I started as a communications intern at the Asheville Art Museum in June. With the Museum closed and undergoing its expansion, this timing made for an unconventional but fantastic intern experience. It was sort of like tuning into the Super Bowl in the fourth quarter. So much of the heavy lifting (both figuratively and literally) was already done when I showed up. Yet, I felt like I was working at the Museum at the most critical moment.
By my first day, the Museum staff had already moved back into the new space. I had to come in the back entrance, though, giving me a taste of the tail end of the moving process. My second week, I had to come in the side entrance. Not until my third week did I come in through the glorious main glass doors! This gave me a unique look at how the Museum staff flowed around the construction work.
My internship’s timing also allowed for many special opportunities. My supervisor, Lindsey Grossman, let me sit in on countless meetings with reporters, tourism publications, and even graphic designers. I was exposed to people working in careers and niche magazines that I barely even knew existed. For that, I consider myself quite lucky.
I expect I’ll remember this summer by a collection of milestones. I guarantee I’ll remember the first time I looked out of the oculus. I’ll remember seeing Maya Lin’s Pin River—French Broad River taking shape on the Windgate Foundation Atrium’s northern wall. I’ll remember the first time I walked through the real front doors. I’ll remember my first lunch with all the other interns in the (unfinished) rooftop café.
I feel like this way of recalling milestones comes naturally from working through a renovation project. Day-to-day, you might not notice much change. But then, you’re away for a week, and when you come back, a big thing is done. There’s a new piece of art installed, or a new entryway unveiled! You realize that all your work and all the contractors’ work is really pushing the project closer to the finish line.
Maybe that’s a good way to summarize my experience. This summer, I’ve truly felt that my work has made a contribution to the Museum. Sure, I’m not laying bricks myself. I’m not on the front lines pitching big shot newspapers. But in a workplace of such constant change and flux, it really felt like every bit of effort I put in counted. I’m grateful to my supervisors for letting me do meaningful work, and to the Museum for letting me on board at such a crucial time.
~ Contributed by Carl Sukow, communications intern and student at Davidson College (pictured far left with his fellow summer interns)