In addition to the best professors and classes, many students say that what they need in college is an internship that will offer them “real world experience.” But what happens when the world is a little UNreal? For two of CVPA’s Arts Administration students it was a no-brainer: pivot and get placed in virtual internships.
Katie Grischow came to UNCG to study with Dr. Erika Boysen, and is pursuing a dual degree in Flute Performance and Arts Administration with a Minor in Business. The Nash County, NC native is on track to graduate this May.
“I hope to have a career that is somewhat equally split between an arts administration career and performing. I’m not completely sure what this will look like yet, but I’m excited to be able to have different areas to pull from to create my career. A more specific area that interests me is leadership in summer music festivals.”
Katie knew that to make that dream a reality, it would help to do an internship. So she went to Tennessee — in an online way — to work at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival where she helped develop marketing content, researched ways to diversify the student and faculty base, and worked on the annual report.
“As someone who had only experienced summer music festivals from the student perspective, it was so interesting to see what the staff and faculty were doing behind the scenes. I loved being about to see how different people were able to make their careers in arts administration, especially considering that degree programs are fairly new. Despite the circumstances, I learned invaluable lessons about how summer music festivals function. Everyone was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, which made me wish that much more that I could have met them in person!”
Arts Administration major and Music minor, Domanique McMillan is a senior from Fayetteville. She says she chose CVPA because she wanted her studies to combine artistry and administration.
“Ultimately, I envision myself having a career in a higher education setting, advising and recruiting students who are interested in pursuing the performing arts. I also have strong interest in non-profit organizations that work diligently to make the beauty of the fine arts accessible.”
Like Grischow, McMillan realized that an internship would help her along that path. She spent six weeks this summer with the Davis Shakespeare Festival in Davis, CA.
“The opportunities that I had in this internship will be incredibly beneficial. I have learned so much about theatre in the literary, historical, methodical, and administrative sense. I also had the opportunity to actively participate in programming a digital theatre season with other students from all over the country.”
McMillan says she learned far more than just the technical aspects of a good arts organization:
My internship supervisors were dedicated to creating a community of inclusion, diversity, and education. We had many conversations about the impact that arts administrators have in breaking through the non-inclusive barriers of the fine arts, and how the arts are for all people. This is the type of forward-thinking organization that I want to find myself in after graduation.”
Arts Administration Director Hannah Grannemann says the arts organizations that offered her students virtual internships created a great experience for the students:
“ The internships were thoughtfully and purposefully structured to offer meaningful interaction with the staff and fellow interns. It’s already a new experience for our students to work at an arts organization for the first time, so it was an extra challenge to do that work virtually. The students jumped in eagerly and enthusiastically. Both the organizations and students felt that the internships were successful.”
Grannemann adds that this is just the beginning for this kind of pivot:
“Virtual and hybrid virtual/in-person internships are going to continue throughout this pandemic. We are incorporating remote work skills into our Arts Administration courses to anticipate the changing world of work in which our students will enter.”
To see some of the projects that Katie Grischow and Domanique McMillan worked on this summer you can see The Sewannee Summer Music Festival annual report here and the Davis Shakespeare Festival’s Digital Season here.