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B-HIP announces call for applications for arts internships

03/24/2010

NORTH ADAMS, MA - The Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP), an initiative of the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), celebrates its fifth-year anniversary this summer. The program is accepting applications for arts internships this summer. The deadline to apply is April 15.

B-HIP is a structured summer internship course that helps to integrate theoretical concepts and real-world experience. An intensive 12-week program, B-HIP combines an internship component with a seminar in art management, talk backs with the area's leading arts professionals and participation in cultural events throughout Berkshire County.

Seventy-five interns have successfully completed the program in the last five years. Approximately one-quarter of those interns are completing their education and about half of the interns now work in and around the arts. A growing number of interns stay in the Berkshires, taking positions in the region's expanding creative economy.

Two students who successfully completed this program include Helena Fruscio, director of the Berkshire Creative Economy Council (Berkshire Creative) in Pittsfield, and Erin Dougherty, the coordinator of public programs at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Ga.

Fruscio said B-HIP built the bridge she needed to start her creative career in Berkshire County.

"B-HIP provided direct connections, training and insight into my field and placed me in an internship with Berkshire Creative," Fruscio said. "Since that time, I have continued my work with the organization, and today I have grown into the position of the director. I am grateful to MCLA and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center for the creation of this amazing program to which I owe my career."

According to Dougherty, "BHIP helped me immensely by placing me at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). There I was able to learn from and grow under Laura Thompson's leadership and guidance. Although I was just an intern, I was given the opportunity to learn how to work as a professional in a museum setting. That experience helped me to realize exactly what I wanted to do and what working in a 'real' museum is like."

Interns work in a multitude of administrative capacities - including development, marketing, public relations and programming - as they gain hands-on experience in the field of arts management. Internships are tailored to suite each intern's needs, interests and talents. Former interns have worked at institutions such as The Clark Art Institute, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), Berkshire Living Magazine, The Colonial Theatre, and Shakespeare and Company.

According to Joseph Thompson, founder and director of MASS MoCA, "B-HIP gives form and organization to something that's been true for decades: the Berkshires are one of this country's most fertile and vibrant regions for training young arts professionals. By inter-relating the excellent internship programs that take place across the county - B-HIP creates a rich and unique context for teaching arts management."

Rebecca Wehry, who served a B-HIP internship at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield and who works in the development office at MASS MoCA, said she "strongly benefited" from participating in B-HIP. "I created professional connections in addition to learning about running a theatre," she said.

And, according to Gregory Shook, who interned at The Clark in Williamstown and secured a position at the Smithsonian Museum, "I truly enjoyed meeting with arts professionals. The time was well spent and was vital in developing my understanding of the arts in the Berkshires."

Limited positions and some scholarships are available. Those interested in applying are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

MCLA's tuition rates generally are lower than those of comparable institutions; these same fees apply to the college credits a B-HIP intern earns. Scholarships and tuition reductions are available on a limited basis. Interns receive a $100 weekly stipend and are provided with housing accommodations on MCLA's campus.

B-HIP is open to college juniors and seniors, recent graduates  and working professionals. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA.  Nonprofit, business, and/or arts management coursework or experience in the field is helpful.

For more information or to apply for this program, go to www.mcla.edu/b-hip or contact Jessica Conzo, program coordinator of  MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, at 413-663-5253 or via e-mail at Jessica.Conzo@mcla.edu.