MCLA's B-HIP Marks 10th Year


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - This summer marks the 10th year that Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) has offered a unique arts management program, the Berkshire Hills Internship Program - better known as B-HIP.

Since its inception, more than 100 B-HIP interns have participated. Graduates of the program work in art hubs throughout the world - including Rome, Tokyo and New York City - and throughout the United States.

What's more, B-HIP alumni can be found working throughout the Berkshires.

"More than 30 percent of B-HIP graduates stay in the Berkshires, working in culture and the arts," said Jonathan Secor, BCRC director. "B-HIP is one of the true success stories in job placement and training, and in professional development, in that it has a visible success rate."

In this 13th session of the program, 13 interns this summer are serving their internships at Berkshire Creative, the Berkshire Museum, the Clark Art Institute, DownStreet Art, the Ferrin Contemporary Gallery, Kidspace at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), The Mount, North Adams Office of Tourism and Community Events, Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development, PRESS Gallery, Shakespeare and Co. and Tanglewood.

In addition to the hands-on experience, the class work the interns do is just as important, according to Secor. "It's an opportunity for those who've had the basics, like our own students, to hone what they've learned and put it into more practical learning."

Takashi Kusaka from Soka University in Japan is at the North Adams Office of Tourism and Community Events, and is learning how art can change society.

"Experience in B-HIP will be my strength in any company," Kusaka said.  

Originally from the Dominican Republic, SUNY-Albany graduate Yukelka "Yuki" Tavera, who has taught school in Miami, Fla., is serving an internship at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. The experience, she said, is imperative as she heads toward the next stage of her career.

In addition to providing an opportunity for in-the-field training outside of the classroom and gallery settings she's accustomed to, B-HIP is opening doors she's not been able to open for herself, Tavera said. Working with the director of communications at The Clark, she explained, "is an amazing learning opportunity for me as I have designated marketing and technology as an area I need to develop to be a better arts administrator."

"We continue to attract a broad range of people in different stages of their careers," according to Secor. "Yuki has already started her work life. We have other interns where this is their first real time to work. Then there are those who are somewhere in-between."

Beyond its classroom and internship experiences, B-HIP exposes its participants to world-class art in all disciplines. This year's cultural outings include a trip to see the Barrington Stage Company's production of  "Kiss Me Kate," an excursion to Jacob's Pillow to see choreographer Reggie Wilson's infusion of modern and African dance, and a visit to Tanglewood for a concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

"Opportunities like this really don't exist anywhere else in such a small geographic setting, other than a major urban center. You can see theater, dance and more," Secor added. "You just can't get that anywhere else."

For more information, go to Community/bcrc/b-hip .