About the Program
For the last 18 years, Meridian Gallery has employed hundreds of low-income, minority teens from all over San Francisco as part of its Meridian Interns Program (MIP). Our young interns, aged 14-17, meet everyday after school and throughout the summer to work as artists-in-training, learning to paint, draw, sculpt, carve, and create printed artworks in the gallery’s on-site studio. That’s right – they’re paid to make art! Taught by professional artist instructors (some of whom are former interns themselves), these teens gain invaluable work experience and professional skills within the setting of a non-profit, contemporary art gallery. But as Meridian Gallery faces the threat of eviction, the future of MIP is in jeopardy. Please help us keep this important program alive, and in turn, support the burgeoning young artist community of San Francisco.
MIP is not only a great part-time job for low-income teens (whose families often depend on them for their financial contributions), it's also an educational program that prepares them for future employment. MIP offers our young interns academic and career counseling as well as the opportunity to develop valuable social skills (critical thinking, literacy, verbal and visual communication, team work, discipline) and transferable job skills (use of computer graphics programs and desktop publishing tools, publication writing, gallery maintenance, installation of shows, and financial literacy). It is our goal to help these kids prepare for the future, and have fun doing it.
At the end of every term, the interns organize and install their own show at the Meridian Gallery so that they can share their creations with the world. (In fact, their latest exhibition, Toward a Natural World: Exploring Indigenous Cultures and Native Plants of the Coastal Bay Area, is on display until Friday, August 22. Come check it out!) They also produce an annual “zine,” or do-it-yourself magazine, which features all of their favorite artworks and commemorates social highlights from the year, including holiday celebrations and field trips to nearby art galleries, museums, and parks. The young interns are also very involved in local community work, beautifying San Francisco by restoring murals and planting gardens.
Shument Cheng, Miwok Roundhouse, 2014. This painting was made by one of our interns during a field trip to the 34th Annual Big Time Festival, a cultural celebration hosted by the Coast Miwok.
Here are the interns, artist instructors, and co-founders Anne Brodzky and Anthony Williams at our annual Bread Bake event. Every year, the kids visit the Headlands Center for the Arts and learn to make delicious homemade bread in their brick oven.
The annual zine includes personal essays about the young interns' experiences in the Meridian Interns Program. In this year's publication (front cover, left) includes Gabi's testimonial (right).
What We Need & What You Get
We need to raise $50,000 to keep the Meridian Interns Program alive.
The majority of the funds, $40,000, will be used to secure a new lease so that the youth interns can stay in their studio here at Meridian Gallery for years to come. This location is so important to the success of the program for a number of reasons:
1) It is easily accessible from all over the city, making MIP available to all low-income teenagers with a passion for art;
2) It is nearby many galleries, museums, and cultural centers, giving kids who might not otherwise have an opportunity to visit these art and educational institutions a chance to learn and be inspired;
3) It houses an on-site studio fully equipped with art supplies, cooking facilities, and desktop computers for graphic design projects. This studio was installed by co-founders Anne Brodzky and Anthony Williams in 2007, when they renovated the Victorian building's unused basement with the help of MIP interns.
The Meridian Interns Program's studio is housed in the lowest level of the Meridian Gallery, located in a beautiful Victorian building at 535 Powell Street, just two blocks from San Francisco's historic Union Square.
The remaining $10,000 will support the program itself. This will be used to:
- Pay the youth interns and their artist instructors
- Buy healthy food for snacks and meals prepared in the studio kitchen
- Buy art supplies and equipment
- Cover the costs of installing and promoting exhibitions
- Fund field trips to art galleries, museums, parks and cultural centers
- Produce the annual MIP zine, the "Megazine"
- Provide all interns with memberships to the de Young Museum
MIP interns prepare everyday meals and special treats - like apple pie - in the studio's kitchenette.
Ensuring the Future of MIP
Spread the Word!
Any and all contributions will help us achieve our goal of continuing the Meridian Interns Program in its current home. But there are other ways you can help! Please share this campaign with family and friends, and anyone who loves the arts and youth education. Post this to Facebook, send a tweet, spread the word!
The Meridian Interns thank you for your support!