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Student Serves as Public Guide at the Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland State University student Marisa DeMaria has had the opportunity to experience Engaged Learning first hand, connecting her studies to real-world opportunities while feeding her passion for art.

By day, DeMaria is a communication management major and art history minor at CSU. After class and on the weekends she serves as a senior student guide at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The student guide program is a paid internship in which students are trained to give tours and teach incoming guides about the process of art engagement and interacting with the public in a fun yet beneficial way. 

DeMaria seeks to give interesting and engaging tours that put a twist to the visitor’s overall museum experience. Specifically, guides engage the visitors in “slow-looking activities.” She explained that slow-looking allows visitors to think deeper and further understand the piece of artwork that they are looking at. It also helps museum patrons feel welcomed to engage with the art, regardless of knowledge or experience.

In addition to her regular duties, DeMaria has participated in a number of outreach activities through the Museum. This includes speaking on the Student Guide program and its benefits at a number of public events and even getting the opportunity to give a tour at Harvard University’s museum

DeMaria is currently completing her second-full semester at CSU after transferring from Cuyahoga Community College through the Mandel Honors College as a Mandel Continuing Scholar. While at Tri-C, She participated in a summer seminar where the director of CMA’s Student Guide program, Key Jo Lee, visited with students and provided applications for the pilot year of the effort. DeMaria has been with the program ever since, and would recommend it as a great way to gain experience and provide a benefit to the community.

“I’ve learned better questions to ask, better ways to listen and better ways to affirm people while communicating with them,” she adds.

Looking towards the future, Demaria plans to pursue certifications in arts management and community development, and would like to work in a museum or cultural institution where she can encourage visitors to explore and feel welcomed, while helping to further build her community through art.