Gratitude: Year Six of the Bloomberg Arts Internship in Baltimore
This summer, up to 40 Baltimore City Public Schools students will gain impactful real-world experience with local arts institutions through the Bloomberg Arts Internship Program! We’re thrilled to partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies to manage the 7-week experience.
If you are familiar with the program, you know that BAI is much more than a summer job. It is a chance for young scholars to be challenged and inspired while gaining meaningful, real-world experience working side-by-side, three days a week, with experts within Baltimore’s stellar arts and cultural institutions. Each year, students tackle creative and administrative projects at their worksites—projects that are not only meaningful in the moment but integral to the fabric of the organizations. Thursdays and Fridays are spent in rich, immersive, and dynamic learning environments where students prepare for college, build career skills, plan for their futures, and explore a variety of art and connect with artists in different locations across the city. Since 2017, 136 students have taken advantage of this incredible experience!
There is a tremendous amount of learning and growing happening in these summer months in the program, but it is important to note that interns aren’t just acquiring skills: they are taking creative risks, forging lasting friendships, and building a community. The following excerpt is from the poem “Assumptions” by this year’s BAI social media manager (and 2020 alumna). This piece, as does work created by other interns over the course of the program, illustrates the mindsets and positive impacts BAI helps foster in students.
Tears fall daily but do anyone notice
I would honestly say barely
I always say why this or why that
How about why not?
life gets tougher everyday but you can’t let it bring you to a stop
Failure is okay because it’s not a tattoo it don’t last forever
Be that person who is open minded and prepared for whatever
I would say that’s the real definition of clever
With the student selection process in full swing, it’s hard not to feel excitement for the coming summer. Each year, an entire village comes together to ensure students have the chance to participate in this incredible opportunity. For the past several months, staff, alumni, and community partners have been working hard behind the scenes, brainstorming and putting into place plans of action to recruit applicants from across the city. Student Ambassadors–BAI alumni Shae Harris, Tyjanae Simmons, and Makayla Singletary designed and delivered info sessions virtually and in person at 11 city schools. Teachers and administrators in City Schools have spent countless hours writing heartfelt and comprehensive letters of recommendation; their support of and dedication to students unwavering–and we have nearly arrived at the moment when we get to meet these awesome future interns!
Once selected, students will gain an immense amount of knowledge from mentors and writing coaches, from their worksites, and from each other—and we will learn from them. If it is one thing we’ve seen over the past five summers, it’s that the poetic insight and artistic talent, the worldly curiosity and the stoic perseverance of our students is a constant reminder of how excellent, interesting, and kind our world can be—and that is something we can all learn from and be thankful for.