for the Arts because I have always had a deep appreciation for the arts community of Houston, where I grew up. I hope that through my work this summer I will learn more about the strength, diversity, and tenacity of arts communities in Texas, especially during the Covid-19 crisis, when I believe the arts will be more important than ever in revealing our common humanity.”

Mary Shannon Tompson is a junior at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in the Foreign Service, majoring in Culture & Politics and minoring in Art History. Going to school in the nation’s capital has only fueled her passion for political advocacy, and she hopes to gain the knowledge and skills to advocate for the arts through her work with Texans for the Arts. Mary Shannon is the resident illustrator for Georgetown’s feminist magazine “Bossier,” a volunteer captain for the university’s women-led conference “Own It,” and a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She believes the arts to be essential to the state of Texas, not only as a draw for tourists visiting the state but also as a space for the incredible diversity of Texas to be showcased and empowered.



Shawn Ward

Intern, Summer 2020- Fall 2021| Texans for the Arts

MFA, Texas Tech University

“In Spring 2020 I took a class in arts advocacy, which introduced me to the topic and Texans for the Arts.  My goal as an arts administrator is to facilitate and support the work of artists and connect them to audiences.  I look forward to learning how advocacy can play an integral part in that goal and how we can use it to strengthen our local communities.”

Shawn Ward is an MFA Arts Administration candidate at Texas Tech University.  He has been heavily involved in theatre, music, and dance most of his life, and had technical and performing positions in a variety of productions.  In 2019 he graduated from California State University, Stanislaus with a BA Theatre Arts and a BS in Business Administration.  While in undergrad, he worked as an Assistant Front of House Manager at the Gallo Center for the Arts, volunteered as Treasurer for the university's Theatre Club, and began serving on the board for LightBox Theatre Company.  Shawn currently works on the box office and marketing teams for the TTU School of Theatre and Dance.  As a recent transplant to Texas, he looks forward to working with Texans for the Arts to learn about arts and culture in the state.



Anastasia Whittemore

Intern, Spring-Summer 2020 | Texans for the Arts

BA, University of Texas at Dallas

Anastasia Whittemore is a rising sophomore at the University of Texas at Dallas, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics on the Pre-Law track. She was born in Sevastopol, Crimea and graduated from the Woodlands High School, where she was a member of both its theater and choir departments. Currently, she is the President of the Roosevelt Network at UTD, which is a public policy think tank that advocates for change in the larger Dallas and Texas region, a UTD Student Ambassador serving on the Internal Affairs Committee, and a member of Moot Court. She was also selected to conduct research for the Financialization Incubator through the Roosevelt Network earlier this year, which introduced her to the importance of advocacy and coalition building.

This experience has helped her explore the intersection between accessibility to education and the arts. She is excited to continue interning with Texans for the Art in the summer. This internship has not only allowed Anastasia to develop and improve her research skills and advocacy tactics but also gain a renewed appreciation for the role the arts play in uniting communities across Texas.



Aiza Shah

Intern, Spring-Summer 2020 | Texans for the Arts

BA, University of Texas at Dallas

Aiza Shah is a student at the University of Texas at Dallas studying Sociology, with a strong interest in Religion. Born in Galveston, she has lived in Texas her entire life. She has been playing the violin for seven years and enjoys playing in quartets around her hometown of The Woodlands. While interning with Texans for the Arts, she spent much of her time volunteering with the Plano Art Association, allowing her to see first-hand the impact TFAF has on arts communities across Texas. She is very thankful for the opportunities this internship has provided and the skills it has helped her develop. From conducting research on communities across Texas to helping develop community outreach initiatives, her experience with Texans for the Arts will be one she never forgets.



Lizbeth L. Acosta

Intern, Fall 2019-Spring 2020 | Texans for the Arts

MPA, University of North Texas

Lizbeth L. Acosta is currently a Master of Public Administration candidate at the University of North Texas. She received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts with a concentration in painting from Texas Woman's University. She is Vice President of the Public Administration Student Association (PASA) and is involved with UNT's Graduate Student Council as Senator for the College of Health and Public Service. She also volunteers her time to Colaborativo DFW (C19 DFW) offering resources in Spanish to the Latino community in the Dallas Fort Worth area who struggle addressing the current COVID-19 pandemic.

TFA has solidified her interest in advocating for the arts and hopes to continue her education to pursue a law degree. As a future public servant, she hopes to be a valuable resource locally to residents, discuss why the arts matter, increase voter turnout, and be the liaison for underrepresented groups at the state and national level. She hopes to raise awareness on resources available to them and address diversity that is needed in leadership. 



