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March 24th, 2014

Internship Reflections: Eva Avenue

Eva was an intern in the Fall of 2013 in SITE’s Education and Outreach department. Here is her reflection:

My Extremely Long-Overdue SITE Internship Reflection Essay

As an artist who has always worked in arts administration to some capacity, it was a natural move to apply for an internship at SITE after I woke in my New Orleans home to find a bed intruder with his arm around me who had broken into the house at 3:50am. With great luck, I escaped the situation and wanted to leave town immediately, so I am very grateful SITE wanted me as an intern!

I had wanted to help out at SITE ever since 2005 when I walked into the Stephen Bush painting show and fell head-over-heels for the place, thinking scary thoughts such as, ‘Oh God, what if I never end up working here?’ Everything about SITE is so delightfully artistic, philosophically cutting-edge, professional, and clearly executed from a place of love—I was a little sad that the curatorial department wasn’t taking interns, but it was all a lucky turn of events that SITE’s education department took me on instead.

In the education department, I had the sincere pleasure of working with the cheery and patient-but-focused intern coordinator, Amanda Lee, the education department head, Joanne Lefrak, and a classy Leslie Knope of her own department, always championing on someone’s behalf, overseeing that all runs as smoothly as possible. No victory was too small to warrant an eager rejoicing.

I was thrilled they let me hand-design and hand-paint program advertisements, announcements, and signs, which were also scanned to use online. Additionally, I made a ‘zine by hand (with a few false completions due to not catching some necessary edits) based on bird paintings by high-school students in conjunction with the art show installed at SITE at the time, The Pearl by Enrique Martinez Celaya.

I helped with some artist research and writing/editing, reviewed lecture series videos for technical glitches, sat in on a Young Curators meeting to help facilitate art show brainstorming, and also got to help Arlene in the Events and Development office with SITE’s micro-granting award dinner, SPREAD. I was in charge of hundreds of lemons.

But, I mostly loved sitting at the front desk during the regular front-deskman’s lunch hour. I could greet and talk with all the people who came through the doors, because I know coming through the doors of SITE is a little adrenaline rush along the lines of What great art discoveries will I come upon within these walls!? And I liked to uphold the history, curiosity, and professionalism of the place.

Some things I learned from my 4 ½ months at SITE include the role board members play in keeping such a place running, the large amount of behind-the-scenes planning and financial outlining that goes into putting on art shows of the caliber one finds at places such as SITE, how to get along with others in an office setting, and the value of people stating their expectations up front. Thank you, SITE, for the great contemporary art museum education and lasting memories to cement the lessons of these invaluable experiences of working together toward a common, expanding vision for the arts!