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"A fellowship of apprenticeship requires a common sacrifice to the common objective."


Frank Lloyd Wright

Contemporary art takes many forms, and often involves the work of many individuals collaborating under the guidance of a single vision. Today many artists, particularly those working on large-scale pieces, rely on the expertise and assistance of others. As an artist, John David Mooney has consistently worked with Process Artists in the fabrication of many of his sculptural works, and collaborated with professionals of many disciplines in his studio. These collaborations not only encourage new ideas and innovations, but also allow young artists the opportunity to gain enriching and practical experiences.


The Internship and Apprenticeship program offered at the John David Mooney Foundation was created with these ideals in mind. Professional Internship and Apprenticeship positions not only offer hands-on experience in a working studio, but allow artists to develop their work alongside a distinguished master. Interns and Apprentices are also responsible for the development and implementation of Foundation activities and the daily functions of the Foundation as a whole. Participants are presented with opportunities to gain experience programming exhibits, installing artworks, archiving Foundation collections, planning Foundation events and building professional connections.

Internships and Apprenticeships are open to anyone with a formal training in the arts, sciences or humanities.


For over 40 years, the John David Mooney Foundation has been offering Internships and Apprenticeships to professionals aiming to gain experience, gain exposure, build new connections and grow as artists.


Participants in the Mooney Foundation Apprentice and Internship Program come from all over the world, creating an international learning experience for architects, artists, art historians, industrial designers, arts management professionals, landscape architects, graphic designers, urban planners, and serious art advocates. It is a program of intense, advanced study purposefully designed to foster a team-oriented, interdisciplinary approach to creative discovery, filling the voids, and fulfilling the artist's responsibility to society. Participants learn how to maximize performance by focusing on four leadership qualities: Vision, Goal-Setting, Accountability, and Commitment.

The Foundation normally has five to six interns and apprentices in residence from around the world and from various disciplines, at any given time. Participants are required to draw upon the creativity and skills of one another and to engage government, engineers, developers, scientists, and others in the process. What is more, the natural dynamic of a diverse studio group demands that participants bring their individual strengths to the fore as they connect with one another and with the larger public sphere in socially conscious, creative problem solving.

The philosophical challenge of the Apprentice and Internship Program is the discovery of the artist's responsibility to society.

The program's emphasis on the spiritual and social dimensions of the creative journey readily distinguishes itself from traditional approaches. The program is not concerned with an art object, but with the process of becoming. Self initiation, the task of discovery, and problem solving that addresses the broader needs of society are seen as the vital components of the art process.


The Foundation offers internships in a variety of fields including Fine Arts, Architecture, Arts Administration, Urban Innovations, Archival and Curatorial Practices, Industrial Design, and Graphic Design, as well as Special Programs focusing on the relationship between art and science. Interns may also propose an individualized program of study that integrates an outside discipline with the mission and programming of the Foundation. In addition to visual art and architecture, disciplines represented by past interns include chemistry, human rights, engineering, literature, philosophy, the culinary arts, and the liberal arts.

Interns assist in the running of both an artists' studio and an international art gallery while exploring and refining their individual creative talents. Regardless of one's individual background, each intern is assigned to work on specific projects while working on the full range of Foundation activities, including exhibition organization, catalog design, arts administration, and of course, the development of a project from inception to conclusion.

Interns normally have acquired their undergraduate or graduate degrees, but there are no formal restrictions as to who may apply. Internships are awarded for a period of 3 months renewable to 6 months. Applications are received on an ongoing basis and are selected by the Foundation's distinguished jury.


The heart and soul of the Foundation is its unique Apprenticeship Program. The exploratory process, the dialogue, and the energized relationships that characterize the program stimulate a one of a kind dynamism and create an environment in which to excel. Throughout the Foundation's  history of granting apprenticeships, the vast majority of applicants came to this program simply through personal recommendations. Today, because the number of applicants far exceeds the places available, a jury of distinguished architects and artists review the applicants' portfolios.

To be awarded an apprenticeship candidates must have practiced their art professionally. Apprenticeships are awarded to those professionals of outstanding merit who have made significant contributions through their art, and who, while in residence, will be willing to participate in projects that bridge the relationship between Art and Architecture, as well as to assist in generating activities that weave art into the public domain, thereby facilitating cultural exchange and fostering a sense of global citizenship.

An Apprentice Fellowship is usually awarded one at a time and held by an international artist or architect whose body of work can be presented in a special exhibition while in Chicago. Apprentices are expected to give lectures on their work, to participate in special conferences and panel discussions, and to mentor interns. Particular efforts are also made to represent the cultural wealth of the apprentice's nation, and minority artists may be eligible for special awards.

Candidates are normally artists established in their professions or architects who have been engaged in practice and wish to take leave from their normal endeavors to become involved in a hands-on process of exploring new realms of environmental art, architecture, and planning. Professors often use their sabbatical time to accept an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships range in time from six months to two years.

Arts Management and Administration

Recently, the Foundation has awarded Apprenticeships in Arts Management to established arts administrators from prestigious art organizations around the country. The Foundation's lectures and exhibitions, the International Currents Programs, as well as the Great River Project, a flotilla of 15 barges for the performing arts, have provided an exceptional opportunity for innovative programming and creative management. Specialists from a diversity of fields including law and communications, finance and design, marketing and computers, community outreach, grant writing, archival control, and historical research, are all engaged in ongoing implementation of the Foundation's programs.

Interns in Arts Management and Administration come from a diversity of disciplines: Business, Art History and Criticism, Journalism and Communications, Computer Sciences, and the Liberal Arts and Sciences. The field of Arts Management offers many employment opportunities through the rapidly growing number of not-for-profit arts organizations. The Foundation's training procedures of active involvement in day-to-day operations, as well as the creation of long term goals and implementation plans, prepares the intern with management level experience upon entry into the field. Interns in Arts Management represent a wealth of geographic and cultural diversity, hailing from many countries and from many regions within the United States. The Foundation takes special pride in the diversity of its participants and actively pursues an expansion of opportunity for minorities both inside and outside of the Internship Program.

Apprentices for Arts Management are chosen through a process similar to the process by which candidates in Art and Architecture are chosen. Qualifications are based on established professional experience and achievement. The success of the Foundation's work depends upon highly motivated and creative individuals who can bring to the organization their knowledge of American and international business, governmental processes, and implementation techniques.

Applicants to the Arts Management and Administration Program should note in their cover letter that they are applying specifically for an Arts Management placement.

The John David Mooney Foundation is a non-profit,  all-volunteer organization. Internship and Apprenticeship positions offered through the Foundation are unpaid. 

If you are interested in learning more about available Internships or Apprenticeships, contact Barbara Jones, Administrator, at

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