When you think about Los Angeles, what comes to mind? Most people would probably agree with Jed Clampett‘s famous answer: “swimming pools, movie stars.” But how about the performing arts? Although the film industry gets more press, Los Angeles hosts hundreds of thriving theatres. In fact, LA is home to the greatest concentration of professional actors in the country, even greater than New York City.
This summer, I was fortunate enough to intern at LA Stage Alliance, a service organization dedicated to supporting over 300 performing arts institutions through community building, collaborative marketing, audience development, professional development, and advocacy. My job was part of the LA County Arts Commission annual student internship program, which allows arts organizations of all genres around the city to hire undergraduate students for a 10-week paid summer internship. Thanks to the County, I got to spend my summer researching and developing extensive studies about the relationship between businesses and the arts in Los Angeles, which gave me an incredibly in-depth look at the arts community and how it functions. Best of all, I was able to tag along when my boss went to meet with community redevelopment committees, county officials, and high-profile donors (Sony Pictures’ headquarters are gorgeous).
You’ve probably heard before that building a career is all about the connections you make. This summer, I finally understand how true that is. The arts industry in particular is extraordinarily connected; everyone seems to know everyone and news travels fast. In one summer I met dozens of influential people in the arts community and was able to contribute to that community’s development in a very tangible way. Definitely beats working at Panera Bread, my summer job in high school.
Internships are not just for the summer, though. CUarts regularly updates a list of arts industry Jobs and Internships opportunities right here in New York. Current listings include positions at Harper’s Magazine, Maximum Entertainment Productions, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. For the spring, I’ve got my eye on Columbia Arts Experience, an internship program created by CUarts and the Center for Career Education. CAE provides selected students with paid spring internships at some amazing NYC cultural institutions, such as the Apollo, Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim, and Lincoln Center.
Darcy Zacharias, CC ’10