Friday, June 13, 2014

Baltimore City Paper

My name is Helgi Olgeirsson and I am a Photography major. Being the media addict that I am, I first got wind of the CityPaper when reading and comparing papers shortly after moving here, it was there for no wonder that I jumped at the first opportunity to see a MICA talk by its staff photographers Joe Giordano. After his talk I approached him and asked him about Internship opportunities this coming semester and stated my interested, I must have typed his email in wrong for he never responded to my first email and 2 weeks later Nate, my photo teacher forwards me an email where Joe had been asking to get in touch with me regarding an Internship.

Everything got Ironed out and I started my internship in February, then the paper was operating in the
old building, a cozy townhouse where every corner and closet had been turned into an office or and I
could have sworn that one office still had the bathroom tiles and mirror on the wall.

The City Paper is a small but tight knitted organization and everything is extremely personal, the close working quarters make for interesting employ conversations and email memos were nowhere as
frequently used as one would assume.

It was there for a strange feeling when one morning I walked in to learn that we had been bought out by Tribune, the owners of the Baltimore Sun and we were leaving the building moving to the Sun building within two weeks. But now the entire CityPaper was fitted within one newsroom and people were even closer and working even more efficiently then before and after having it confirmed that the new owners would not try to influence our content this buyout turned out to be a great thing.

My Boss was Joe Giordano, the staff photographer; his unique style is from my perspective as important to the paper as anything else. He also oversees the online media galleries and has taught me that a photographer cannot just be a photographer anymore, we need to be multitasking media machines capable of working audio, video and photo and preferably write and edit as well.

I am proud of my work for the paper and every picture published be it online or in print with my name as a “byline” brings a smile to my face, having had the privilege of working side by side with great writers and editors to create a full page story with a large image by me is even better, there is just something about being allowed to be a part of the entire process.

My time at the CityPaper has been great and it’s only confirmed what I knew already about my future that I want to work as a photojournalist and I believe the connections and the skills I acquired there have and will help me in my future.

The Monument Quilt

My name is Karyn Lao and I am a Junior Fiber Major with Concentrations in both Interactive Arts and Sustainability & Social Practice. This spring, I had the opportunity to intern for The Monument Quilt. The Monument Quilt is a public healing space by and for survivors of rape and abuse. Stories of survivors are stitched together to not only create a platform to share, but to create a new culture where survivors are publicly supported, rather than publicly shamed. In 2016, the thousands of quilt squares that are collected will blanket over one mile of the National Mall to spell “NOT ALONE”. I learned about internship and volunteer opportunities for The Monument Quilt after I backed their Kickstarter in the summer of 2013. Prior to the Kickstarter, I knew about the project from co-founder, Hannah Brancato who was also my Art Matters teacher when I was a Foundation student. I submitted a cover letter and resume to Hannah and had a phone interview scheduled a week after before I was assigned as a Studio Intern and Volunteer Coordinator.

Throughout the internship, my responsibilities at The Monument Quilt developed as the studio began to take shape and breathe a life of its own. At the beginning stages, I, along with other volunteers, helped clean, paint, and furnish what
was once the old Station North Thrift Store. I helped figure out the layout of the studio as well as come up with systems for the quilts to be backed, grommet, and ready for display. It was busy during the first 2 months as we were preparing for the One Billion Rising event in DC. For that event, we had to present the first 25 quilts, as well as sew other components that would accompany the stories submitted. I was in charge of sewing three interactive blankets that people could sit, write and reflect when the quilts were displayed. After OBR, most of the time in the studio was spent organizing materials in the space by building shelves, assembling boxes, and storing the blankets. Now that the studio is presentable, I have spent more time coming up with ways to recruit volunteers into the space. For the month of April, we hosted Saturday workshops where people can come in and make their own quilt squares.

It is amazing to think how far the project has come! At the start of the internship, I was painting the walls of an old thrift store and now we are holding workshops for groups to come together to share, heal, and support. This experience has taught me the importance of unity and the people-power it takes to run a completely volunteer, non-profit project. I cherish the relationships that I have built over the past 5 months. I thank Hannah for our discussions for they have helped me articulate my practice as community artist and growth as an individual. I proudly continue to volunteer for The Monument Quilt to fight for safe spaces and to remind
individuals that they are not alone.


           My name is Chris Fortney and I am a Senior Painting Major. I found out about the internship opportunity with GKV through my Dad. He manages at a manufacturing plant in Baltimore, and the guy who used to own the place is friends with the CEO of GKV, Robert Grey. They communicated with each other on my behalf, and then an interview was set with one of the head Creative Directors. I met Roger after the interview, and he offered me the internship with GKV.

