Submitted by students, these are previous internship experiences told first-hand.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Whitelock Community Farm

My name is Allie Linn and I am a junior Interdisciplinary Sculpture major at MICA with an Art History minor and a Sustainability and Social Practices concentration. During the summer of 2012, I interned at Whitelock Community Farm, a local urban farm in Reservoir Hill, to further my knowledge of urban agriculture. I began working at Whitelock Community Farm this past semester through Hugh Pocock’s Baltimore Urban Farming class, and I found myself instantly drawn to doing manual labor while also engaging in the community in the pursuit to provide the neighborhood with access to locally grown and affordable produce. In some ways, I see it as completely separate from my artistic pursuits, but in other ways, I believe the two go hand in hand. The farm and its mission make up an entire, long-term design project that represents the type of work I want to be making, and I saw continuing to work at Whitelock as an opportunity to further my knowledge of community arts and urban agriculture.

I talked to the farm’s manager, Elisa, about the possibility of interning at the farm over the summer, and she was very enthusiastic about the idea. Although it is only about two years old and a quarter of an acre in scale, Whitelock Community Farm functions just as a large-scale farm would. There was a goal of harvesting six thousand pounds of fruits and vegetables this growing season, and it has nearly been met. Bamboo trellises of string beans and cucumbers, beds of kale and beets, and green houses filled with microgreens and herbs fill the premises, maximizing the small amount of space. Every Saturday, there is a market stand where neighbors can stop by, even using food stamps, EBT and SNAP to buy produce, and the local corner store, which once only sold soda and snacks, now carries eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and onions from the farm. Produce is sold at the Waverly farmers market through the Baltimore Farm Alliance, and the farm’s approximately fifteen CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members receive a heaping back of groceries weekly. Whitelock’s number one concern is providing Reservoir Hill’s residents with real, healthy food, and it is this commitment to community that I was drawn to.

At the farm, I worked alongside Elisa Lane, the farm manager, to assist in carrying out all of the necessary duties, including weeding, watering, seeding new plants, transplanting early plants from the greenhouse to the hoop house or the hoop house to outside, caring for diseased plants, laying down new irrigation, harvesting produce, washing and bunching produce for markets, managing the Saturday market stand, weighing and documenting the harvested produce, representing the farm at various events, and painting the new shed. I was able to learn all of the basics of farming in the city in the process, as well as how to turn farming into a profitable business.

More than anything, this internship was an amazing opportunity for becoming much more engaged in Baltimore’s agriculture community. Urban farming has become increasingly popular in recent years all around the country as people have begun questioning the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops, and it is especially promising in Baltimore City, where so many so-called “food deserts” limit access to healthy food and instead promote obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The movement towards fresh, local food in Baltimore is surprisingly large, though not always advertised, and working at Whitelock this summer exposed me to a number of groups and organizations dedicated to this local food revolution. In some ways, agriculture is a dying industry in the United States, but in other regards, it is one that is just beginning to experience a renaissance. It may not be the most lucrative or respected career choice in the country, but I find it to be a very humbling one as well a necessary one. I know I will always continue to create art, but I certainly hope that the desire to grow my own food will always remain as well. Interning at Whitelock Community Farm this summer helped me to acquire a number of skills related to urban farming, but it also helped me to realize the necessity of gardening and farming in my own life.

I would strongly recommend working at a local farm, such as Whitelock, to MICA students interested in urban agriculture. There is a lot to be learned with so many limitations of an urban environment, and it really raises awareness and appreciation for where and how our food is grown.

Social Impact Studios

One of my closest friends from home, Jonah, interned at Social Impact Studios (formerly known
as Design for Social Impact) in Philadelphia for two summers in a row. He always seemed to have a good experience with the organization, and I was interested in the work that they do.  Jonah put in a good word for me, and I sent Ennis, the founder and director of the studio, my resume, cover letter, and work samples. Soon enough, I became their newest Summer intern. Social Impact Studios’ slogan is “We Communicate Good.” Thus, they use Graphic Design and clear, meaningful language to create identities and other materials for non-profit and for-profit organizations. Ennis and James were both my supervisors. I primarily worked with James, the creative director until he left at the end of July.

I was responsible for editing drafts of design work, creating different formats of what was already created, for example turning a brochure into a postcard or poster, organizing the archives of design work that the organization has completed over the past twenty years, and completing tasks around the office. In addition, I helped hang a gallery show for the traveling Posters for the People exhibition that Social Impact Studios presents, and I accompanied them to Social Media workshops that Ennis and the team also provide to other organizations in the area. I am most proud of the logos that I designed, because I had never designed logos before, and they trusted me to create some ideas for Public Interest Relations Group. 

Most importantly, I was able to see what a real-world Graphic Design studio is like and how they function. It was very integral that I was actually in the office completing my tasks, because even if I wasn’t doing the most exciting work, I was still seeing Ennis and James interact with clients and run a successful organization. This internship has given me an idea of what I want when I graduate, as I know that I don’t necessarily want to design for small theatre companies and similar organizations, and I want to be in a more design/art focused place, but also work closely with the community.

-Marcy Gooberman '14, Graphic Design

Comedy Central

My name is Alena Jaffe and I am now a senior Graphic Design major with concentrations in Printmaking and Book Arts. This past summer I was the one intern in the Off-Air Graphics Department at Comedy Central (Viacom). To get this internship I applied online at Viacom and submitted my resume, portfolio, and answered a series of questions. A woman in the College Relations department at Viacom got me in touch with Angelina Battista, the Brand Creative Director for Comedy Central, who then contacted me. I then had a phone interview with Angelina and was hired over the phone!

