Beginning at the Getty Center: Woody Internship

Greetings from sunny Southern California, I’m Clara Poteet, and it’s actually been quite misty and grey today in Los Angeles! Despite the current weather, I am thrilled to be interning this summer in the events department at the Getty Center. First, a little about me, and then a little about the Getty:

I’m a rising senior, double majoring in Art History and English at the College of William and Mary. When I’m not scrambling to finish an essay or working on planning an event with the Art History department, I can be found working with Rocket magazine (I’m the art editor), leading a junior girls’ small group with one of my best friends, or hammocking with friends. I love fashion & art history, the intersection of social justice and sustainability with the art world, and all things cheese (besides Roquefort).


The Getty Center is one location of the J. Paul Getty Trust, which is, according to their website, a “cultural and philanthropic organization dedicated to the visual arts.” The Getty has a few different arms that help it accomplish its mission: the Museum, the Research Institute, the Conservation Institute, the Foundation, and Publications. The Getty Center, which is way up on a hill, houses the Foundation, Conservation Institute, Research Institute, and a large part of the Museum’s collections. The events staff here works to ensure that each of these different groups are able to have their events: they manage the logistics behind everything from table cloths to how many security officers are present.


So far, I have been shadowing different events staff to learn how the department runs and how much behind-the-scenes work is necessary to make sure an exhibition opening or even small lunch goes smoothly. I have my own clipboard and radio, like the other events staff. We use the radios to communicate across the large campus, because the wifi and cell reception is spotty up here on top of the hill. When we’re working an event, each member of the team receives a work order to go on their clipboard, which shows the breakdown of every single department working the event and exactly what they’re responsible for. Events has to make sure that all these other departments are aware of their responsibilities, from tables and chairs being set up to catering having adequate space to prep the food.


Speaking of food, one of the best perks so far has been the incredible food at Getty events. There’s a catering company that handles all Getty events, and they do a wonderful job. And, as an events intern, I often get to take home leftovers. My three favorites have got to be the goat cheese, fig jelly, and dark chocolate-salted caramel pot de crème. I also start out most mornings with a cup of coffee from the office pantry.

All in all, I have been loving my time here and I cannot wait to become better acquainted with the Getty and my coworkers!


  1. Lois Ingles says:

    I just found your posts by looking on Facebook. Yay! Thanks for this introduction to the Getty Center.

  2. It’s so nice to see that you have been enjoying your internship. Organizing and planning events seems really fun and challenging. I’ve always been thinking that it’s key to have experiences collaborating with others and practicing the ability to think through and conduct work in a logistic way. It matters a lot in real careers in the future. Hope you will learn many useful skills this summer.

  3. cgpoteet says:

    Thanks so much! Yeah, it’s been really neat to see all the different departments working together.