GKV is a full-on advertising firm that handles everything for their clients, from the conception of an idea to it’s completion in any media. My direct supervisors were the digital art directors, and I worked closest with Brent Williams. His role is to translate the ad campaigns into digital advertisements for web and smartphone application. I was responsible for a lot of leg work, because much of the digital side of design happens in multiples. There may be a single ad that says the same thing, but it needs to be built five different times at different sizes, resolutions and with slight variations. I was given creative freedom where I could take it, and mostly worked at the computer with Photoshop creating or editing designs.
I’m proud of a lot of the work that I did at GKV! I think I was able to complete my end of the projects quickly enough, and I became close with Brent in the process. I’ve taken a lot away from GKV, and have learned through discussions with Brent a lot of creative strategies to finding a job as a graphic designer. In a way, it really has clarified my goals for a career outside of fine art. 

Nathan’s Forge

My name is Caroline Kable and I am a Senior Environmental Design Major with an emphasis in object design. Over the winter/spring months I worked for Nick Vincent at Nathan’s Forge in Westminster, Maryland blacksmithing. Last year I took a year off and took a community college course where I became interested in metal work. I did some bronze casting and welding which was more of an introduction to metal as a medium than a thorough understanding of it. I decided to further my knowledge in the field and heard about Nick who has a shop near my parents. He was interested in taking an intern so we very quickly got to work.

We worked every day starting at 8am over my winter break until 3 or 4 pm typically. Nick works alone so everything I learned he taught me. Starting off I had to learn the basics. I began by hand forging hooks which turned out to be a lot tougher than it looks. Working with a hammer and hot metal takes a great amount of practice to build up the strength and muscle memory to have consistent strong hits where you want them to be. Learning to use the forge and heat the metal was really interesting. I learned about properties of steel and part of the processes it goes through before we would purchase it. Nick doesn’t do too much of the traditional forging work but put me in touch with some that do at the Farm Museum in Westminster.

It turned out that I quickly got better at welding than Nick, so I did a lot of welding work which I was very excited about. I got to use both a TIG and MIG welder. It worked out well since I am only slightly interested in hand forging and more interested in larger metal fabrication such as furniture and functional objects that don’t really utilize hand forging other than for decoration/ornament. I learned to make parts for a large variety of objects such as lamps to napkin holders to a large variety of hooks and hinges. I learned a great deal about how to manipulate metal and have become very comfortable with it as a medium. Nick has asked me to come back and work for him as an employee this summer.

Overall it was a great experience and I hope to further my skills with metal. I also am excited to be able to have time to create my own work since Nick allows me access to the shop.

Current Space Darkroom

My name is Emily Mason and I am a Senior Photography Major. For the past year I have been working as an assistant for the founder of the Current Space Darkroom, Ginevra Shay, in
Baltimore. I first heard of the position at Current Space from my teacher’s assistant in a photography class who was also involved with the Current Space darkroom. Through speaking to
him I was able to set up an interview with Ginevra to discuss my interest. Shortly after meeting with Ginevra she asked me my availability and started working the next week.

At Current Space I was responsible for finalizing the building of the darkroom, emailing Kickstarter donators, attending show opening, installing/de-intalling shows, acting as dark room tech/assistant, acting as curatorial assistant, and designing T-shirts for kickstarter donors. Through out this year long internship there were a lot of bumps in the road that prevented us from opening up the darkroom on time. Though the wait was long, I am most proud of my time spent assisting Ginevra in teaching the first darkroom class. It was very inspiring to see strangers learn and create a final product using the medium of photography.

Interning at Current Space was a very important experience. I most valued my time becoming a part of a community space that encourages art making. It was inspiring to see the studios of the local artists making work constantly even after graduating. In helping our community thrive, art must be apart of the growth. Working at Current Space has made me realize the reward of making the creation of art possible amongst a supportive art community.

Jessup Correctional Institution (JCI)

My name is Shelby Norton and I am an Interdisciplinary Sculpture. During my freshman year I took a class called Community Arts Partnership (CAP): Finding Baltimore. An advocate for restorative justice came to talk to the class with a psychologist from the city jail. He liked what we were doing in the class and arranged for us to meet with the art group at Patuxent Institution in Jessup, MD. It was a pivotal moment for the way I view art and my career path. To this day, Dr. McCamant is a dear friend and mentor. I worked with him for a year through the CAP program at the Baltimore City Detention Center in the ward of psychiatric health as an art therapy intern building community. The jail was in unrest with Big Gorilla Family (BGF) scandals, and Dr. McCamant had been petitioning against some of the warden’s unjust decisions when he was asked to resign from that position. He continued to work for the state at JCI, but I didn’t work with him for a full year. I was interested in getting back into the line of work, but was out of touch with Dr. McCamant. I heard that a MICA professor, Mikita Brottman, was doing groups at JCI, so I contacted her and asked to be her intern. After it was approved, I invited both Dr. McCamant and Mikita to an art opening at Gallery 405 where they met and discussed working together.

