Friday, June 3, 2011

Emerging from winter, three jobs, and graduate school

All at once in Boston, it was summer- sweet and humid, and so much on the calender that I find it impossible to do everything the city has to offer. This week marked the beginning of my weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) pick up at a bakery in Brookline. Lucious local organic produce, and not a moment too soon.

Starting in February in the midst of a winter I thought may never end, I began my search for a CSA and an internship, intentionally putting a light at the end of a bleak winter, summer in sight. (I should clarify that bleak was the weather, hardly my experience. My life this winter was a colorful palette, as I worked three jobs and took a consulting class, the capstone course for my masters program....)

I was working as the interim program manager at The Art Connection, traveling to social service agencies in the Greater Boston Area, and facilitating their selection of original artwork, which our organization gives away. Free. We donated so much original art during 16 years, that during my five-month stint as program manager, I placed the 5,000th piece. The work was given to a low income housing development looking to liven up their community center for their residents. I also placed work at a community college, a residential treatment program for "delinquent male youth", an elder service community, and several others. Each place I got to meet staff and clients and watch their understanding of and personal connection to art blossom.

I was also working as a graduate assistant for the Arts Administration Department at Boston University where I researched education standards and rankings for international programs in arts administration and cultural policy. I also served as chief conference site coordinator for the Association of Arts Administration Educators annual conference, hosted by BU this year.

And once a week, I found myself trying to get tuckered out, texting teens interested in photography. I was received with both eye rolls and genuine enthusiasm (sometimes by the same person in the same three-minute span)... a great experience where I learned once again how to make something with nothing. With the exception of one girl, the students never brought their cameras to class. So I learned to bring mine, and shoot we did. We were at Temple Israel or TI, which for our group meant "trapped inside". I was impressed with their thoughtfulness and the outcome of their images, some of which completely transported us "outside".

Now all three jobs are behind me (though I still sit on two committees at The Art Connection), and I am eating local blueberries with my windows flung open. I am also preparing to begin my internship for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department's ParkARTS program! In a search to get experience working for a local government agency, I found a way to do that while work outside teaching art... amazing. I will be leading photography workshops in a different Boston park every Tuesday evening in the months of July and August (details in my next post). I am also doing marketing for the ParkARTS program, and assisting the watercolor teacher in landscape painting workshops in the parks.

Looking forward to an incredible summer, as full as winter, but with more leisurely activities... and only one job. And more time to BLOG. Keep reading :)