Art opens doors: Pizzuti Collection cultivates confidence in S.O.A.R. hire! interns

Sculptures, paintings and photographs at the Pizzuti Collection serve as a springboard to public speaking, research and personal development for the six S.O.A.R hire! program interns working at the nonprofit art organization.

Interns are charged with taking ownership of three pieces of art, knowing their history and being able to express their relevance during presentations and art tours for the organization.

“I was nervous because I didn’t think I would be prepared to give tours on the artwork,” says Alleayah McGraw, one of the S.O.A.R hire! interns who is a Pizzuti tour guide. “Now, I’m more comfortable and I’m not as nervous because I’ve done research on the artwork. I know how to better present myself when I’m speaking to a large audience. I learned that people see art in different ways.”

Jessie Crawford, summer fellow at Pizutti Collection who manages the interns, says that she has asked that the interns become masters at what artwork means. This requires developing research skills and thinking creatively about how to express the art’s meaning to a group. Crawford says that the Pizzuti staff is also able to see the interns grow in their self-confidence.

“Having the summer youth members involved here builds a connection between us and the younger community. For me it is interesting to meet kids growing up in Columbus and impact lives through art is very exciting.  It is also exciting and gratifying to see them succeed,” Crawford says.

Interns are learning practical skills that will help them be better lifelong learners.

“Something I have learned so far is to take notes,” says Destiny Davis. “Something we have to do on a daily basis is go over the artwork so that we can remember the information about them to lead a tour.”

They are also learning to broaden their worldview by interpreting art and speaking directly with artists.

“I learned more about art and how it can bring emotion and connection and feelings,” says Dylan Young.

Te’chan Palmer says that working at Pizzuti Collection has also changed his perception of the long-terms gains of working in the S.O.A.R. hire! program.

“I felt like this was just some program to keep kids off the street. But I realize now that it’s to get kids the skills required to succeed in life,” Palmer says. “I’ve learned to communicate with people better on my own.”