Gabriela Kane

Intern, Spring 2019 | Texans for the Arts

MA, UT Austin

"My internship with Texans for the Arts taught me essential advocacy skills that gave me the confidence to engage with legislators at the state and national level. These experiences opened my eyes to the importance of grassroots work for communities everywhere."

Gabriela Kane is an MA Candidate in Latin American Studies at UT Austin. She previously attended Texas A&M University where she graduated with a BA in Spanish and International Studies with a concentration in Arts and Culture. In Historic Downtown Bryan, she managed the SEAD Gallery as an arts-based community development initiative of Advent GX. Through her graduate studies, Gabriela conducted field research in Chile to understand cultural policies enacted by the new Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage regarding the representation and participation of indigenous artists. As a student in the Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship Portfolio Program, she was introduced to the work of Texans for the Arts. She is appreciative for the opportunity to have been an intern during the 86th Legislative Session. Gabriela participated in Texas Arts Advocacy Day, the National Arts Action Summit in Washington, DC, and the Arts Vote Dallas initiative.



Maya Mikelson

Intern, Spring 2019 - Present | Texans for the Arts

Liberal Arts and Science Academy

Maya Mickelson will be a senior in high school (2020) at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, Texas. She competes with her school’s debate team, volunteers for candidates running for office by phone banking, canvassing and texting voters and is the social media coordinator for her precinct. While she hasn’t done advocacy in the past, she is interested in helping increase access to the creativity that the arts can provide. She believes arts funding makes Texas a more interesting place to visit, can increase tourism and how funding can benefit everyone, even those who aren't artists. Maya is very excited to be working with Texans for the Arts to support funding for the arts and advocacy across Texas. She has learned a lot and appreciates the opportunities that this internship provided such as meeting with state legislators, helping with Arts Advocacy Day, meeting others who love the arts and learning about the arts in Texas.



Ally Tufenkjian

Intern, Spring 2018 | Texans for the Arts

MFA, UT Austin

"Working with Texans for the Arts helped me realize that arts advocacy really starts with one person at a time and that there are many ways to stay active and engaged. I now have a new set of tools to use in my work as an arts administrator and educator where I aim to empower and support communities in sustained advocacy efforts."

Ally Tufenkjian is an MFA Candidate in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities. She holds a BA in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Theatre and Psychology from The New School University. While in New York, she taught for arts-based and non-profit organizations including the Community-Word Project, Green Generations and the CUNY Creative Arts Team. She was the program manager for HealthClass2.0, a wellness non-profit working in low-income public schools. Ally was a core company member and producer for Infinite Variety Productions, a non-profit theatre company that produces plays and educational experiences surrounding women's history. In her graduate studies, Ally’s research and practice centers youth agency in arts-based professional learning contexts and Theatre for Young Audiences with and for young people. Ally is pursuing the Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship Portfolio Program to advocate for arts legislation in partnership with communities. She is thrilled to have worked with Texans for the Arts to support local, grassroots arts advocacy across Texas.



Roma Venkateswaran

Intern, Spring 2018 | Texans for the Arts

BA, UT Dallas

"The advocacy skills I learned and empowerment I felt during my internship with Texans for the Arts will continue with me throughout my life. No matter your policy interests, the connections and training that an internship with Texans for the Arts provides are invaluable skills in every field."

Roma Venkateswaran is a student at the University of Texas at Dallas studying Public Policy and Visual and Performing Arts with a Theatre concentration. She went to high school in Rockville, Maryland, and has worked with a variety of theatre companies in the area, including holding a tenured position on the Board of Directors of Wildwood Summer Theatre. In college, she has worked extensively with Theatre UTD, and she volunteers teaching students Hindi and religious studies at Chinmaya Mission. Her internship with Texans for the Arts has been her first foray in arts advocacy, and she has been excited to find the intersection between the arts and policy. She is very grateful for the opportunities this internship has provided, such as helping plan major events, from National Arts Advocacy Day to the Texas Arts Advocacy Interim Challenge, meeting with her state legislators in Washington, DC, and attending conferences and workshops with leaders in the arts in the Dallas area.

University Courses

Texans for the Arts is proud to meet with university classes across Texas to discuss arts advocacy.  Some of the courses we have worked with are below.


Fall 2018 - University of Texas, Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs, "What Is A Smart City?" CRP386
Fall 2013, 2014, 2015 - University of Texas, Austin, McComb's School of Business, MIS 324, Business Systems Development

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