The Artist Book Foundation, North Adams, MA
The Artist Book Foundation (TABF) is a nonprofit arts organization which publishes artist centered books in a time when major publishing houses often ignore such volumes. TABF is also dedicated to increasing universal access to these histories and the important cultural weight that they carry through free events and exhibitions related to the artists whose works they have published. TABF promotes a book donations program in which 15% of each print run is donated to underserved libraries, communities, and correctional facilities nationwide. Within the Berkshire community, TABF has initiated relationships with six local schools. Each school has received a full collection of TABF publications, and there are ongoing discussions with local educators to create extended programing to better engage students with the publications and arts more widely.
In my position at TABF, I worked most closely alongside their communications coordinator. The small size of the foundation, however, meant I was exposed to all aspects of the organization and operations of the arts nonprofit. My duties were primarily based in marketing and communications. Throughout many of my projects, I developed strategies to improve public engagement with the foundation’s mission. I took over the responsibilities of creating an engaging social media campaign through October which highlights the foundation’s publications. I also worked to reconcile the information presented about TABF’s publications from each of its distributors. As a secondary component of that project, I researched SEO strategies for both internet wide distribution and Amazon specific searches. By the end of the summer, I had provided a base for the foundation to maintain a cohesive digital presence.
While this type of job is not exactly what I wish to pursue as a career within the arts industry, it did provide me with a new level of understanding of many business strategies that I was previously ignorant to. This sort of knowledge is highly applicable to any position I may find myself in down the road. Without the support provided by the ’68 Center and the Kraft Family, I would not have been able to work in person at the foundation, an aspect of the internship I found particularly enlightening. Learning to operate within the day-to-day workings of TABF allowed me to grasp what to prioritize and how to best assist the employees I worked with. This, too, will be a valuable skill to have developed at this point in my career.
Furthermore, working with TABF has showed me the importance of finding an organization you believe in. While the work I was doing is not something I wish to pursue, I was happy to be able to support TABF’s mission in whatever capacity I could. This made my work enjoyable and fulfilling no matter what task I was undertaking. I look forward to continuing on the path this summer has opened up to me, and I am grateful, once again, to the ’68 Center and the Kraft Family for making this summer internship a reality.