My name is Cassie Taylor and I’m a rising Senior Studio Art Major. This summer I’ve been interning at the Center for Book Arts, a nonprofit studio and exhibition space in Manhattan dedicated to the book as a work of art. I’m passionate about the presence and appreciation of fine arts in every community, and I hope to pursue a career after college that allows me to be an advocate for the importance of fine arts, ideally utilizing a curatorial perspective.
I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to expand my skills and gain new experiences in a variety of different areas that appeal to my passions and career goals. About half of this internship is dedicated to learning letterpress printing and book-binding, while working on creative projects for the Center. I have been working alongside the other interns and our instructors to complete a hand-printed and designed broadside, in an edition of 100, for an upcoming poetry reading hosted by CBA. I have also learned many new book-binding techniques, helping me and the other interns design and create a portfolio, in an edition of 50, to hold the different parts of a broadside reading series. Not only have these experiences introduced me to a variety of new fine art techniques, but I have learned invaluable collaborative skills that I know will help me in any future career that I pursue.
CBA puts great effort into taking the time to educate their interns in the book arts media and, from there, they trust in interns’ abilities to put passion and creativity into their projects. I never imagined an organization having so much confidence and trust in their interns and allowing us so much creative freedom and agency. The result is a valuable experience that will prepare us better for our future careers.
CBA’s two main platforms are education and exhibitions, so the internship program focuses in these areas primarily. In addition to learning more about letterpress and bookbinding and completing projects for the Center, I spent time helping the current Director and Curator at the Center, Alexander Campos, with preparation for upcoming exhibitions. I had the opportunity to witness and assist every single aspect of the curatorial process, from assisting the selection process, to corresponding with artists, helping make display decisions, and installing the work itself.
I have learned how to combine fine art techniques and knowledge, with empathy and the ability to understand a variety of contrasting perspectives – a combination that is important to the art and practice of thoughtful curation. After this experience, I am more confident in my ability to develop into a strong curator with a valuable perspective.
Non-profits like the Center for Book Arts rely on their interns and volunteers to help them complete important tasks that keep the organizations running every day. As someone who is passionate about keeping fine arts techniques alive and appreciated in our communities, it means a lot to have this opportunity to help CBA as an intern while learning so much and gaining important connections for my future career goals. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without this funding from Skidmore. Fine arts jobs are hard to come by, which is why I have tried to apply myself and get the most out of this internship while I have the funding. This experience has prepared me for a future in my ideal career, and I have been inspired by the people who dedicate their time and hard work to running a nonprofit that serves primarily to support fine arts in the community. I believe strongly in this mission and hope to have a career in the future that allows me to contribute to it in a meaningful way.