Friday, November 2, 2012

Charm City Craft Mafia


My name is Liberty Riggs and I'm a Senior Art History Major. Over the summer of 2012 I worked as the 'Intern Extraordinaire' for the Charm City Craft Mafia. The Craft Mafia is an organization comprised of thirteen local artists who, in addition to maintain their own studio practices, work collectively to coordinate two juried art fairs each year; Holiday Heap in December and Pile of Craft in June. This internship position was brought to my attention through an email from my department chair in April of 2012. I submitted my résumé, cover letter, and work samples directly to Carly Goss, the Mafia's internship coordinator, via email. Carly contacted me two days later to schedule an interview for the first week of May. Two days after our informal interview over coffee, Carly contacted me again to offer me the position.



As an intern with the Charm City Craft Mafia, I was responsible for managing several kinds of tasks. My primary function was to be available as a studio intern for each of the thirteen artists. Through this opportunity I was able to experience a number of new techniques, including natural dye processes, weaving techniques, new quilting and painting techniques, among others. My secondary task was to act as a public liaison for the Craft Mafia in preparation for the Pile of Craft Event. I drafted and distributed a press release about the event, contacted authors of community newsletters, and distributed poster and postcard advertisements for the event at local businesses. As part of this role I was also asked to contact select local businesses about donating as sponsors of the event in exchange for a promotional spotlight post on the Mafia blog (which I was then responsible for writing). I was also involved in the set-up and breakdown of Pile of Craft, and manned the information table and raffle ticket sales throughout the event.

My internship with the Charm City Craft Mafia was valuable in so many ways, many of which I did not anticipate. Not only did I gain indispensable professional skills through my preparation for and participation in the Pile of Craft event, as well as being able to learn and experiment in a variety of studio disciplines, this internship also allowed me to learn so much more about Baltimore and the art scene therein. Most of the artists involved in the Mafia have their studios in their homes, so as I worked in each studio I was forced to explore new neighborhoods that I may not have experienced otherwise. Additionally, many of the members participated in many fairs other than Pile of Craft throughout the summer, which gave me the opportunity to work in a series of different commercial environments and situations. The Mafia members themselves gave me thirteen unique, and successful models for creating an artistic career, and I believe that I will keep many of them not only as professional contacts, but lifelong friends.