Postcards from the Field—Part 2!

Posted by Emma Osore, Aug 03, 2017 0 comments

This summer, 12 Diversity in Arts Leadership interns from all over the country have descended upon arts nonprofits in New York City for ten weeks to explore and build skills in arts administration and leadership. For 25 years, the Arts & Business Council of New York has been hosting the DIAL internship program as an investment in a more equitable arts management field. This week, we present the final installment of our intern profile series (read the first set of profiles here). 

Salwa Meghjee

Arts Host Site: Lincoln Center
School: UC Berkeley
Major(s): English
Dream Vacation: I would love to visit East Africa where my parents grew up
Favorite Ice Cream/Gelato Flavor: I’ll eat anything chocolate flavored.

What have your expectations for the program been? What have you learned?

So far the program has far exceeded my expectations—the events and programs have been engaging, and I really enjoyed the site visit to Green-Wood Historic Fund, because it was so unusual and beautiful and I’m inspired by the work my fellow intern Asaiah is doing. I really like our intern class as well! My host site has been equally great with amazing co-workers that have been warm and welcoming. I’ve learned about what it takes to run a large non-profit like Lincoln Center, and have had the opportunity to attend events and shows such as their annual gala. I’m also learning about inclusivity in arts leadership from my supervisor, Jenara.

What’s exciting about NYC—the good, the bad, the embarrassing?

I really love this city—there's so much to do! I’ve spent almost every day doing something different, from finding discounted tickets to Broadway shows to listening to the New York Philharmonic in Central Park. Also, all the food is amazing. The only negative is that I'm spending all my money and I get lost on the streets quite a bit, but that's part of the adventure!

Noah Ezer

Arts Host Site: New York Public Radio—WNYC
School: Brown University
Major(s): Africana Studies and Urban Studies (emphases in visual media)
My Creative Pursuits: I’m vice-president of the Arts Initiative, which brings speakers to Brown and hosts campus-wide art events. I also spent last spring running an artisan cookie start-up with my roommate. I'm also a practicing photographer and sound artist.

What have your expectations for the program been? What have you learned?

My expectations for DIAL were to be shown the inner workings of some of New York’s preeminent arts non-profits and to be connected with a group of other students engaged in the art world, and so far, they’ve been informative. NYPR has been challenging and engaging in several unexpected ways, as well. Working on such a small team has given me the opportunity to do varied, important tasks.

What’s exciting about NYC—the good, the bad, the embarrassing?

The most exciting thing about NYC is how many events are happening at all times. While it’s been difficult finding the better ones (and figuring out how to get there), I’ve gone to some great art shows and DJ sets so far.

Shannon Lee

Arts Host Site: Asian American Arts Alliance
School: Tufts University
Major(s): Political Science and Economics with a minor in Colonialism Studies
Cool Facts: I am originally from Queens, NY and my family hails from Yangoon, Myanmar. I enjoy podcasts, xiaolongbao, kickboxing, and exploring new places.

What have your expectations for the program been? What have you learned?

I expected the program to be busy and exciting, but certainly not to the degree that it has been. My supervisors at the Asian American Arts Alliance have been incredibly thoughtful and attentive in both how they run their operations and how they guide me as I learn to navigate this new environment. I’ve learned so much about how to reach out to those who need our services most, how to define need, and what constitutes a good program.

What’s exciting about NYC—the good, the bad, the embarrassing?

I grew up in Queens and went to high school in downtown NYC, but I am still the absolute worst at directions despite my many years in the city. I will without fail get lost no matter how organized the grid system is—it’s always an adventure going on a detour in the city!

Ahmad Saeed

Arts Host Site: Bronx Museum of the Arts
School: Syracuse University
Major(s): Art History
Dream Vacation: I would love to spend like 6 months in Brazil, going to Rio, Sao Paolo, and Brasilia. Mostly to film, learn Portuguese, and learn about the diaspora there.
Favorite Ice Cream/Gelato Flavor: My favorite gelato flavor is mango!

What have your expectations for the program been? What have you learned?

Initially, I thought the program would require us to be exceptionally well-versed in the fields we were about to start working in. This was my first time working in curatorial after switching my major to art history so I was a bit nervous. Working for the Bronx Museum has been great and way more fulfilling than I had imagined. I’ve learned so much about what it takes to put on an exhibition that’s been in the process for years. Additionally, I’ve learned about how the art world works outside of the classroom.

What’s exciting about NYC—the good, the bad, the embarrassing?

I’m pretty familiar with the city from my weekend getaway trips from Syracuse; however, living here for the summer I’ve learned that there really is such a strong queer POC (people of color) community that I can always find events. Even back in Chicago it can be a bit alienating. The worst things have been travelling from the Bronx to Brooklyn for an hour almost 4-5 times a week.

Yidan Zeng

Arts Host Site: TADA! Youth Theater
School: Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design
Major(s): Computer Science and Glass
Dream Vacation: I would love to visit Kerala in India someday.
Favorite Ice Cream/Gelato Flavor: Red Bean popsicles

What have your expectations for the program been? What have you learned?

It’s been really interesting working at TADA! Youth Theater, because it’s broken a lot of my expectations. Mainly ones of working within one role, because within a non-profit, everyone wears so many hats that they keep falling off and being picked up by someone else. I entered as a marketing intern, expecting to do mainly design work, but I’ve taken on tasks for the Box Office (primarily group sales), pushing me to learn how to do audience management.

What’s exciting about NYC—the good, the bad, the embarrassing?

The good: An unlimited metro card in a city that never sleeps. The bad: A country girl missing her sprawling parks and forests. The embarrassing: Just visited Williamsburg for the first time yesterday ... I need to check out Brooklyn more!

Rebecca Ho

Arts Host Site: Kaufman Music Center
School: Binghamton University
Major(s): Management Information Systems and Fine Art
Dream Vacation: Anywhere with hot sun, clear water, and sweet fruit.
Favorite Ice Cream/Gelato Flavor: Ben and Jerry’s Half-Baked

What have your expectations for the program been? What have you learned?

My expectation for this program is to discover whether working in the non-profit arts is for me. The first week at Kaufman, I got to meet the amazing leadership team here, but also felt caught off guard since the database is much larger and more complex than any other database I have worked with before. By the second week, I dove head first into the available learning material online and have already developed efficiencies and areas for change.

What’s exciting about NYC—the good, the bad, the embarrassing?

Nothing is sexier than the idea of moving into the Big Apple, Empire State, City of New York: in a hot shot, single room in Morningside Heights! Not much is frustrating here … well, except for the moments when I am in my tiny room, sitting at my desk, and as I lean back in my chair ... I hit my head on the frame of my bed. Or, that moment of frustration when I sprint up the stairs to catch the 1 train, just to miss it by a couple of seconds because it took me three tries to swipe my MetroCard. But, these are small prices to pay because the view from my room is beautiful and there is always another train coming.

There are constantly things to try and discover, and though most have mastered the stand-offish and slightly bothered look of a New Yorker, once you start talking, the people here always have interesting lives and tell wonderful stories.

Find out more about our adventures at the intersection of #artsandbiz on Instagram and Twitter and follow the hashtag #DIAL25.

Emma Osore is a member of Americans for the Arts.

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