Monthly Archives: May 2012

Internships are not jobs!

Dear “Design Company Upper Westside”: You should read the Department of Labor’s six-point guideline to what qualifies as an internship. As a refresher to all, here they are below (please compare and contrast to the list of required qualifications this posting demands):

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.


Design Studio seeking part-time Intern for immediate start
Transportation and lunch stipend provided.

Applicant will assist in various aspects of the organization’s day-to-day operation, and provide general administrative and/or creative support.
Daily tasks may include  data entry, event planning, social media marketing, help with design and marketing projects, website maintenance, client care and management, some research, assisting at events.

Requirements-College students or recent graduates with concentrations in ARTS ADMINISTRATION and or/MARKETING

Adobe CS5 Photoshop
Microsoft Office
- Mac platform
Social Media
Computer savvy
organized, efficient, Easy-going
strong work ethic
Good communication skills
Ability to multi-task
Responsible, Reliable
Working knowledge of Word Press and/or Filemaker Pro a big plus.

This is a wonderful opportunity for someone who would like to work in a pleasing environment doing a variety of tasks.  Must be organized and good at multi-tasking.
Potential of leading to paid position in the fall.
We are also happy to complete any paperwork and referrals you might need to get school credit.
Part-time, 15-20 hrs per week.
We are requesting a commitment of at least 2 days per week for a minimum three-month period. Please include a short paragraph about why you are interested  and qualified for the position, your resume, and a link to your work. Please address your experience in the computer programs listed above.  Send applications to

Candidates who do not provide a cover letter, resume and portfolio will not be considered. If you have any questions, please call 212-645-3553.


“Everyone has to pay their dues”

In this section, we bring you some statements that illustrate the main arguments in support of the practice of unpaid internships. Have one of your own? email us at intern.labor.rights(at)gmail(dot)com. We certainly have counter arguments for every single one of the statements below (check out the “Against” section!), but for the sake of a balanced discussion, we thought we’d bring you a variety of opinions.

  • “If every business was forced to pay its interns the minimum wage, a lot of businesses would simply do away with internships. So, instead of putting money in the pockets of college students, your plan would deny them both the money AND the experience (and contacts) that could land them a permanent job after graduation. How is that a better deal??” (The Atlantic, May 10, 2012. From a comment by uponfurtherreview)
  • Internships were once called apprenticeships. They allowed (mostly) young men to spend time learning a trade by paying the company with a time of free labor. It was a winner because after the apprenticeship men could look forward to a lifetime of higher pay by becoming a skilled tradesman. (The Atlantic, “In Defense…” May 10, 2012)
  • “Having good references, contacts and experience is worth far more in the long run than the more or less minimum wage that people still in school can hope to earn, which is why people who can opt for internships.” (The Atlantic, May 10, 2012. From a comment byTimC255)
  • “Maybe internships are bad for social mobility and maybe that cost makes them on net bad for society, but internships are clearly in the interest of those who take them otherwise they wouldn’t be doing so.” (The Atlantic, May 10, 2012. From a comment by TimC255)
  • No one forces the unpaid intern to take the job.

And this is educational…how?

Hire an art handler and a registrar for your business instead of exploited unpaid workers!! If you can’t afford to compensate your staff, you should either do it yourself, or re-work your business plan. To quote from the Department of Labor’s guidelines for unpaid internships in for-profit businesses: “The intern does not displace regular employees.”

Claire Oliver Gallery
(New York NY)

Claire Oliver Gallery is a ground level gallery located at 513 West 26th Street, NYC. Our program balances conceptual concern with a dedication to physical process and an intensity of detail. The Gallery is committed to long term relationships with our core group of important, internationally recognized artists.

We are currently offering two internship positions for the summer season. Both positions will require a commitment of two days a week for which a modest stipend will be offered. Positions to start immediately. Please be sure to indicate the position for which you are applying.

Internship #1: Preparator

Responsibilities include: Assisting in the wrapping and packing of artworks for shipment, sale, and storage, installation and de-installation of the Gallery’s exhibitions, and assisting carpenters with crate and wall fabrication and heavy-duty gallery maintenance.

