My name is Chloe Eisen ’20 and this summer I’m interning at MoMA PS1 in the Live Programming department. I am a sociology major and arts administration minor. MoMA PS1 is like the Museum of Modern Art’s younger sibling, devoted entirely to showcasing contemporary art. The museum is widely known for its exceptional programming and live curation. Every summer, MoMA PS1 curates a summer concert series called Warm Up, where they offer live music, food, drinks, and an immersive art experience every Saturday for ten weeks in a row. Since my internship is in the Live Programming department, my duties largely revolve around the production of this event.
I have been working at MoMA PS1 for about 6 weeks now, and I’ve learned so much about live event production. During the week, my duties typically include preparation work for every Saturday’s Warm Up, such as creating a system for inventorying merchandise, coding expenses into the live programming budget, helping with social media/marketing, creating Spotify playlists for various events, attending meetings, and more. On Saturday, I work from 10AM to 10PM helping with setup, artist hospitality, live sound, and more. It’s a lot of fast-paced work but it’s always so fun, and the 12 hours go by in the blink of an eye.
This experience has been so amazing for me so far and I feel that I am learning so much about the non-profit arts world, which is the field I’ve imagined myself going into post-grad. I love museums and museum work, and this internship is teaching me so much about the nitty-gritty of the job. Furthermore, I’m starting to hone my skills and interests at this internship. I’ve always known I wanted to enter the arts non-profit world, specifically museum work, but I didn’t realize how many paths you can take within this one field. I now understand the differences between development, communications, visitor engagement, programming, and curation. Although each of these sounds exciting to me, I’ve realized how much I love programming, specifically of live arts events. Working directly with artists to create a stimulating and entertaining experience for people gives me an excitement unparalleled to any job I have ever worked before. Attending events like Warm Up at PS1 as a visitor, I would never have imagined how much work goes into making the event happen. There are so many gears in motion and people that work so hard every day of the week to make the magic happen at these events, and I’ve acquired a whole new appreciation for these people and their jobs!
My advice for students interested in an internship like this is to make sure you are prepared to for fast-paced environments and problem solving within these environments, and to pay attention to detail. It is important to convey these things to your future employers because I’ve learned these qualities are some of the most integral traits of a good live producer. Working in the arts world often requires late-nights and weekends, but learning to appreciate and have fun at work or the events you’re working will make it all more valuable and worthwhile.