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Artistic Advantage

12/07/2011

A Northeastern University senior found MCLA to be the perfect place to learn more about the business of the arts this fall semester as she worked as an intern for the College's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC).

Amanda Pratti of Boston, Mass., whose major at Northeastern is studio art with a minor in art history, was attracted to MCLA through the BCRC's DownStreet Art initiative.

"I was really drawn to DownStreet Art and the great artwork I had seen in the summer with all of the galleries," Pratti explained. "I contacted them, and in my interview I was given the full spectrum of BRCR programming, which combines visual arts, performing art, music, professional development and more."

While she is not familiar with the College's other offerings, MCLA is a great place to learn about the arts and arts management, Pratti said.

"You're given great opportunities to use MCLA Gallery 51 and BCRC as laboratories to finding your right path and what you're passionate about. Once you graduate, if you've taken advantage of those opportunities, you may be better off than the majority of competitors out there."

As the coordinator for the BCRC's Tricks of the Trade program - a professional development series for artists- Pratti arranged for speakers to participate in its 19 seminars, and also took care of the logistics. In addition, she served as a gallery attendant and helped with the MCLA Presents! performance series, which included serving as the house manager for two shows.

According to Pratti, "The BCRC is an amazing resource for arts administration and fine arts/theater students to get first-hand experience in potential careers. DownStreet Art is definitely something that Northeastern doesn't have and I wish we had something similar!" 

She found her work at the BCRC to be a challenge. As a result, Pratti said that, in the future, she will be able to apply many of the strategies, experiences and problem-solving skills she encountered during her internship.

"I think my time at BCRC has given me a unique experience that will hopefully lead me to the next big thing. But in the end, I met a lot of great people who have similar interests and career paths; people I would love to work with in the future. If I had my own arts organization, I'd be able to compile an art dream team right now!"

In addition to teaching her how to juggle several projects at a time, Pratti found her internship provided her with a good deal of marketing experience.

"What's the point of creating a great program if people don't come? I was always used to hearing arts organizations being held back because of the lack of funds, and I remember thinking how difficult it was to make things happen," she explained. "From interning at BCRC, I realize more that it's what you make of it, and working that much harder can make the difference."

Because the arts community in North Adams is growing, that brings a plethora of opportunities that are open to young people with fresh and innovative thinking, Pratti said. "I feel like our opinions and ideas are welcome and treated seriously. Many opportunities can give you first-hand experience in that career, which is always helpful.

"The best thing of this experience was the exposure to arts management, new ideas and great contemporary art. I felt that I was challenged and really pushed to try something new, while still using a passion for the arts and education."