MURRAY, Ky. — When Sadie Burnash imagined her future, art was always a vital component of the bigger picture: bold lines on paper, vibrant colors on a computer screen and images that resonated long after an initial glance.

For that reason, the Murray State University student from Louisville decided to pursue a major in studio art with an emphasis in painting and graphic design. Now, in the weeks leading up to her senior year, she is applying her classroom knowledge to the real world through a summer internship with the Speed Art Museum in Louisville.

“[Art] has always been my favorite thing to do, so it only made sense to make it my career,” Burnash said.

Although Burnash initially applied for a graphic design internship with the Speed Art Museum, she would ultimately accept a role with the museum’s donor relations unit. In her day-to-day responsibilities, Burnash works with the museum’s financial operations and with donation requests from other local non-profit organizations. She also sends out museum tickets and renews memberships for constituents. In her spare time, Burnash takes advantage of opportunities to explore the halls and galleries of the museum.

“It has given me another perspective on the world of art aside from just creating it,” Burnash said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the people I get to work with along with almost unlimited access to an art museum with hundreds of famous works in it.”

As a Murray State student, Burnash is active in the Kappa Delta sorority and in the Organization of Murray Art Students (OMAS). She is also a student worker for University Libraries. All these experiences, she said, prepared her for her internship with the Speed Art Museum by “giving me the skills necessary and the curiosity to continue to ask questions and learn as much as I can here in the time that I have.”

Her art professors in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts also played vital roles in advising her on her professional journey. Jim Bryant, for instance, provided guidance as she created a more professional résumé and portfolio, while Danielle Mužina pushed her to understand herself more authentically and Ann Gosser showed her how to use artwork to speak about who she is and what she stands for.

“Because of the determination of my professors in the art department, I am pushing myself outside my comfort zone with the confidence and skills to succeed — not just in the art community but in the job force as well,” Burnash said.

Burnash’s long-term career goals include professional design work. And, in addition to her internship with the Speed Art Museum, Burnash is currently doing just that via a second summer internship as a graphic designer for Trilogy Health Services, a series of nursing homes in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

“I want to design work that inspires other artists and having an internship is one of the stepping stones I need to get there,” Burnash said.

Sadie Burnash stands in front of a piece of artwork depicting a girl in a chair.
Sadie Burnash is a senior from Louisville, Kentucky, studying studio art with an emphasis in painting and graphic design at Murray State University. She is completing summer internships with the Speed Art Museum in Louisville (pictured) and with Trilogy Health Services.
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