My name is David Rivera, and I am a rising senior. I am an Anthropology Major, with a minor in music, and a possible minor in Arts Administration. This Summer, I was fortunate enough to secure an Internship with the Saratoga Springs Arts District, Inc (SSADI). This opportunity was presented to me by professor Michael Ennis-McMillan of the Anthropology Department. This option stood out to me because of the way it related to my academic interests., I had heard about several Anthro students who had conducted research on Beekman street, and they all had great things to say about the area. Professor Ennis-McMillan and I both agreed that this internship connected really well with my anthropological background, as well as with my growing interest in the world of art. The internship seemed like a perfect fit, so we applied for funding from the CDC, and we were fortunate enough to get accepted.
I began working at the end of May. For the majority of the internship, I was based out of two businesses: The Textile Studio, and the Eden Compton Studio and Gallery. The Textile Studio was founded by the husband and wife duo of Cecilia Frittelli and Richard Lockwood, in 1990. Since then, the couple have used this space to make hand-woven shirts, hats, scarves, and accessories for their Brand, Frittelli & Lockwood. The Studio and Gallery is run by local artist Eden Compton. Eden creates her paintings here, and showcases her work on the walls, along with the work of other artists.
During my first couple of days, I spent most of my time walking up and down Beekman St. Getting to know people who worked on the street, and the businesses that existed there. Once I was well acquainted with the arts District, it was time to begin my first major task: Helping prepare for the Art Fair in June. The Art Fair is SSADI’s biggest event of the year, bringing in many different kinds of artists, and lining Beekman Street with art for people to view and purchase if they so choose. This year, there was a wide mix of painters, potters, jewelers, photographers, musicians, and other artists. To compliment the art, various food trucks and vendors lined the street, serving pizza, fried dough, shave ice, and a variety of other foods, including vegan options. Overall the Art Fair was a huge success. We created a large space in which art could be created and enjoyed by the masses, and we were able to find many people who were willing to support and be involved with the with the Arts District and Its Vision.
After the Art Fair, I spent my time doing a mix of specialized tasks, odd jobs, and research. In the weeks following the fair, I was tasked with updating the district’s website. This was a long and tedious task, but I was grateful for it. I came into this internship with absolutely no experience in building/updating a website. By the time I was finished, I had learned how to use WordPress, and I became fairly accustomed to working on the back end of a webpage.
My final large task was research. During the last couple of weeks of the internship, I read up on several successful arts districts around the country. I was focused on identifying the facets of each district that contributed to its success, and I looked for patterns across the districts that could be implemented into the way SSADI was run, to help the district grow and expand.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I was given this summer. The Summer Experience Fund gave me a chance to work in a real-world setting, which is something I didn’t think I would be able to experience until after college. If I could give one piece of advice for students considering applying for this experience in the future, I would say to just pick your lane and go for it! Look for an opportunity that will help you prepare for the future you want to create for yourself. And don’t let the fear of being rejected stop you from applying either. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.