Since May I’ve been working as an Arts Administration Intern for Capital Fringe, which is an organization in DC whose main focus is putting on a big arts festival every summer. The only time I spoke to my boss before I began working was when I called her for my interview and that was over a month before I started on May 27th, so I wasn’t totally clear on what my responsibilities would be when I went in. That Tuesday was my first day and after missing the bus and walking to the metro from my house I successfully navigated the metro and city streets to find my new office. The building, Fort Fringe, looks very artsy from the outside; kind of hodge podge with murals and signs, the most distinct piece being a light up sign in the front window that says “FRINGE”. The door was locked so I stood confused outside for a minute before a man and his dog walked up to me and he asked if I was one of the new interns, I answered that I was and he showed me in the side entrance. I learned a few minutes later that this man’s name is Peter Korbel and he is the COO for Capital Fringe. You wouldn’t know that by looking at him however, because he was dressed extremely casually, but then again so was everyone else in the office. Actually I felt a little overdressed, just then finding out how casual of a work environment it was, but better to be overdressed than under, right? I then met my boss and the CEO/founder of Capital Fringe, Julianne Brienza. She sat me down, told me a little bit about herself, then went over a list of objectives she had for me during my time with the organization, mostly research based tasks, and afterwards she showed me around the space. It turns out that before Fort Fringe was what it is today it was an Italian restaurant owned by a single family for 60 years. The father of the family was a bit territorial, Julianne told me, and he essentially bought up all of the businesses around his restaurant, so the space is very large. Within it there are three performance spaces and dressing rooms, a bar-turned-box office, a lobby, office space, and a whole lot of random unusable hallways. It’s not the cleanest of spaces as it is currently home to several families of rats and mice (apparently they don’t normally like living in the same spaces but at Fringe all things are possible!), and when it rains water comes all the way through to the first floor. This brings me to the point of my position at Capital Fringe as their Arts Administration Intern, because at the end of this summer they’re getting the heck out of there. Plans are in motion for their relocation, so this summer will be their last in the dear old Fort.
It is now the closing week of the Fringe Festival and boy has it been an experience. In addition to working as an intern I’ve also been waitressing at the Festival’s bar and restaurant so that I can more fully immerse myself in the action – and let’s be real, I’m also doing it so that I can make a little bit of money because the internship is unpaid and I can’t rely on my mom for everything…I mean I probably could because she’s a lovely woman, very giving, but I’d prefer not to be a complete mooch if I can help it.
Anyways, it’s going really well and I’m learning a lot. Fringe is a concept that exists all over the world and actually started in Scotland. The point is to present theatre, music and dance performances that are “on the fringe”, meaning they aren’t mainstream, or couldn’t be presented anywhere else as many performance spaces are reserved for their resident companies. As this is the case, a lot of our shows are a little odd, but it’s a good mix of drama/comedy/dance/music. Capital Fringe is actually the second largest unjuried festival in the US which means that we don’t choose which shows get in and which don’t, it’s just a first come first served basis. I haven’t had a lot of free time to see many shows but it’s been fun working in the restaurant because it means I get to talk to artists and audience members and see how things are going and what shows have been the most popular.
I’ve been really lucky to have had this opportunity this summer because I’m hoping to major in Arts Administration and it’s been really great to be able to see how the organization runs from the inside/ to get real world experience in the field to go along with the classes I’ll be taking. I think the only question left now is when do I wear this bad boy?? >>>
Just kidding…although I did wear that dress to a wedding once…don’t judge me I was like 13 and it’s really fun to dance in...maybe it'll be revived for our next concert...but I digress.
Until next time, dear readers!
Anonymous Hitta out.