On-the-Job Training Program
A Career in Art Was Always Her Goal
Shannon Morris, a single mother with two girls aged 5 and 3 years old, had been out of the business world for five years before rekindling her love for the arts several years ago. She decided to enroll at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she studied art history and her goal was to have a real impact on fine arts and educational programs.
Her interest in museum education began back during her undergraduate studies in college, when Morris started working in a children’s museum as a docent and she loved it so much that she asked the docent educator how to get a job like that. Based on information from the docent educator, arming herself with her own research and developing her own contacts, Morris began her career. She did an internship at the Birmingham Museum of Art—she interned for a summer and it led to a part-time job, then a fulltime position at the museum. In her role there, she coordinated studio classes for the museum’s school. And she was hooked.
During her studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Morris worked in the Civil Rights Museum and the Telfair Museum of Art. Later she worked at the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Sloss Furnaces Historical Museum, also in Birmingham, dedicated to memorializing the contributions of the men who labored there and giving a glimpse into the industrial past of the city of Birmingham and the entire South.
During her docent work at these museums, Morris began to work part-time coordinating tours and developing programs, at which she was very successful and gradually she moved into a fulltime career in museum education. In pursuit of this, she became curator at the United States Sports Academy’s American Sports Archives Museum in Daphne. She greatly enjoyed her time there, but wanted to get back into fine arts museum education and also gain experience in the one area of program development missing from her resume—grant writing.
Morris interviewed for her current position as Program Coordinator with The Centre for the Living Arts and was directed to go to Mobile Works at the Alabama Career Center by Carlos Parkman, President and CEO of the Centre. Parkman asked Morris to inquire as to her eligibility for the Mobile Works On-the-Job Training program and happily, Morris qualified. “The On-the-Job Training program gave me the opportunity to move into a position that will allow me to grow in my career by giving me additional experience that I didn’t have before and that I needed to complement my strengths,” says Morris. She believes that “this experience will make me a more well-rounded employee and I am very appreciative that Ms. Parkman and Centre are willing to train me, let me work in a field I love—contemporary fine arts—and give me the opportunity to prove myself.”
Morris would tell other jobseekers, “Just decide what you want to do and then do it—you may have to take a pay cut at first or make other sacrifices, but in the end, doing what you love is worth it.” And Morris loves museum program development because it allows her to make fine art more accessible to the average person and help them to understand it.
At Mobile Works, we applaud Morris and her pursuit of happiness and fulfillment through her career—a career that ensures that all people right here in Mobile have access to the fine arts and culturally significant programs that enrich their lives.