The Internship

Today, while posting our internship description on various job-searching sites, I was able to take a moment to reflect on my own time working as an intern at Urban Gateways. When searching for an internship earlier this summer, I was originally looking to find work at an art consultancy or local gallery. As I plan to work in the field of art business, I had never considered that working at a non-profit organization could help me gain valuable experience and further my career goals.

As I scoured the Internet for art-related jobs, the initial internship posting stuck out to me right away as the perfect way to combine my love of art, children, and community service. Every Art. Every Child. Every Day. A multi-disciplinary art program that provides opportunities for underserved youth… But how could this internship benefit me as a future businesswoman?

As a Marketing and Communications intern, I was to work with the Director of Marketing and Sales “in execution of the marketing plan as it pertains to programs.” While this description did not initially sound like a match, the more I read the more I was able to picture myself in this position. Visiting and documenting programs and drafting and distributing press releases are responsibilities in line with my career path. Moreover, I have always enjoyed blogging and social media for my own purposes, and graphic design experience would look great on my resume. After submitting my resume and writing sample, I waited anxiously to hear back.

If this entryway doesn’t make you feel welcome, I don’t know what does!

When I received an email with information about a future interview, I called my parents and let them know the good news. However, it wasn’t until I first visited 205 Randolph that I knew I had found my home away from home for the summer. After running late for my interview, I hurried into the office completely flustered and regretting my choice of uncomfortable “young professional” shoes that squeezed my feet in all the wrong places. Luckily for me, I was immediately greeted by the wonderful ball of energy that is our Executive Assistant, Ellie. I quickly fell in love with the colorful kid-made art around the office and seemingly bottomless hole that is Ellie’s candy bowl. Even more, though, I was blown away by how all of the staff could be at the same time laid-back and so incredibly passionate about their work. When I got an email from the Director of Marketing welcoming me to the “Urban Gateways family,” I was ecstatic.

While I very much enjoyed my day-to-day tasks around the office and the creative license offered to me by my supervisors Brian and Anna, one particular experience stands out to me as being emblematic of my time with Urban Gateways. Several weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a visit to one of our partner schools, Miles Davis.

When I sat in on theatre and dance classes taught by Urban Gateways teaching artists, it was immediately apparent how much the children enjoyed the programs. The teachers worked to engage each student, and even those that were not initially participating were brought out of their shells and took risks in expressing themselves. While the elementary school music programs of my childhood seemed to be more focused on babysitting than fostering talent, all of the students at Miles Davis were treated professionally and they responded accordingly, showing more focus and enthusiasm than I would have expected in kids well above their age.

Children from Miles Davis wearing their Urban Gateways shirts!

During my school visit, I was able to see first-hand the impact that programs have on Urban Gateway students. More than that, knowing that my contributions and those of other staff members made these programs possible is worth much more than the stipend offered by other internships.

As I leave Urban Gateways to return to University, the incredible opportunity that I have enjoyed is now available to someone else (jealous!). If this sounds like something that you or someone you know would be interested in, Urban Gateways is now accepting applications for a Marketing and Communications intern for fall 2015! See details & apply now! >>