Hometown: Tampa, Florida
Major: Art History; Minor: Geology; Certificate: Graphic Design

Intern Sofia Cárdenas at work

What does a day in your internship look like?  

Recently I have been working on deinstalling past exhibitions and installing new exhibits, including Jerry Uelsmann: A Celebration of His Life and Art and Under the Spell of the Palm Tree: The Rice Collection of Cuban Art. My roles vary, and a typical day includes painting gallery walls and furniture, finishing wall labels, installing lighting, attending exhibition planning meetings and assisting the registrar and preparator staff. I’ve learned that a lot goes into installing and deinstalling exhibits, and since I like to be busy, the variety of hands-on tasks has been fun.

How has the Harn impacted your career aspirations?  

I’ve really enjoyed being behind the scenes of the museum. I have always been interested in art museums, and being an intern with the Registrar and Preparation team at the Harn has provided an insight into a career that I can see myself doing in the future. I’m so appreciative of the staff who are so willing to answer my questions, explain the right way of doing things, and have such a passion for art.

How important was it for you to receive the Tim Joiner Memorial Internship?  

When I was a kid, my family traveled to Italy and visited the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. I recall asking my mother about who takes care of the artwork, and she responded, “The registrar.” Receiving the Tim Joiner Memorial Internship feels like a full circle moment, getting to actually work directly with the registrar and preparator teams and help install beautiful works of art. And, on a practical note, receiving a paid internship has provided me the opportunity to focus solely on the internship and reduce other distractions.

What’s your favorite piece of art in the Harn?  

It would have to be Florida Lemons by William McCloskey. There is something about the way the lemons are painted, their bold color and the texture that grabs me. I have trouble looking away. Plus, my grandma has a Meyer lemon tree at her house, so the painting reminds me of her and of summer days playing in her pool with my cousins. It’s incredible how art can elicit such visceral feelings and memories.

What’s something you like to do for fun in your free time?  

I like graphic design, and lately, I’ve been playing around a lot with Adobe Suite and learning new techniques in Adobe Illustrator. For example, I just learned how to “inflate” a design or typeface, which is really cool. Trends are constantly changing in graphic design, so it’s important—and fun—to try out new ideas. Other than that, I grew up surfing in St. Augustine, so I try to get to the beach as much as possible.

If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? 

It would definitely be The Honorable Frances Duncombe. When I was in middle school, I was infatuated with her portrait at the Frick Museum in New York City. Thomas Gainsborough is the painter, and, as interesting as he might be, I am more interested in sitting down with a young woman from the late 1700s and comparing her world to mine. I would also love to know how exhausted she was after sitting for her portrait because I always thought her dress looked incredibly heavy, yet still light and beautiful.


Visit the Harn’s website to learn more about internships and application deadlines. If you are interested in supporting paid internships at the Harn, please consider making a gift of any size to the Expanding Student Possibilities Fund, Tim Joiner Memorial Intern Fund, or Jalyn Imani Stallworth Internship Endowment. Please contact the Development office at development@harn.ufl.edu for more information about supporting paid internships or other ways to give.