Pathways into Professional NeedleArts Studio and Internships: Lessons Learned

By Catherine Amoroso Leslie, Teena Jennings-Rentenaar and Sandra Stansbery Buckland.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 11, 2014 $US5.00

The needle arts are seldom taught as stand-alone subjects in the United States. Consequently, related businesses rely on hobbyists for “new talent.” As this population ages, there is a need to cultivate an interest among younger individuals. Meanwhile, educators recognized a need to expand career opportunities in these creative arts. They, and the trade group, The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA), collaborated to develop an innovative program. Pathways into Professional NeedleArts (PiPN), a three-week immersive course, began in summer 2005. The course included intensive instruction, guest speakers, and a trade show tour where students met successful professionals. This culminated in internships with TNNA host companies in North and South America. Several “graduates” of the program were offered full-time positions and became contributing members of the industry. The program gained significant traction over time, yet pressure from both academic and association leadership led to an emphasis on quantity as a measure of success, placing the program in jeopardy. In order for a university/industry program to succeed, mutual goals must be clearly identified. Although PiPN focused on textile arts, examination of this program as a case study can serve as a model for developing learning experiences directly connecting students with employment opportunities.

Keywords: Arts Education, Creative Arts, Internships

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 8, Issue 1, April 2014, pp.55-67. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 11, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 891.231KB)).

Dr. Catherine Amoroso Leslie

Associate Professor, The Fashion School, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA

Dr. Catherine Amoroso Leslie earned a PhD in textiles and clothing from The Ohio State University. Her dissertation explored issues of identity, practice, and purchasing behavior in the needlearts. She joined Kent State University’s Fashion School in 2002, where she teaches historic costume, historic textiles, and fashion merchandising. Her first book, Needlework through History: An Encyclopedia, was released in 2007. She was awarded the Pearl Jubilee Award by the National NeedleArts Association for her role in the development of the Pathways in Professional NeedleArts program. Dr. Leslie has published many articles and presentations on fashion history, needlearts, and cultural traditions. Her current work explores the practice, teaching, and business of handwork and sewing.

Dr. Teena Jennings-Rentenaar

Professor, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, USA

Dr. Sandra Stansbery Buckland

Professor, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, USA