Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Atlantic Center for the Arts

I am a Senior Painting Major with a minor in Critical Theory. During the summer of  2012, I was an intern at Atlantic Center For the Arts (ACA) in New Smyrna Beach Florida. The ACA is an interdisciplinary artist residency organization that provides visual, literary, and performing artists the facilities and time to work and collaborate. For each three-week residency, has three experienced “Master Artists,” are selected by a council to mentor a group of beginning and mid-career Associates. While ACA’s Advisory Council picks the Masters, the Masters select the Associates from artists who have submitted to the program. Aside from its main campus, ACA also runs a community arts center downtown, which holds events and public lectures, as well as summer art classes. This year ACA has also begun its Community Artists in Residence program.


While I have intended to run a studio practice out of school, I have also wanted to engage with the arts outside of the studio, whether in criticism, museum work and education, or arts administration. I thought that working at an arts organization and residency program would give me a sense of what a residency was like, while being able to explore other territory. I found ACA on the Alliance of Artist Communities database (l would learn later that ACA was a founding member of the Alliance) as well as MICA’s artist residency database. I sent my application, cover letter, and resume to ACA, as well as several other organizations (Chinati Foundation, Headlands, and Anderson Ranch). I was somewhat surprised to hear that I had gotten accepted to the internship without an interview, but accepted the offer a few days later. I had already received interviews from two other residency organizations but I was waiting on their replies.



I had several supervisors at the ACA, though I worked most closely with Nick Conroy who ran programs and exhibitions at the main campus and Ren Morrison, the community outreach coordinator. For Nick and exhibitions, I researched and compiled information on the history of ACA’s founder, Doris Leeper, a visual artist who worked to establish arts organizations and to establish the Canaveral National Seashore. I wrote and designed material for an exhibition about her and the history of the organization for ACA’s 35th anniversary. With Ren, I helped him run the annual two-week Teen Writing Residency, take photos, and prepare printed materials. I also organized and hung the Summer Camp Art exhibition. These were my main activities among a plethora of other tasks. Above all, I found my work for the LeeperExhibition most rewarding, not only because every visitor to the ACA will now be able to learn from it, but also because I was able to explore a rich history of the area, the organization and its founder, and figure out how a large successful organization like the ACA was put together.


My internship was an excellent experience, much in part to my engaging projects, but also because I was able to interact with artists during residency. I was able to gain perspective on producing art outside of school, and learn how the artists of each field differed in their experience of making art. While my communication and skills improved through interaction with co-workers and others, I also benefited from the Doris Leeper Exhibition, as it was a project that required strong verbal and organizational skills in order to effectively convey information. That being said, my internship has confirmed my speculation that I would like to work in a career other than administration. I am now more inclined towards my original goal when coming to MICA– to teach art and criticism at the collegiate level.  

-Jacob Weinberg '12 Painting