Hi everyone, it’s been a hot minute, so this blog post will solely be about my most recent internship work. If you want to read about my time in Memphis, click here.
July 6 (9:30-4:30pm)
Having missed the previous work day from an illness, today was a calm and quiet day in the office. I kept to myself while working on emailing all performers and staff members in regards to that week’s Chihuly Saturday Night.
An additional project Tyler and I were introduced to were 2018 program briefs. Our job was to compile the information from a Google doc to individual Word docs of all program types under Sara and Moira. I am responsible for working on Sara’s programs – like artinfusion, distinguished speakers, and music series. It is more tedious to make individual Word docs for each type of event than to type all the details, summary, and goals & outcomes from the Board’s expectations.
July 7 (9:30-1pm)
This Friday was the most Friday feeling I’ve had while down in Bentonville. Because of the skewed hours public programs has, weekends usually are Mondays and Tuesdays, and Fridays feel like Wednesdays. The reason why this was so was because all of the college interns embarked on facility tours of Sam’s Club HQ, the David Glass Technology Center, and Walmart HQ – so essentially a day off for me. Sara had not scheduled me for that afternoon when we were through, but I was not going to complain…
I had missed the Sam’s tour because I woke up about 20 minutes before it was to start, so I was kinda bummed that that happened. However I met the other interns at the Technology Center around 9:30am. We were ushered through the security entrance, past an endless room of atypical cubicles. On one half of the building on the main floor the cubicles were just long stretches of desks – not individualized per employee. On the other half were typical cubicles. If you forgot to grab your morning coffee before heading to work, no worries, there’s a damn Starbucks inside, alongside a Chick-fil-A. In a back corner there is a special meeting room with all of the coolest technology on the market available at the drop of a hat. A 3D printer, 4K TV monitor, virtual reality, holographic machines, you name it.
The third floor was the neatest thing in the building. There was a relatively large room with rows of computers locked behind a wall with a biometric entrance and special tinted windows that can be frosted over like a lightswitch. This room is responsible for tackling Walmart hackers – all 2 billions attacks they receive daily. Adjacent to this room is a special room you would see in a Mission Impossible movie – an extraction room. One that is lined with microscopes, lab coats, other scientific equipment, surrounding a vacuum sealed room they have to use to recover information from seemly impossible situations. I was too perplexed by this and confused why this was necessary, but once Tyler explained through the purpose, it made sense.
We drove about 10 minutes away to continue onto Walmart HQ. We met with a representative to give our tour and we were on our way, or so we thought. We had to sign in and show our IDs. Because I was not told to bring my ID I had to wait with the other interns that did not have IDs to be vouched by an employee. THEN we were on our way. We walked past another Starbucks (shocker), past many small closet-like rooms that are used for visiting vendors to convince and sell Walmart representatives their product(s), past the giant auditorium with a history of well-known speakers like Oprah, John Mellencamp, some Presidents to name a few. In addition to a plethora of mother’s rooms lining the hallways, there was a food court with different options. We went up a floor to walk past the cubicles and office spaces, up a floor to the open space in attempts to provide creative creating spaces, with standing desks tucked in an arm of the space.
The tour of the offices went quickly. But we were more excited about the food tasting portion in the culinary center. Every day Monday-Thursday the culinary center hosts two different sessions of taste testing food products. We were special being there on a Friday, and we got to try out two different varieties of grapes, fried chicken, and an udon soup. The space we were testing in were individual slots with a monitor above a turnstile to the kitchen where your samples magically appeared. The survey flashed on the monitor with various questions about flavor, different qualities of the food, etc.
We then toured the rest of the culinary and innovation center. It hosts 8 full kitchens for vendors to prepare and present their products to representatives, a lab for household items, and a kitchen for the taste testing lab.
Before lunch, Sara and I had our 1:1 by phone to catch up and share my progress. Some of the interns and I met at Chick-fil-A after our tour to mull over chicken sandwiches about our morning and laugh about some of our CB experiences.
July 8 (3-11pm)
Our performers for this Chihuly Saturday Night were Rebekah Swicegood on harp and her mother accompanying her on flute, and Naturally Brass. Having Holly, our senior youth and family educator, there was great because all of the pressure of being event leader was slightly alleviated. However, these events have become such second nature to me and I feel comfortable walking into the Forest every week.
The atmosphere felt a little older than other CSNs, which required Holly and I to coordinate the shuttle to pick up guests closer than usual because they felt they could not make it out to the spot they are to meet at. Overall, the evening went well with just a couple of complaints/suggestions.
July 12 (12-7pm)
I opened my day with the first intern lunch ‘n learn I could make in awhile. The speakers were with the communications team, engagement team, and preparation team. After walking back to the office Sara and I met with two representatives from a lighting event company that would be supplementing the upcoming Summer Fling party and Light Night party. We did a walkthrough of the Fly’s Eye Dome space (still closed to the public) and Buckyball. At that point I had gotten my day’s steps in, so Sara and I rode back in the shuttle.
I tried to get more work done on the program briefs, but not much could be done in the time between doing very small tasks in the office and the other walkthrough for the Light Night party with many staff members. Mother Nature had no mercy that day with a blistering heat index of 100 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. By the end of the day I had spent about 2 hours in the sun. To be honest, the walkthrough we had that day could have been condensed down to a diagram in a document shared amongst everyone, and an actual walkthrough for not another 2 weeks or so. I thought it was not necessary to have everyone just share what they thought everything should look like and arguing why one thing was in one place over another.
