Holden Forests & Gardens seeks an Exhibit Planning and Curatorial Assistant.

Holden Forests & Gardens is comprised of two world-renowned public gardens; Holden Arboretum located in rural Kirtland, Ohio and Cleveland Botanical Garden located in the urban University Circle region of Cleveland, Ohio. This position’s location is at Cleveland Botanical Garden which includes 10 acres of outdoor themed gardens, 2 indoor glasshouses and visitor, staff, event, education and parking facilities.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden Exhibit Planning and Curatorial Assistant will work closely with the Director of Exhibits & Experiences to organize and curate small art exhibits for the spring – fall 2021 exhibition schedule. Tasks will include researching, reporting on, and contacting regional artists whose work supports the mission of Holden Forests & Gardens - to connect people with the wonder, beauty, and value of trees and plants, to inspire action for healthy communities. Additional tasks will include contract management, label writing, installation coordination, working with other departments (marketing, facilities, horticulture, guest services) on tasks that relate to the art exhibitions, and other duties to be assigned. 

Responsibilities and Duties: 

Early Internship (Days 1-8): At the beginning of the internship, interns should be oriented to their sites and understand their role in their department. They should learn about essential protocols, systems, and personnel. 


  • Orientation to the organization
  • Research and report on relevant artists, exhibits and displays
  • Contacting relevant organizations as needed for additional information
  • Research potential artists and organizations to submit Call to Artists, report on findings
  • Write and submit Call to Artists to relevant organizations


  • Establish connection to HF&G as an organization
  • Learn about local arts organizations that assist artists
  • Learn how to write a Call to Artists 


Mid Internship (Days 9-20): Throughout the bulk of their internship, interns should work on their overall project: conducting researching and executing work more independently as the internship progresses.


  • Field questions from artists 
  • Organize and prioritize artist submissions
  • Review with Supervisor submissions and recommend awards; contact artists and start writing contracts, finalizing any special needs
  • Identify potential for expenses that are beyond signage for exhibitions
  • Meet with Interpretive Services Manager to talk about additional content, classes, or programming that could relate to the exhibit


  • Establish connection with local and regional artists and galleries
  • Create a database and way of scoring artists for display
  • Learn about budgeting and contracting
  • Become familiarized with interpretive planning and educational programming


Late Internship (Days 21-24): In the internship’s final days, interns should finalize their project and share it with team. 


  • Meet with Interpretive Services Manager to finalize interpretive plan for exhibits
  • Finalize contracts and submit to guest services
  • Manage installation for spring exhibits, including:
  • Working with marketing to produce interpretive signage and object labels 
  • Working with artist to install exhibits 
  • Patch, paint, and get galleries ready for exhibits


Qualifications and Skills:

  • The intern must be a proactive, self-starter
  • Comfortable with working independently and corresponding with other Holden Forests & Gardens professionals, as well as outside vendors and outside organizations via telephone and email. 
  • Intern must have experience and proficiency in a Windows/PC work environment as well as strong organization skills, enthusiasm and a positive attitude. 
  • They must have their own working computer and access to the internet. 
  • The intern should also demonstrate an interest in non-traditional museums spaces such as formal gardens.  



  • Intern must pass a relevant background check before hire. 
  • Once on board, orientation will consist of meeting the staff and HR via virtual meetings, touring the building, and a staff/volunteer training that will consist of an orientation session introducing Holden Forests and Gardens and their role as an ambassador for the organization. 
  • Studio Institute screens applicants for eligibility before they apply to this position. To qualify, students must:
  • Be enrolled full-time in a Bachelor’s program as a Junior or Senior as of January 2021
  • Reside or attend college/university in Cleveland
  • Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,000 or less on their FAFSA 

Position Details:

  • The learning opportunity consists of curating and planning an exhibition in both a traditional gallery space, as well as (potentially) outdoor spaces. The intern will learn how to plan, design and manage the logistics of an exhibition. 
  • As time permits, programming support could also be part of the internship. 
  • The internship would require a minimum of 16 hours/week during the planning phase, with the potential for more hours during installation. 
  • Training and regular supervision will consist of weekly meetings with Director of Exhibits and Experiences to discuss the goals of the department and the larger role this internship’s project will play in the achievement of these goals. Project timeline and expectations will be discussed. 
  • Since Covid-19, the supervisor doesn’t have a “home” base but roams depending on the time of year and work circumstances - working from home when possible, and at the Cleveland Botanical Garden or Holden Arboretum as necessary. Supplementary supervision will be done by the Interpretive Services Manager, who shares the same work circumstances.

Job classification: internship, full-time

Salary range: $10-$12, open to negotiation

To apply: Review of applications with begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  Qualified applicants should apply for this internship through Studio Institute THEN students can apply through ADP. 

Holden Forests & Gardens is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to hiring a diverse and talented workforce. We seek skilled, knowledgeable and experienced individuals to join our staff and enhance our reputation as one of the country’s foremost public gardens. Holden Forests & Gardens is an ADA employer and a drug-free workplace.

Posted: December 9, 2020

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