Winoka Begay is a PhD student studying Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies at UNM . She worked as an intern in SITE’s External Affairs Department during the fall of 2015. Below she reflects on her experience at SITE upon completing her internship.
The museum has always been a safe space for a person like me. My dad was an artist, my grandparents were artists, and creativity is just something that flows through the veins of my family tree. Unfortunately, it must have skipped a generation, because I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. But, I have always been a fan of the arts, a regular museum visitor, and always enjoyed immersing myself in the artists’ reflection, their souls, and their minds. So, when I applied to become a SITE intern, I wanted to go beyond the lens of a visitor; I wanted to go “behind the scenes” of the museum life. This is where it begins.
I began my internship in fall of 2015; one major project I worked on while interning in the external affairs department was SITE’s fall installment of “20 Years/ 20 Shows.” When I walked into the external affairs department, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My knowledge of social media platforms and my experience in graphic design and web development gave me the confidence to tackle any task that was given to me; however, I later learned that the process for preparing for a new exhibition was far more daunting and time intensive than I expected. Yet, I enjoyed every moment of it. A majority of the work I did in this department revolved around the preparation of compiling a press kit for Fall 20/20. I was given multiple tasks, which included editing and formatting the Fall press release to designing an event page on the SITE website for the “Susan Silton and the Crowing Hens” performance, as well as designing an image sheet and helping put together press kits that would be mailed out to major media outlets. The rest of my time was spent working on everyday office tasks such as monitoring press coverage, creating press clippings, archiving press clippings from previous shows and events, as well as website work such as editing webpages or adding new pages to the SITE website. Regardless, there was always something to do in the external affairs department and I enjoyed every moment of it.
Overall, my time spent at SITE was a definite learning experience that has provided me with a different perspective on the museum culture that, as said before, goes beyond the lens of a visitor. I got a taste of that museum life, and now I’m addicted.