Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Art Mark

By Patricia Morris

There is something about the arts that just sticks with you. It could be the memory of a happier time, the sentiment about a certain song or a dance piece, or maybe it reminds you of what you actually thought you would become when you were younger. But, I guess no matter where you are standing, what you are doing, where you are living, who you love…art lives inside you. That’s why it’s easier to get the chills when you listen to Tchaikovsky, share a tear when you see Natalia Osipova do an arabesque, get excited when you watch little children create art work or even when they act in a play. It’s easier to get along with former dancers, singers or actors. It’s just like a secret community, and it seems like we are all walking on the street with our faces different from everyone else; we can actually recognize each other. Apparently, art marks you for life.

According to the dictionary the word ‘mark’ means: “Clearly defined and evident; noticeable. Singled out for notice or especially for a dire fate.” I stopped for a second and thought a little bit about the idea of ‘a dire fate.’  I think this is how the four of us (three former dancers and a singer) landed at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (ATRU). The venue, the organization, the staff, everything and everyone is marked. For the four of us coming from totally different places and various backgrounds, learning the ‘how to’ of the Auditorium has been a lifetime experience.

Personally, as the marketing intern, being involved in the creation of a particular brand for some of our new season shows has been amazing, especially learning how things work in The United States and also the importance of grassroots marketing. I learned a lot from the staff; I love how passionate and dedicated they are, and most of all their openness to opinions and new ideas. I think that is the key for a great team. One of my favorite random things I learned about the Auditorium, maybe is silly, but I loved the idea that once this venue was used as a bowling alley. Just seeing the pictures and the way the stage was changed to fit a bowling alley on the stage, it all sounded like a very good idea.

In talking with the other summer interns, Rachel and Aurélie, the two Art Administration interns, and Tori in Education, they also shared their favorite memories from the summer.

“I think for me” Rachel said, “one of my favorite memories was the day Aurélie and I went to the Newberry Library to do a search for our theatre archives. We were able to view a personal scrapbook that Ferdinand Peck, the visionary behind the Auditorium, put together of the dedication of the theatre and opening night in 1889.” The scrapbook included, among other things, newspaper clippings from all over the world, letters from colleagues, and an original program from opening night.

“I thought it was hilarious,” Rachel added, “that Dankmar Adler had so carefully calculated the building’s future settlement to a maximum of six inches, but that while he was away on business Louis Sullivan and Ferdinand Peck decided to make the Auditorium the tallest building in Chicago, which required adding an extra floor to the main building and another level to the tower. They accomplished their goal, but with all that extra weight the building has settled 29 inches over time! Poor Adler!”

Aurélie added, “I also was very impressed by all of the history of the Auditorium Theatre and how modern it was when it opened in 1889. It is really amazing to learn all about this architectural marvel and historic building, and to think that it is still alive, hosting some of the best performances in the world. I’m so lucky that I’ll be working at ATRU throughout the fall; one of the things I’m really excited about is Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet and Sister Act. I am currently working on Moulin Rouge for the sales, the concessions and the gala and I love it.”

 “Sometimes I cannot believe how quickly this summer has passed,” commented Tori. “Although the bulk of my internship was spent at Hands Together, Heart to Art (HTHTA) I was able to get a small taste of other projects that the education department oversees. In a perfect world, HTHTA would be accessible to children everywhere. It’s certainly hard to choose, but I would have to say that my favorite memory is from the last day of camp when all seven Junior Counselors I supervised surprised me with a thank you card and a group hug—I was definitely not expecting either!”

What will you do after an internship at ATRU?

Rachel: I’ll return to Butler University to finish my senior year where I’m studying Arts Administration and Music. In the upcoming semester I’ll start blogging for our Arts Administration department, discussing this internship and other senior wisdom, which I’m very excited about. Also, I’ll continue my choral singing in ensembles.

Tori: I will return to Northwestern University for my senior year where I will finish my degree in the School of Education and Social Policy. I will be a Community Assistant in a residence hall for my second year, continue with a few other extracurricular commitments, and take a dance class as often as possible. 

Aurélie: I’ll be staying at ATRU until mid-December, but when I return to France, I will have to choose different options in which to specialize myself, and this internship has helped me a lot to define what I need to learn in order to succeed in this area. But, so far what I am sure about is that I definitively love working in non-profit organizations.

Patricia: As for me, I still have one more year to finish of my Master’s Degree at The School of the Art Institute. Then, I’ll decide what I want to be when I grow up! I have an internship this winter at the New York International Ballet Competition, and I’m also working on my thesis as we speak. I’m seriously thinking about applying to a fellowship in Washington D.C. next year, but we’ll see what happens.

On behalf of all the interns this summer, I really want to thank the wonderful staff that made this feel like home. Thank you for your patience, your hugs, the great conversations from desk to desk, and the pep talks in the halls and sometimes in the kitchen. Thank you for helping us every step of the way, and above all for inspiring us. All of you are mentors now, thank you for that!


Tori, Rachel, Aurélie and Patricia

“Arts are an integral part of living, creating, healing, and celebrating. As long as my work serves that purpose, I can’t imagine a better kind of success. “Victoria Romba (aka Tori, Education Intern) 

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