Skip to main content

UA Little Rock’s School of Art and Design Launches Jewelry and Metalsmithing Internship Program

Four people stand on the left side of the image, while one person stands on the right. A teacher is holding a hammer and teaching a spoon-forging workshop.
UA Little Rock student Bob Baldridge leads a community spoon-forging workshop as part of his internship. Photo by Elliot Keeley at the Baltimore Jewelry Center.

In the summer of 2023, three UA Little Rock students participated in the inaugural Jewelry and Metalsmithing Internship Program created by Professor Lydia Martin, a Windgate Artist-in-Residence, in partnership with Career Services and the College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education.

Bob Baldridge, Bailey Holley, and Brice Horn are three jewelry and metalsmithing students who partook in the program that culminated in a four-week out-of-state internship. Bob Baldridge interned with the Baltimore Jewelry Center, Bailey Holley interned with Halstead Bead Company in Prescott, Arizona, and Brice Horn interned with Heather Guidero Jewelry in Providence, Rhode Island.

Martin, who started at UA Little Rock in the fall of 2021 as a Windgate Artist-in-Residence, created the program with collaborative mentorship in mind. Students first applied for the program, they were mentored by Martin herself, then the students conducted a research project in a field of their interest.

“Each internship created was individualized to fit the needs of the partnering organization and the interests of the students,” Martin said. “While my mentorship is closely tied to the studio classroom and how best to prepare students for an upcoming experience such as this, the mentorship received from the partnering organization was specialized, as all three were outside of the realm of my expertise.”

From traveling and teaching to networking and learning about the industry, each student’s internship experience differed based on their interests.

“My favorite part of the internship was having the chance to teach two free spoon-forging workshops to people in the local community,” Baldridge, who interned with the Baltimore Jewelry Center, said. “It was so much fun and inspiring to have that experience while I’m still in school and was affirmation that I am on the right path.”

Three women pose in front of an LED sign that says "Halstead Studio."
UA Little Rock student Bailey Holley, middle, with Kelli Vanyek Greene, left, and Sylvie Alusitz, right, from Halstead Bead Company. Photo by Christin Grady at Halstead Bead Supply.

Holley, who interned with Halstead Bead Company, noticed the difference between her experience in school and her experience in the field.

“This opportunity allowed me to travel and get a professional, real-world artist experience outside of academia,” Holley said. “This led me to realize how important it is going to be for my future that I keep traveling, networking, and learning among other creatives.”

With internship funding supplemented by Career Services at UA Little Rock, the College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education, and through Signature Experience Grants, the three students were paid for their work.

“We were excited to partner with students in the jewelry and metalsmithing program,” Brittany Straw, director of Career Services, said. “This partnership gives students the opportunity to participate in internships that they might not have been able to participate in otherwise.”

“What Professor Martin has created represents best practices in ensuring students have access to high-quality experiential learning opportunities that improve their social, human, and creative capital,” said Dr. Sarah Beth Estes, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education.