Rome Travels to North Adams for Arts Opportunities
Valeria Federici of Rome, Italy, was living in Barcelona, Spain, in the spring of 2007 when she noticed an opportunity for an arts internship online. The opportunity - MCLA's Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP) - provided a way for her to put her art degrees to work.
A graduate of an art high school in Rome who went on to earn her master's degree in art history from Italy's Universita'degli Studi RomaTre, Federici served her B-HIP internship in MCLA Gallery 51 as the assistant gallery manager. Today - after moving to New York City and working for two years as the studio manager and curatorial assistant in a Brooklyn-based art studio - she is the MCLA Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) program coordinator.
Federici said, "I needed an experience which people could rely on. B-HIP was the one."
She enjoyed all aspects of the summer internship program - including the arts management class and the outings to Berkshire County's varied cultural venues, where she heard from arts professionals who are leaders in their field.
However, the best part of the program was the first-hand experience she gained at MCLA Gallery 51. There, she worked on three exhibitions; serving as a curator, working on installations, and acting as a liaison with the artists. There were clerical duties as well: She also reorganized the entire archive of the first two years of the gallery's activities.
"I think there is a time when you stop to learn from teachers and you start to teach yourself. It is a different learning process," Federici explained. "I was certainly more interested in the job and in how I could teach myself to fit in that position, using my background and expertise."
B-HIP, said Federici, gave her a solid base to become the BCRC program coordinator - the principal administrator and organizer for all that the Center is involved with. As such, she is in charge of many aspects within MCLA Gallery 51, the MCLA Presents! performance series, the Tricks of the Trade professional development series, BerkshireArtStart.org, DownStreet Art and the B-HIP program itself.
"There a lot of people to coordinate, ideas to come up with, and events to organize," Federici said. "It means bringing my expertise, my passion of the arts and my enthusiasm into a real job. It means to give people the possibility to enjoy the arts in all its nuances. It means creating opportunities for artists and art lovers to connect. It means be part of an attempt for change, to change people's appreciation, comprehension and perception of the arts ... in a positive way."
She encourages others who are interested in a career in the arts to participate in B-HIP.
"It is a complete program that guarantees what it promises and maybe gives more," Federici said. "I am honored to be part of BCRC. The organization is a beacon for the artists and art professionals in the Berkshires, and I am proud of how committed we are to the arts."