The ideal candidate will have art handling and general carpentry skills as well as the ability to work independently and industriously. Along with a basic knowledge of and appreciation for art and art handling, he or she will be organized, detail-oriented, punctual, and professional in appearance and demeanor.

To apply, please send a cover letter and copy of your resume to with subject line “Preparator.”

Internship # 2: Registrar

Responsibilities include: performing general administrative work, online research, and micro-website updates; maintaining inventory information on artwork coming into and leaving the gallery and updating database and website accordingly; data-entry to update contact information for our client mailing list; and administrating and updating the Gallery’s social media.

The ideal candidate will have excellent oral, interpersonal, and written communication skills as well as an ability to work independently and industriously. Along with a basic knowledge of database entry, he or she will be familiar with website administration, social media, and Photoshop. He or she will be organized, detail-oriented, punctual, and professional in appearance and demeanor. Applicants should be able to work on multiple projects simultaneously with an ability to prioritize and remain calm under stress.

To apply, please send a cover letter and copy of your resume to with subject line “Registrar.”

Both internships may lead to a position in the gallery.

via NYFA Interactive – New York Foundation for the Arts.

Do everything our non-existant staff would do!

This unpaid internships should really read: Commercial gallery seeking art handler, designer, receptionist, personal assistant, web editor, and database manager. Intern, could you run my business for me?

Summer Internship, Unpaid

Joe Sheftel Gallery

(New York NY)

Our gallery is seeking a motivated, reliable, and detail oriented intern to provide support to the close-knit staff in all aspects of gallery operations during the summer season. Duties may include filing, mailing, researching, text and image editing, maintaining databases, wo/manning the front desk, running errands, general day-to-day administrative tasks, and special projects including help with monthly installation of art exhibitions. This position provides excellent exposure to the workings of a contemporary art gallery within the New York art world context. Gallery is located in the vibrant Lower East Side art community. A commitment of 3-4 days a week is desired. Weekends may be included in the standard work week.

Academic credit and coordination with educational institutions can be arranged.

The ideal candidate has a demonstrated interest in contemporary art, mac computer knowledge, pleasant disposition, and strong work ethic.

Ability to multi-task and follow-through with projects is a must.

Desirable skills include Photoshop, web editing/html, filemaker, and art handling abilities.

Please send cover letter, resume, and any other relevant material demonstrating qualifications/interest to:

Promising applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview.

A “Photoshop Intern”?!

hey artstar, internships are meant to educate the intern, not exploit the education they already have!

Photoshop Intern
(New York NY)

Our dynamic online contemporary art gallery is looking for a summer photoshop intern to join our team 2-3 days per week on the Lower East Side. Duties will include working with image files in photoshop to color correct and resize them as well as uploading images to our system. Familiarity working with install and interior shots, as well as light graphic design experience an asset.
The candidate must have a strong proficiency in Photoshop, Microsoft Office suite and Adobe. Enthusiasm for and familiarity with contemporary art an asset. We are happy to arrange for school credit. Please email cover letter and cv to

To the Editor of the New York Times, re “Sunday Dialogue: The Value of Internships”

To the Editor:
Re “Sunday Dialogue: The Value of Internships” (pSR2, May 20):

An internship’s ability, as Ilene Starger states, to “greatly expand one’s knowledge, experience, contact base and chances of future career success” isn’t impeded when it comes with a paycheck, just as the law requires.

By focusing so narrowly on how an internship can serve as a transition from school to career for a privileged few, anecdote-based arguments such as Ms. Starger’s fail to take a full measure of the effect this practice is having on the working lives of tens of thousands of workers, including non-interns, all while employers reap the rewards of free labor (an estimated $2 billion in unpaid wages per year). Furthermore, with unpaid internships now firmly established in the labor market and unemployment soaring, the looming presence of this pool of free labor puts downward pressure on the wages of paid employees and freelancers. The effects spread up the career ladder and across the economy, benefiting few and harming many.

