Four Reasons to Intern in the Arts | The Washington Center

Four Reasons to Intern in the Arts

You might think interning for an arts organization is the farthest thing from what you want to do. This semester I've learned (by working with other interns at The Kennedy Center) that even people who aren't studying theatre, dance, music or arts management can find a place in an arts organization. Here's why:


1. You don’t need to be an artist.

Appreciating the arts is a must, of course; if you don’t appreciate your work, then you’ll be dissatisfied. However, arts organizations are more than just art. We still need business managers, fundraisers, marketing directors and box office representatives (who are basically the face of the organization in a lot of smaller organizations).


In working at The Kennedy Center this past month, I’ve met plenty of people who never studied theatre, dance, music or even arts administration, but have had wonderful, meaningful careers in a variety of arts organizations prior to starting at the Kennedy Center.


2. Free tickets.

Assuming you do appreciate the arts, this should be a huge selling point (especially considering how expensive tickets can get for a starving intern trying to take in as much art and culture as humanly possible). Some places offer discounts, if not free tickets, but if you can land an internship that will allow you to see their performances for free while you work there, you will not regret it for a second. I finally got to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre (a company I’d only dreamed about getting tickets to previously), all because I work for The Kennedy Center.

BONUS: Some internships allow you to continue getting free or reduced price tickets after you’ve left. The theatre company I worked for in Maine last summer still gives me free tickets when I’m in the area to see their events.


3. You might meet famous people.

Of course this depends on the size and type of organization you’re working at, but local celebrities can be just as cool as nationally/globally known celebrities. I realized this for the first time when I was working for the aforementioned theatre company in Maine, when it seemed like everyone in the surrounding area was jealous of the people I saw and worked with everyday.


Working for arts organizations gets even cooler when you start working for places like the Kennedy Center though and someone like Yo-Yo Ma (pictured below with my fellow intern, Diane) walks through your office to go to a meeting.



4. Access to professionals in leadership positions (in other words, networking goldmine)

In the case of smaller arts organizations, the interns will often be working alongside the people highest up in the company. With larger organizations, such as The Kennedy Center, this isn’t always possible. However, the Kennedy Center is especially helpful as they provide opportunities for us to workshop, interview and, most importantly, learn from those leaders in the company that many of us would not have access to otherwise.

Read Brandi's previous blog posts

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