The arts, full circle.

When it came time to decide on an academic focus at Mitchell College, senior Kelly Nolan looked back at what she was drawn to as a child.

“I have always been interested in the arts, everything from theater to fine art, and I knew I wanted to do something with creativity. I love to build sets for shows and musicals, and I love to be surrounded by art. It is inspirational, and it makes me feel happy and motivated. That’s how I decided on an arts administration major.”

As a student in liberal and professional studies, Kelly built an individualized major, taking coursework in both business and art, from advertising fundamentals and marketing to painting, film study, photography and stage play production.

She is also putting her interests to work through her internship at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London. There she assists the education department with its art workshops and programs offered to children and families.

“I found out about the internship through Mitchell’s Integrative Career Development (ICD) office. Applying for it was a pretty straightforward process, although waiting to hear if I could move on to the next step was a bit stressful. The ICD office, though, was very helpful as I prepared for my interview.”

Kelly spends a full day every Thursday at the museum, preparing for a morning homeschool program and an after-school art class.

“I work with both the outreach coordinator for schools and the education department. I help set up supplies for the morning workshop, then pack up and reset the tables for the afternoon workshop. I also do some computer research work and other organizing.”

Kelly also works at special programs on the first and third Saturdays of the month. The first Saturday, known as Free First Saturday, offers complimentary general admission and art-making for families. The third Saturday, called Science Saturday, offers free science-themed art projects with museum admission.

In addition to assisting with programs, she has been able to spend time in the exhibits. Her favorite one is the permanent exhibition, “Louis Comfort Tiffany in New London,” which looks at Tiffany’s life, art and his connections to this area. Tiffany’s sister Annie was married to Alfred Mitchell. Together, Annie and Alfred Mitchell owned the property where Mitchell College sits today and the college bears their name.

“I found the connection between Tiffany, the Mitchell family and Mitchell College rather interesting and surprising.”        

Kelly’s favorite part of the internship is the variety in each day, and she equally enjoys interacting with the regular homeschoolers each week and the families participating in Saturday workshops together.

“I think an internship is valuable for figuring out a direction to go in after graduation. The process helps me narrow down a goal or a place I see myself working, even later in life.”