Using PWR Skills at an Internship with the Alamance County Arts Council

Guest Blogger Hillary Dooley

I am a rising junior and an English major with concentrations in Literature and PWR. For the summer, I wanted to apply the skills I have gained in my classes and take the opportunity to continue to learn so I took an internship at the Alamance County Arts Council. The Arts Council is a beautiful yellow house in Graham, NC, with two galleries featuringImage Courtesy of Alamance County Arts Council new exhibitions every six weeks. There is also a gift shop with items made by local artists, and the Arts Council hosts a wide variety of community events, including wine tasting classes, cooking classes, concerts, exhibition parties, lectures, and much more. At first, I was skeptical about how I could use my PWR skills at an organization that centers on the arts, but I was still excited to get some professional experience and see the ins and outs of an office firsthand.

On my first day, I quickly realized that my assumptions were wrong, and I would be using many of the skills I had learned, particularly those from my CUPID Studio course. I was assigned the task of making a flyer for a Council-sponsored trip, and my first thought was that I was so glad to have learned how to use Publisher this past semester. A lot of information needed to fit on the flyer, so I had to cut out unnecessary information and make sure the pictures were balanced on the page. This project was similar to a rack card I produced with three other students for the American Studies Minor. In both cases, I had to consider the audience when deciding what information to cut. The design was also an important aspect because I wanted the flyer to be effective in recruiting individuals for the trip. Therefore, I used bright colors and pictures. After a few drafts, I had produced a visually appealing and informative flyer that would be sent out to 350 people.

Like any internship, I also do administrative tasks, helping out wherever I can, but after the first few weeks, the Director entrusted me with the task of completing the Annual Report. This is a booklet that lists all the gallery exhibitions, community events, partnerships in the community, education classes, grants, fundraisers, scholarships, and contributions that the Arts Council has had the past year. I was confident that I could complete this large task because earlier this year I had worked on the CELEBRATE! program booklet, which gave me experience placing a large amount of information in a deliverable. I started by compiling all the events and projects that the Arts Council has been a part of throughout the year by going through every newsletter. That was the easy part.

Next, I had to put it all into a booklet, which is an incredibly detail oriented, 20 page document with several fonts, colors, sizes, and photos. The booklet from last year was produced in InDesign, and it looked very professional. I don’t know how to use InDesign and the office doesn’t have the program, so Publisher it was. Reflecting on this, I think I will take the time to learn InDesign before I graduate. Although I may not want to focus on creating visual documents in my professional career, it will be a good skill to have, as seen in this case. I had a template to work from and examples from the last few years, which has been helpful.

Putting it all together requires time, but I had done a smaller project similar to this in my Understanding Rhetoric class. For the class, I made a communication guide for how to successfully use rhetoric, so I have had some practice creating a visual document like this. The purpose of that document was to teach the audience skills for communicating. The Annual Report is meant to inform the audience by displaying all of the Arts Council’s accomplishments over the last year. Although these two products have different end goals, the process of compiling information, figuring out how to present it, and then designing a deliverable was the same.

I have just started working on the visual aspect of the Annual Report, but I am confident I have the skills to produce a professional piece that will be distributed to all of the Board Members. I am also thankful to be able to put this document in my portfolio.

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