Arts and Career & Technical Education Align Through Bloomberg Arts Internships

By Meaghan Harrigan

As the summer speeds by, I am inspired by how much the Bloomberg Arts Internship cohort of interns have accomplished in a matter of weeks. The Bloomberg Arts Internship program, managed by EdVestors, provides twenty-five Boston Public School students with full-time, paid summer employment in arts and cultural organizations. Throughout the eight-week program, interns attend weekly cohort meetings engaging in arts and cultural resources and post-secondary opportunities around the city, in addition to workshops building upon written and verbal communication skills.

The interns have identified and developed their personal and professional goals and grown a network of adults and peers to support their future while gaining meaningful workplace experience. Their accomplishments are immense but not surprising because from the start it was clear how capable they are. On the first day of our three-day orientation, the twenty-five interns from eighteen different Boston Public Schools came together to define how they would engage and maintain accountability as a community. One of the shared agreements was to always “make the most of your experience”.  We talked about what it means to push ourselves out of our comfort zones; by being open to new challenges, we can find lessons to be learned in every experience. This was put to the test for every intern during our first three days with a tour of the Museum of African American History, public speaking to the group, and a movement and dance workshop with OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center.

Every Friday, after four days at their internship worksites, the group comes together for cohort days structured to supplement their work-based learning. We start with weekly check-ins where interns share an exciting part of their week as well as seek each other’s advice on a challenge they are facing in their roles. Cohort days typically begin with writing workshops followed by one-on-one writing coaching in partnership with 826 Boston where interns work on personal statements that will serve them in college admission essays, scholarship applications, and writing samples. These writing workshops have been generously hosted by Putnam Investments, Shorelight Education, and WeWork Boylston. Engaging with arts and culture organizations of Boston, the group has gone backstage at the Huntington Theatre Company, learned about the role of the arts in community organizing with Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), and toured the Institute of Contemporary Art with their Harbor Collective Teen program.  On the college readiness front, the group has visited different higher education institutions, with the support of advisers from College Advising Corps, including Bunker Hill Community College, North Bennet Street School, UMASS Boston, and Boston University.

The Bloomberg Arts Internship program sits at the intersection of EdVestors’ work with the BPS Arts Expansion and Career and Technical Education pathway initiatives to support positive educational outcomes for Boston students. By engaging in work-based learning at arts and cultural organizations students have grown their technical and professional skills, learned the ins and outs of how organizations operate, and become ingrained in the local Boston arts and culture landscape. Cohort days have served as a space for connectedness and personal growth for the twenty-five interns. I have seen how this type of multifaceted opportunity challenges and supports young people to grow their knowledge, skills, and ultimately their confidence to succeed. I am looking forward to our final celebration where the intern cohort will come together to share their takeaways and the variety of projects they have worked on this summer.

Meaghan Harrigan is the Bloomberg Arts Internship Coordinator at EdVestors.