Advice for Future Arts Interns | Blog Post #3

As a music and performing arts management student, I have been blessed with some great internships with art organizations such as Detroit Symphony Orchestra, University Musical Society, Michigan Theater and Kennedy Center. These experiences have and still are shaping my passion and love for the performing arts. I aspire to become a professional fundraiser and development officer for arts organization, specifically orchestras. What I love most about my field is that it allows me to be as close as possible to the music and art I love with performing. I fell out of love with performing in high school, but my love for music remains – and it is heightened with each concert, play, show and of course, internship.

Here is a bit of advice I have for anyone completing an art internship:

  1. Do your research on your organization’s art form and history. In interviews with arts professional, a popular question that is asked is “So what performance in our upcoming season are you most excited about?” and you do not want to be caught without an answer. Arts orgs want to hire interns who have an appreciation for the work that they do. It would also give you bonus points if you can talk about an experience such as a performance, workshop or volunteer experience you had with them. So study that program guide before your interview!
  2. Ask your co-workers about their “former life” in the arts as a good talking point. Arts org administration offices are filled with former musician, dancers, actors and artists who also decided to not make a professional career from performing. We’re all like Clark Kent or Lois Lane undercover. Whenever I asked my co-workers what was there connection to the arts their face would immediately light up. They can talk for hours if you let them about their theater company on the side, the jazz quintet they play in on the weekend, or the local community center where they teach dance. You will learn a lot about the kind of people you work with. They will be happy that you took interest it’s a great way to break the ice and network.
  3. Look the part. One thing I LOVE about working at an arts org is the office attire. I have interviewed with both arts nonprofits and for profit companies, what is appropriate to where in one may not be fitting for the other. Typically you where a suit and tie, black, grey and navy blue right? Or maybe a solid dark color dress and black heels? This is usually most appropriate in white collar jobs, but one thing that I have noticed at arts orgs in the brighter the better. You will see an array of different patterns, bulky jewelry and color shoes because it’s appropriate to do so. I would say always double check and play it safe for the first week of your internship. But from there on out, have some fun and brighten up your closet!

Well, I hope these tips are useful for anyone thinking about working for an arts organization. It is a lot of fun and an experience like no other! Comment on my post tell me what you think. Feel free to ask me any questions about my experiences. If you have also interned for an arts org tell me where! What is your advice? I will definitely respond!

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