Ms. Starger claims to feel empathy for college students entering this job market but offers no solutions, only oversimplified excuses for a practice that compounds their plight. Similarly, she offers no succor to those who cannot afford to work for free but seek the same opportunities, to those who must compete with interns for what once were paid positions, nor to those feeling their wages squeezed by the presence of unpaid workers in the labor market. And for those who don’t happen to luck into a big break through an internship (or three or five…), that they’ve given away their labor to profit someone else appears to be equally of no concern.

We are artists and art workers who have experienced firsthand the detrimental effects of this culture of free labor. And in this era of historic inequality, class divide, skyrocketing student debt and intractable unemployment, we call for an end to this opportunistic and exploitative practice: Pay your interns.

Intern Labor Rights, Arts & Labor
A working group founded in conjunction with the New York General Assembly for #occupywallstreet

“No one who believes in equal opportunity could support such a system.”

In this section, we bring you some statements that illustrate the main arguments against the practice of unpaid internships. Have one of your own? email us at intern.labor.rights(at)gmail(dot)com.

  • Only individuals with financial support can afford to take an unpaid internship, excluding low-income individuals. It “reinforces the culture of privilege and stunts class-mobility. “No one who believes in equal opportunity could support such a system.” (The Atlantic, May 10, 2012)
  • Unpaid internships contribute to unemployment by eliminating paid jobs.
  • Unpaid interns are not protected by basic worker protections, such as those against sexual harassment and racial discrimination; nor do they enjoy social security and unemployment benefits.
  • Unpaid internships create downward pressure on wages by forcing workers to compete with free labor
  • Unpaid internships undermine the dignity of work, by denying workers a measure of the value they provide their employers.
  • “not only do students pay internship credits…they pay for the skill to work for free” (The Atlantic, May 10, 2012)–>rather than having a company train them, they are using the skills they learned in college for the benefit of the company, without compensation.
  • Colleges require students do internships, which the students have to pay for in order to receive credit.  This often times leads to an increase in loans, and thus perpetuates the cycle of debt.
  • “When companies have a financial investment in someone, they are more inclined to gain a full return on that investment” (The Atlantic, May 10, 2012)–>if they’re not paying for the intern to work with them, they are often less inclined to give the intern proper attention and training.
  • If a friend pays thousands of dollars to take a photoshop or HTML class in college, employers are getting free labor to utilize that skill. If the company was instructing students in photoshop, I’d see the value. But those skills are required to get the internship in the first place. So what is the point of learning a skill when it is being used for nothing? Companies that otherwise would have to pay a worker for that technical ability can utilize it for free. So, not only do students pay internship credits, pay for housing, they pay for the skill to work for free. That’s wrong.
  • Unpaid internships lower wages for everyone—they devalue the cost of labor.
  • Most companies are looking for interns with some experience—the unpaid internship has replaced the entry-level position in the current economy.
  • Unpaid internships lower your sense of worth: “Unpaid [internships] only devalues the skills you *paid* for via a college education. How can you negotiate a salary if you have not had the chance to develop a sense of monetary worth? If no one is willing to pay you for your talents you will perceive your skills as worthless.” (The Atlantic, May 10, 2012)
  • Business owners and shareholders profit from the uncompensated labor of others.

“Must be attractive in your own way.”

An attractive superhero to perform unpaid labor?! Really, NYFA, you see no problem posting this?

Unpaid Full time Internship
(New York City NY)

Kreemart is seeking a superhero intern to begin immediately. Applicant will assist in various aspects of the organization’s day-to-day operation, and provide general administrative support. Come prepared wearing your superhero cape and take on the art world. Metrocard and daily lunch provided. Must be attractive in your own way. Please send a cover letter and resume to

Unpaid Interns pay the Employers of America $2 billion in free labor

In honor of May Day 2012, ILR created a giant check made out to the Employers of America for all the free labor unpaid interns in the U.S. Every year, unpaid interns save employers $2 billion in uncompensated work.