B-HIP Offers Eye-Opening Experiences


Drawn to MCLA this summer through their love of the arts, they came from Oregon and Indiana, Italy and China - just to name a few places. The reason? To serve internships in the culturally rich Berkshires through the Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP), an initiative of the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center at MCLA.

Celebrating its fifth-year anniversary, 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.

This summer - in addition to four MCLA students and others from across the Commonwealth -B-HIP also attracted students from the states of Connecticut, Virginia and Washington. They are serving internships across the Berkshires, including the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Shakespeare & Company, The Clark and the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, to name a few.

B-HIP Interns at Ferrin Gallery in Pittsfield, Mass.

Ben Delgado, a recent graduate of Indiana University who is from Evansville, Ind., is learning how to run an independent cinema - Images Cinema in nearby Williamstown.

"I'm basically running every aspect of the cinema," Delgado explained. "Theoretically, I would open up my own art house cinema in a city that didn't have one already, once I get more experience working in the theatre and in a more management position. Being a theatre owner would allow me to show the kinds of movies that were underrepresented in certain communities, especially in the ones I lived in. I want to bring that to people.

"The B-HIP experience has been great," he continued. "I've met a lot of interesting people and a lot of people who are well-connected to others. There are a lot of different cultural events that I didn't know existed in this area. It's been eye-opening and pretty fun."

Martina Caruso of Milan, Italy, is the program coordinator of DownStreet Art. This includes work with all of the programming, marketing, as well as communications via the DownStreet Art Web site.

Caruso, a recent art history graduate from the University of Bologna, worked in a non-profit organization for two years. She wanted to better understand how non-profits work, especially those in the United States.

"It's an example for Europeans because we have a lot of art, but we don't work so much with the community and with the contemporary art world," Caruso said.

She found out about the internship opportunity through the New York Foundation for the Arts Web site.

"It's a great opportunity. I love the Berkshires," Caruso said. "It has contemporary visual arts, dance, music and theatre. Doing the B-HIP internship you meet a lot of directors and marketing, communications and program managers at all the museums and culture centers. They are so open-minded. We can ask anything."

Other B-HIP interns this summer include Hanna Pickwell of Dalton, Mass., a recent graduate of Colby College in Maine; Justin Banks of Virginia, also of Colby College; Linna Wei from Bejing, China, who studies arts management in Sweden; Tarra Martin of Washington, who studies at Williams College; Margaret Croft of Westborough, Mass., who studies at Hampshire College; Rosie Strott of Boston, who studies at Massachusetts College of Art and Design; and Errin Patton of Oregon, a recent graduate of the University of Idaho.

MCLA students participating include Gary Noke '10 of Concord, Mass.; Ben Warren '11 of Springfield, Mass.; Sarah Lomas '11 of Princeton, Mass.; and Tara von Schmidt '11 of Barkhamsted, Conn.

For more information or to apply for this program, go to b-hip or contact Valeria Federici, program coordinator of  MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, at 413-663-5253 or via e-mail at