This is the second semester of the William and Mary in Washington program. Last semester focused somewhat predictably on government. The theme this semester is Washington and the Arts, under the instruction of Anne Rasmussen.
The 14 students who are participating in the Washington Semester are doing full time internships in a diverse number of venues. Two students are at the National Portrait Gallery and others are at Smithsonian Folkways, National Geographic Traveler, NPR All Things Considered, Slate Magazine, The Center for American Progress, The Choral Arts Society of Washington, the Wooly Mammoth Theatre, the National Gallery of Art, Red Dirt Studio, the Center for American Progress, The National Museum of American History, and the Hirshshorn Museum.
Students pursue three courses of academic study: the first is an independent study generated from their internship work, the second is a "regular" class called Music and Community in the Capitol and the third is our Friday Seminar in the City: Washington and the Arts.
Our semester thus far has been rich with guests and field trips. We have talked to a wide variety of experts at each of the institutions and we have visited on topics concerning arts patronage, policy, funding, and institutional history and structure; in addition, the presentation of various arts forms, outreach and education and a host of other issues connected to the creation, promotion and framing of national culture in the capital and the ways in which it reflects and includes (or not) local culture and American diversity.
Field Trips and Guests
Our field trips include the Kennedy, the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Theatre, the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Marine Band Library, and Red Dirt Studio. Our group has invited a number of guests including Katherine Preston, Kip Lornell, and Patrick Warfield, musicologists and specialists in American music, Jon Lohman, Virginia's State Folklorist, and Museum Studies expert Alan Wallach. We also have a session with Rick Reinhard planned that focuses on the role of Arts and Urban Planning and Revitalization and another with Mimi Flaherty from Wolftrap on the arts and state parks.
We invite you to have a look at our WEBLOG where we post our activities
and where students contribute essays on each of our events.
There are 60 college and university semester programs in Washington DC. Most of these offer internship experiences for students in the various branches of government and in other institutions that focus on government, policy, politics, and law. One of the reasons that W&M's program is unique is that the topic and the professor will vary each semester.
We are all extremely busy this semester, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that this semester is well worth the effort.