An Artist and an Intern: Roth’s Story
Our Summer 2017 intern, Roth Preap, is many things. A Senior at York College of Pennsylvania pursuing two major and two minor degrees, a great big brother helping out with his family between classes, and a talented musician trying to figure out a way to do what he loves as an artist for his profession. So I asked Roth to share his experiences at his internship with the Cultural Alliance from his many different perspectives. Here’s what he shared. Though I’m glad Roth feels he learned a great deal, it pales in comparison on what Roth taught me in our three months of working together. -Kelley Gibson
My name is Roth and I want to tell of my experience as an artist while interning at the Cultural Alliance of York County. First a little background info.
I am a student at the York College of Pennsylvania and a member of the York College Community Scholarship Program. I am pursuing degrees in Music Performance (Piano/Organ) and Music Industry Recording Technology, and minors in Arts Administration and Hospitality Marketing. Whenever I say this people always say, “what type of job do you want,” or “why so much,” or “Music? You can’t get a job in that.” To these naysayers I say, you’re wrong.
While I was growing up and attending school in York City, I was always afraid of the constant rumors looming around the cuts to music, art, and sport programs. As a kid these were the things I always had. At William Penn High School I participated in Band, Orchestra, Choir, Singers, Jazz Band, and String Ensemble. I was always constantly moving against the grain in life, picking music over sports, and picking music as a major, a career, and a life. So when searching for a life goal, I found that I wanted to help support the Arts. I found that Music Business, Hospitality Marketing and Arts Administration was the path. While maintaining my love for learning and teaching piano. Once I knew what I wanted to do, there was only one main place I knew I had to intern at, and that was the Cultural Alliance of York County.
So now the real part of this blog begins….
While interning at the Cultural Alliance I met so many people in our community aspiring to change the outlook that people have on artists of any kind. These artists are broke down and in need of support. We feel as if the world is against us, and with recent budget proposals trying to cut music and the arts on the political front, we feel like the world is. Kelley released a column that ended up in the York Daily Record during my internship (While I was writing my first press release, so there was a lot of competition) and the piece was fantastic and it showed me how much research goes in to this field, and while being at the Cultural alliance, I started to tell myself to “step up.” I didn’t want to be an awful intern, so underneath the internship I started to keep a binder of everything I learned from times of the day to send out a press release, what constitutes a story pitch and how to write one, great apps like ITTT, and cool design techniques. I kept all of this so that someday I can be at least half an arts administrator as Kelley. Kelley is a real role model and I hope I can help York City as well as her and the others (Mary Anne, Gayle, and Jennifer) at the Cultural Alliance does. Kelley has also helped my work ethic, I used to have a strong case senor-itis, but I feel like that is cured because of seeing her work ethic.
In the internship I got to design posters, send out press releases, story pitches, and create programs and sponsorship reports. This internship kept me on my heels and gave me new ways to be creative in a desk like job. I never thought of myself as a graphic designer or a PR type of guy but now after this, I feel like I can tackle these new skills. With my new ability with these skills I want to help downtown York even more than before. Which has helped me to look for more places downtown, local places in our city that I would be able to intern, volunteer, or work at. I thank everyone at the Cultural Alliance for giving me that ‘spark’ that I lost, and I feel like I love my hometown more for it…..I guess it is true that those born in York, come back.
As someone who grew up with looming cuts to programs, and someone who is majoring in a career that is dwindling, I think I finally found what I needed. Earlier this year, I had faced the loss of my passion as an artist. (Like a mid-life crisis for any artists, like a rite of passage.) I felt this way because I knew that I wasn’t technically good enough to audition for grad school just yet. Then I helped with the Impact Arts and Culture Conference put on by the Cultural Alliance June 22-24. One day, between lining up nametags and making sure people found the correct rooms, I attended some of the workshops. One important workshop was Artists U. The workbook we were given was on how to make a sustainable life as an artist. (Which I thought was a joke, c’mon starving artist and all.) But I quickly changed my outlook.
Andrew Simonnet changed our perspectives by looking at each one of us in the room, all 26 of us (I know cause I found all the chairs for it.) and thanking each and every individual in the room. The tables have turned. He started to speak about the way we run ourselves down, by taking on too much, stepping out of our bounds, and perpetually not feeling good enough as an artists.
In the two-day meeting we went over the role of the artists, our punishing lives, our skills and values, the planning it takes to be a musician, artists mission statements, money, time, and the core principles. I always felt like the world was against me. I had this strong sense of external locus of control (like the force) that kept bringing me down. As a musician I didn’t start when I was 7 to play the piano, I started when I was 14, and now I am 20. I felt as if time was against me because I had to be good enough by the end of college. Since I accepted that I didn’t have enough time to do this, my passion fell through, because I felt like I failed myself. Artist U helped me to regain that passion on an artistic level.
As a student and an artist this helped me to plan and organize my time to my art forms, as well as my job. I learned to structure my days to help make my time well used instead of spinning out of control. The time management aspect was the greatest part to me. As someone who has a planner, I like to write everything down, but now I started to schedule in piano practice, time for listening to music, and time for writing music. When people ask me if I am free, I now say no because I need to write music. It showed me that my creative time is tangible.
Artist U as an artist made me realize that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. As an artist we get so down when we don’t complete something, or when something isn’t our best. We keep doing it, over and over. That famous quote everyone says is “insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result,” even though it is still debated if Einstein or Benjamin Franklin said it. We continue to hound ourselves with these aspects and when people tell us that “we won’t get jobs”, and when they ask us “how’s your hobby going,” it isn’t helpful at all. It increase the stress we put on ourselves because we feel as if we need to prove ourselves until someone knows our name.