July 13 (2-9pm)
Sara and I had our 1:1 meeting where we finalized all of the tasks and projects I had yet to do, scheduled the rest of the work days of my internship, and a small chat about what my future goals were for short term and long term. It being a Thursday, we had our weekly hour and a half long public programs team meeting to discuss program briefs, the events planned out for the next exhibition, Soul of a Nation, and to finalize the layout for upcoming Chihuly Saturday Nights and other upcoming events.
I did my weekly work with contacting the week’s CSN performers, staff working the event, and rewriting the timeline before helping out with Moira’s outdoor gallery talk. This was my first gallery talk I had attended because they were primarily Moira’s responsibility and me being Sara’s intern I just had yet to attend one of Moira’s events.
Moira focused on two pieces, Kim Dickey’s Mille-fleur and Chihuly’s Niijima Floats. We had about a dozen guests follow along to listen and ask questions that Moira posed. She gave just enough information that leaves a listener wanting to ask more about biographical information, the title, medium, colors, etc. She introduced the inspiration as a weaving piece from the (17th c. -?) Dutch that had an intricate floral patterned background and a unicorn enclosed in a fence. That was something I learned and thought was really cool. We approached the work from different distances to explore the colors and interactions of the individual ceramic pieces.
For Niijima Floats we focused on colors, sizes, and interactions they have being in a pond surrounded by frogs, fish, and the other floats. We also changed perspectives by walking alongside the pond on the trail to get closer to the floats and view them with a different idea of they interact between each other. I appreciated just listening and reflecting on my responses to the questions than facilitating or actively working for the event.
July 14 (2-9:30pm)
With another evening event, I did not come in until 2pm – yay – so I had about 2 hours to wrap up the program briefs. I got most of the legwork done, so that leaves the finishing touches to be presentable to Rod and Alice for review. Starting around 4pm Tyler and I began our work to set out the stanchions and signs for the event. The event was one of our Distinguished Speakers’ series events that hosted the Netflix series, Chef’s Table‘s creators David Gelb (director of Jiro Dreams of Sushi) and Brian McGinn (director of Netflix’s Amanda Knox).
With the event being sold out at 500, we had to be prepared to ticket scan, greet, and usher guests as quickly and efficiently as possible. Although there is always a small no-show percentage for all events, we were still expecting to full to capacity. The Great Hall is only allowed to hold 450 people, but we squeezed more people than that. The event started a little after 7pm, a lecture more of a discussion between David and Brian that were dictated by a Powerpoint riddled with clips from the show of course. There was laughter, gawking eyes over the food porn, and curious minds jealous by the extraordinary meals they two had consumed.
I highly enjoyed the event and thankful that I was out of the museum by 9pm after packing up chairs, moving stanchions and cleaning up the Great Hall.
July 15 (11-6:30pm)
Today was an artinfusion excursion out to Red Fern Glass in the Ozarks. I met Sara in Springdale at a grocery store to carpool down to the area. I helped load in all the groceries for the grillout later. The drive was a little over an hour long out to the Ozarks, the closest town being Osage, AR. I had more moments without a cell signal than with. We tied balloons along the roads to signify to guests that they were going the correct way, with GPS being completely useless.
The home and studio belongs to Ed Pennebaker, the most known glass artist in Arkansas. All of the grounds are sprinkled everywhere with various sizes of pieces he created with anything from a small ornament in a tree to the elaborate chandelier hanging above the outdoor deck. Ed’s wife, Carol, helped us out and very welcoming to us with food setup. We were grilling burgers and brats, chips, veggies, fruit, and beer of course. We had 26 members sign up for the event so we were expecting anywhere from 10-15 people.
After a quick walkthrough of the event/tour, I stood at the end of the driveway to greet guests and direct where they should park. Once we had all 20 guests on the deck eating away, we began with introductions. We began in the living room and talked briefly about Ed’s biography and beginnings as an artist. Then we walked down to the studio to discuss the process of making glass, talking through the process of glassblowing, the equipment, and an idea of how much time it takes to do it all. After that we moved into the finishing room where Ed demonstrated changing the color of the tips of some pieces.
The final thing that most of the guests really enjoyed was helping assemble a chandelier. With some guidance from Ed we fashioned the final product for Ed to ship out. A couple of guests were interested in buying some pieces, and were asking questions about specific projects, so that was good to hear. The event had officially ended, but a handful of guests stuck around to finish a beer and just have a lovely conversation about art.
The intention of artinfusion is to provide social and professional networking with young adults centered around art, so this excursion was a great hands-on opportunity to be the epitome of artinfusion. I fit right in because the target audience is 21-40.
After clean-up, we headed out of the Ozarks and back to town. If I were ever to live in Northwest Arkansas I would be an artinfusion member, hands-down.
All I did today was binge watch Games of Thrones in anticipation of the season 7 premiere which I HIGHLY enjoyed. I felt so happy to be caught up with the rest of the world and could freely discuss GoT with anyone else.
I spent my day catching up on sleep, rewatching Game of Thrones, and writing this blog and my one about Memphis.
Have a great week, everyone!