My name is Emilia Pennanen and I am a senior Photography major. During the Fall 2014, I was Event Photographer and Curator Intern for EMP Collective, a non-profit artist run art organization based in the Downtown Baltimore. Since I came to Baltimore in Spring 2013 I have wanted to be part of the gallery and art space scene; the way things are run in Baltimore are so different from the clean cut spaces back in Helsinki and London. I started to look around different spaces and their needs for interns, and through a dear friend and now a fellow EMP Collective member, I got an introduction with the Collective’s artist director Carly Bales. I got the spot.
EMP Collective is a multifaceted art space. It is a gallery, it is a theatre space, it is a performance salon, it is a haunted house… EMP Collective is interested in showing different kinds of art, not just a regular painting show or a photography exhibition. More than anything, EMP Collective is a place where the most adventurous art is made to seen for the public. It is also a non-profit organization, which complies directly with the things they want to show, because that is all that they want to show, because that is what the people behind the Collective love.
My direct supervisor was Carly Bales who is the artist director at EMP Collective. She takes care of all of the promotion of the space and events happening in the Collective, she does the scheduling for the events, shows, and exhibitions in the space, and she writes grants for the space and the events. While at EMP, I was working closely with Carly. We started the internship by looking into their calendar and creating two different performance Salon Shows for which I helped her to curate different aspects of the possible themes and artists. Another part of my responsibilities at EMP was working as a Front of House receptionist for the events at the space. In addition to that, I got to do event photography and studio visit photography of a member Collective artist.
The biggest take-away from this internship has definitely been the experience of seeing creative people being able to work in the world as artists through the power of a collective space and collective energy. The different events in the calendar really push everyone to keep moving with the deadlines, rather than getting too indulgent of making different decisions. I have also learned that if I want to make art as my practice, I really have to keep on taking chances on people, because through the power of great relationships art gets to be experienced and seen. That has clarified my goals in life, because all I want is to make art.