JCI was a very different experience. The security at the front gate, similar to BCDC, was as tight or as loose as the guard felt necessary. The security on the tier was much more safe. Though it was aggravating to have Sgt. Lynn breathing down my neck about bringing nothing in and taking nothing out (including art materials), I felt safe knowing she was down the hall and paying attention. Only on one occasion when Sgt. Lynn wasn’t in and Sgt. Moore was assigned to the tier did I leave the classroom to realize there wasn’t a guard anywhere nearby, and by this time I felt 110% safe with the men. It was my job, if I wanted it, to run the Art Group with Renaissance Ren. For these groups it took me a few days to figure out what exactly the men wanted me to contribute to the pre-existing weekly meeting, but I quickly realized that they wanted to be exposed to some of the institutional education I have been privileged to have. I was hesitant to go in and take over when they already had a good thing going, but they like the structure and the pace of the lessons and critiques modeled after some of my professors at MICA.  We did quick figure drawing, gesture, and portrait lessons to try to break down some of the photo-realistic habits in the room. We created two zines as a group to be distributed in the library and at the Alloverstreet event at the Copycat building in Station North. We also conducted group critiques at the end of the semester to discuss the personal directions of each artist. At the literature group on Tuesdays I act as Mikita’s intern, taking notes from the group, facilitating discussions about the readings, and transcribing recordings from Clifton Perkins Forensic Hospital which I do not have clearance to attend. I had the perfect balance of observing by being an intern for one group and putting into practice my leadership skills in the other
I am the most proud of the ways in which I have grown and adapted to a new group of men with very different needs than the detention center. The men in this group are artists, just as I am. They all have very different interests and needs, which was a challenge to accommodate in each lesson, but by the end of the semester I think I was able to be of some value to each student in the room, if nothing else as a resource with access to the MICA library. I am proud every time one of the guys thanks me and tells me that they hadn’t seen the guys this energetic about their art in years.

I love this work. I can see myself continuing to volunteer in this line of work throughout my career. I don’t think I will ever work for the institution as an employee after seeing what an uphill battle it has been for Dr. McCamant. I have seen from the detention center that I love the therapeutic potential of art in a group, and at JCI I have learned to value the therapeutic benefits as an individual process for the artist that may take the form of any other kind of expression for a different individual. As a therapist I hope to be able to relate to all forms of expression rather than burrowing myself in the niche that is art therapy. Art therapy is something the men were doing at JCI long before I arrived on the scene. 


Herman Maril Foundation

My name is Peter Favinger and I am a junior Drawing Major. During the spring of 2014 I
have had the opportunity to be an intern at the Herman Maril Foundation, a foundation dedicated to the life work of Baltimore native and MICA alumni Herman Maril. The foundation is run by Herman’s son, David Maril. The foundation appeared at the the internship fair in the spring of 2013. Upon seeing the internship listed on the MICA website, I knew I wanted to work at the foundation. Dressing in a suit and tie, I presented myself in the most professional manner as I possibly could to David, gave him my resume, card, and a cd of my artwork and conversed with him at his booth for several minutes. Before leaving to view other internship booths I was offered a chance to meet again with David discussing the internship in more depth at his home in Mt. Washington, Baltimore. The home is also the location of Herman Maril’s studio, and
former winter and spring home in the city.

David has been my direct supervisor within the Herman Maril Foundation, as he is the head of the Foundation. Each day I come to the work site, David and I recap what we had done the previous day and continue to work on what wasn’t completed prior. For a large part of the internship I had been documenting Herman’s artwork that wasn’t logged in the personal database for record purposes. Currently David and I are cleaning up the estate, organizing book shelves according to those related to Herman Maril, and others that he had interest in reading that are related to the art world.

Through working at the Herman Maril Foundation I have had the opportunity to help set up a solo exhibition of Herman’s work at the University of Maryland University College with the help of a curator from the David Findlay Jr. Gallery in New York City. The gallery represents Herman and they sent their gallery manager down to UMUC to curate the show, and I was fortunate enough to help choose some pieces and hang up some of Herman’s work.

This internship has given me a chance to take a step into the fine art world, to see how an artists estate is run, and how artwork is appraised. I have enjoyed working at the foundation having the chance to help categorize and organize an artists entire life work. I am very fortunate to have had this opportunity, and I’m very proud to say David Maril has offered me a part-time job working as an employee working at the Herman Maril Foundation, starting immediately once the internship has ended. This internship has helped shape what career path I want to pursue. The gallery world and the life of a practicing artist is a very exciting concept to me, and it is something I wish to become.