Web Exclusives: On the Campus

March 5, 2008:

Artwork in the deli; “Princeternships” begin

By Bianca Bosker ’08

ZORBA’S GRILL is a tiny take-out restaurant just steps away from 185 Nassau St., a former elementary-school building that is now the Lewis Center for the Arts. Dimly lit, with windows and walls covered with faded pictures of grill-grub and counters crowded with snack foods on sale, the deli seems an unlikely site for an art show. But in December, Zorba’s became an unofficial gallery when more than a dozen artworks created by a Princeton ceramics class went on display.

For one of eight projects the class completed during the fall semester, Ann Agee, who teaches the course, took her students to Zorba’s and asked them to create pieces that were to serve a specific function there. The resulting pieces ranged from tip jars to straw holders, help-wanted signs to menu racks.

One student, who noticed that people always ordered at the cash register instead of talking directly to the cook, made an arrow sign that would direct customers where to place their orders. Other pieces were more decorative, such as a gun-metal gray elephant sculpture and a box of candy-bars made out of clay.

Sophomore Ben Laguna made a rack to hold sandwiches after they had been prepared. He hoped the piece would be a kind of “hidden art” that patrons wouldn’t immediately recognize as art. “It’s cool to expose people to a little bit of art in day-to-day life and to put art in a different context than people are used to,” Laguna explained. “I liked being able to expose people to art when they didn’t realize it.”

Agee wanted her students to think about public art and the functional history of ceramics, but she also saw the project as a way to show support for local businesses. “The local shops are really valuable, and we love them. This was another way of appreciating them,” she said.

The ceramics have served as a bridge between the Princeton campus and community. “We were delighted to be asked,” said Anne Fikaris, the co-owner of Zorba’s. “We’re so close to the arts building and always see students on the run, so it was nice to be able to have time to do something in conjunction with undergraduates.”


By Jocelyn Hanamarian ’08

Making plans for summer internships and post-graduation jobs can be difficult when students feel disconnected between what they do in the classroom and outside it. Thanks to a Career Services offering called Princeternships, a series of one- to three-day internships hosted by Princeton alumni, students are finding a new link between their studies and the real world.

Josh Muketha ’11, a civil and environmental engineering major, plans to earn a certificate in architecture, but was turned off by the theoretical focus of his first studio art class. At his Princeternship at the Philadelphia architectural firm RMJM Hillier, Muketha caught a glimpse of professional architecture and was reassured of his choice.

“There is this huge difference between architecture as a subject and architecture as a profession,” Muketha said. “I am an engineer, so always my big worry was that architecture seemed very abstract. Being exposed to this workplace helped me to see things, because engineers are kind of practical.”

Muketha’s host, Robert Hotes ’85, is a senior preservation architect at the firm, which is headed by headed by J. Robert Hillier ’59 *61. Hotes and Muketha reviewed a restoration project and attended a lunch seminar on roofing materials.

“I want to take classes in material-science courses, so it would be nice to think back to that experience,” Muketha said.

The first Princeternships were held in February at workplaces that ranged from from Christie’s to Sun Microsystems and JP Morgan. They will continue to be offered during breaks in the academic calendar such as intersession and spring break.

Tasnim Shamma ’11 did her Princeternship at Business Week magazine, where she attended sessions that decided the content of that week’s issue, saw where podcasts are made, and sat in on an interview for an upcoming article.

“I work for the Prince,” Shamma said, “but I realized that magazine writers and columnists have a lot more time to think and analyze events, and they corroborate their sources more. I feel like I can make a more informed choice about my career in journalism, about which specific area I want to go in to.”

Photos by Hyunseok Shim ’08