At Comedy Central I worked in the Off-Air Graphics department, which is the department that works on all of the print based media for Comedy Central. This includes: subway ads, billboards, website banners, invitations, logos, and promotional materials. My roles in the department involved attending meetings, brainstorm sessions, and helping design anything from logos to invitations. The projects that I am most proud of are helping with the design of the Roast of Roseanne invitation and logo as well as the Reel Works Gala Benefit invitation and logo. These projects allowed me to really understand how an entire office and creative group have to work together in all different fields of knowledge to really create the best possible solution for the project.
Comedy Central really helped me to understand the kind of work that I could be perusing when I graduate from MICA. I was able to learn not only communication skills, but also how to stand behind my ideas and not be afraid to voice my opinion on things. Most importantly, I have learned that working as a team is most always better than secluding yourself and trying to solve problems on your own. Everyone in my office was more than helpful and gave me advice and knowledge about projects and life after college that I am so grateful to have been given. 
My experience at Comedy Central was one that I will forever look back on and be able to say that my internship prepared me for graduating MICA, and what to expect when going out into the field of Graphic Design.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Boom! Studios

This summer I interned at Boom! Studios in Los Angeles. I found out about the internship online – one of the editors at Boom, Shannon Watters, follows my Tumblr blog and when I posted that I was looking for an internship, she reached out to me and let me know about their internship program. We emailed back and forth for a while, then I submitted my resume and did a phone interview with the rest of the company and was offered the position a few days later. Boom! Studios is a top-ten comics publishing company – they publish everything from superhero comics to indie titles to all-ages comics, including one of their current headliners, the Adventure Time comics. 

It is a fairly small company, and the atmosphere is very laid back. Shannon was my direct supervisor, and really took me under her wing. As an editor and an industry insider, she gave me a lot of advice and introduced me to a lot of comic professionals, as well as showing me around LA. 

I got along very well with everyone at the company and felt very comfortable while I was there. I was a design intern, so I worked with the graphic designs on single issues, trades, and whatever other projects that needed designing. Once I got the hang of the programs, the designers entrusted me with a variety of projects, from creating editorials to designing a Comic-Con flier to eventually doing most of the design work on a Garfield trade. At Comic-Con, I helped work the booth, which was a lot of fun.

I was most proud of my performance at Comic-Con, since making connections is very important in comics and I did a lot of networking and got to know all the other employees at Boom! very well.

I think networking was my biggest take-away from this experience – especially since my experience ended in the best possible scenario, with the offer from Boom! to continue a relationship with me as a professional. I forged a lot of connections within the comics and entertainment industries, and made a lot of great friends as well. I understand the technical and business side of comics a lot better now and made myself known as an up-and-coming comic artist, which was the goal from the beginning.

-Noelle Stevenson '13, Illustration

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center

For the duration of the summer I interned at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. Upon the recommendation of my professors, I applied to Pyramid Atlantic. It is run by Gretchen Schermerhorn, the artistic director, and Jose Dominguez, the executive director. They run a successful community printshop with a relaxed atmosphere.

Pyramid’s core is made up of local artists who volunteer at Pyramid and in return are given free studio time. Pyramid also works with clientele in the community and sponsors community events to better the understanding of art.  There were 7 studio interns including myself. As a studio intern we worked two days a week, and at least 7 hours outside of that towards our own artwork. I was at pyramid usually 4 or 5 days a week. In return we were granted free studio time and 3 credits.

Our work involved cleaning up the studios as well as larger projects. The summer interns had three larger projects. The first was the Sargasso Sea Scrolls which is a collaboration between the Sargasso Sea Alliance and Pyramid Atlantic. We made scrolls of paper, and digitally printed on the sheets. The second project was the annual keepsake mailer, which is mailed out to 4000 people. We created the design for the mailer which we then pulled handmade paper for and screenprinted text onto. The third project was an edition of thirty handmade paper lanterns for “Artspring” a local arts shop in Takoma Park. Most of my time went into making paper for the Sargasso Sea Scrolls and assembling the paper lanterns. I headed up a print trade within the Pyramid Atlantic artist community. The interns designed the folio and we assembled the print trade for 13 individuals. We coordinated a gallery opening in space 10 in Takoma Park Community Center as a conclusion to our internship. We had a successful opening Friday the 10th of August, where our families and friends joined in celebrating our artistic accomplishments of the summer.

The dynamic between the seven interns was very positive. We collaborated really well. There were two other MICA students that interned at Pyramid, which was convenient for the hour long carpool. It was a fun low key environment, but not a second went to waste. Being in this space allowed me to step up to the plate and take responsibility. I learned valuable skills while I worked at Pyramid. I now have a working knowledge of paper making and letterpress, two skills that I had no prior knowledge of. I am excited to integrate these new techniques into my work this next semester. One of the best things I learned at Pyramid was how to make and use paper clay from resident  artist Rebecca Hutchinson.  

Working at Pyramid was eye opening for future opportunities that await.  I am now interested in doing residencies after I graduate. Knowing that shops like Pyramid exist as a space for working artists to be together in a community printshop is important. It was truly worth while to have this practical application of art within a community.  

-Jackie Riccio '14, Printmaking