How Penn Can Help Prevent You From Being A “Starving Artist”

The start of the spring season is a ripe time for arts internships, apprenticeships and other opportunities to be posted in Handshake and across the web. New jobs are being posted every week in our Fine Arts, Performing Arts & Music and Media & Entertainment industry communities.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that all too often, these are unpaid opportunities. Even when paid opportunities are available, it doesn’t change the fact that New York, L.A., and even Philadelphia are not cheap places to live, especially in the short term.

Don’t despair, though!! There are many sources of funding available to students at Penn, several of which are aimed at those looking to have an experience in the arts, entertainment, or media industries. Additionally, students who are considered Highly Aided by Penn have special funding available to them through SRFS’s Highly Aided Summer Funding Program, which should be their first area of investigation!

Note: The programs below are specifically aimed at undergraduates. Graduate students looking for funding, should check out the Career Services/GAPSA Summer Funding Program.

Career Services Summer Funding

What: Career Services has funds to allow select students to pursue unfunded or under-funded summer opportunities. Awards are intended to cover travel expenses, living expenses, and/or other expenses related to the summer experience, up to $5,000.

Who: Any rising sophomore, junior or senior, who receives financial aid from Penn and has a family income over $75,000. You must have an offer for an internship/opportunity of at least 8 weeks at the time of your application.

When: Applications are now open and are on a rolling basis through April. The first round deadline is February 25th.

Learn More: See all the eligibility requirements, deadlines and application process on the Career Services Summer Funding page or read this FAQ.

Penn Live Arts Career Connections

What: Summer internships with companies across the arts industries, with opportunities ranging from the creative to the business-focused. All internships offered through this program are supported by a stipend. In addition to funded internships, we also offer a flexible funding award that can support an independently secured internship or augment existing funding to make an opportunity more financially feasible. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Leah Falk, our Director of Education & Engagement, at Opportunities are posted in Handshake under Penn Live Arts on behalf of the employers.

Who: Any rising sophomore, junior, or senior.

When: Opportunities are live now in Handshake. Sample opportunities currently available: FringeArts, Lincoln Center, Venture Entertainment Partners, bp Productions

Learn More: Penn Live Arts Career Connections

Penn Live Arts Summer Internship Funding Awards

What: Funding to support arts, culture and entertainment internships that students have secured independently. This summer funding support is intended to enable recipients to take advantage of an internship by helping to cover essential moving and living expenses. Through these funds, we hope to help facilitate professional and learning opportunities that connect students’ experiences on campus to those in their chosen industries.

Who: Funding awards are open to any rising second, third or fourth-year Penn student who has already secured an internship offer from an employer for the upcoming summer. Funding is available regardless of whether the internship is paid or you have been awarded any support from elsewhere. However, to help us reach the most students and maintain an equitable program, we ask recipients let us know as soon as possible if they secure summer funding support from another program on campus.

Learn More: Penn Live Arts Summer Internship Funding Awards

Platt Student Performing Arts House Funding Awards

What: George & Jane Wallace Summer Performing Arts Internship Award and the Peter Whinnery Summer Arts Internship Award. Monetary Awards ($2000-$3000) to support a summer internship in the arts or entertainment industries. You must secure the internship yourself. Applications are essay based.

Who: Juniors, sophomores, and first-year students are eligible to apply.

When: Applications open now. Final deadline is March 18th, 2024.

Learn More: Platt House Awards Programs

Cinema and Media Studies Internship Awards

What: Cinema & Media Studies students may apply to a maximum of three internships from a list of opportunities funded and curated by the Cinema & Media Studies department. Penn Cinema & Media Studies will offer a $5,000 stipend to the recipient of the internship to help with travel and housing. Opportunities for 2024 include Di Bonaventura Pictures, Black Star, Library Films, PBS Kids and more!

Who: Junior Cinema & Media Studies Majors and Minors have priority to be selected for the internships.

When: Applications are due by March 17, 2024.

Learn More: Get full details and see the list of opportunities on the Cinema & Media Studies Internships page.

Summer Humanities Internship Program (SHIP)

What: Each year the College of Arts and Sciences and CURF fund approximately twenty-five summer research internships for University of Pennsylvania students in the humanities and social sciences. Internships provide undergraduates with the opportunity to work in a cultural, historical, or archival setting. These full-time internships are for a period of ten weeks and include a financial award of $5,000. All internships will be either fully in-person or in a hybrid format. Fully remote internships are no longer being considered. 2024 opportunities include The Arthur Ross Gallery, WXPN, BalletX, Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, Play On Philly and more!

Who: All applicants must be current, regularly enrolled students in the College of Arts and Sciences, have a GPA of 3.0 or greater, and be members in good standing of the University of Pennsylvania community. Open to US citizens and Non-US citizens.

When: Applications open now. Final deadline February 25, 2024.

Learn More: Find a complete list of opportunities and the full application process on CURF’s website.


What: RealArts@Penn is centered around the creative student, regardless of course of study. Through internships, we facilitate a student’s deeper understanding of creative industries. Each summer we sponsor approximately 25 arts specific internships. An award of $5000.00 is provided to accept these unpaid (or underpaid) opportunities. The opportunities available are curated by RealArts@Penn.

Who: Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Additional opportunities are available for graduating seniors.

When: Sadly, the 2024 deadline has already passed (January 15th) – keep them in mind for next year!

Learn More: See a list of historical opportunities that have been available and learn about the application process on the RealArts@Penn website.

By Michael DeAngelis
Michael DeAngelis Senior Associate Director, Communications & Technology