Classical Uprising, Portland Bach Experience, Portland, ME
This summer I worked as an arts administration intern for the nonprofit Portland Bach Experience (PBE). The organization’s primary programming is a 10-day summer classical music festival with events hosted at different locations across greater southern Maine. PBE’s mission is to make classical music more accessible to the average person by offering a range of performances and programs geared toward a variety of audiences. PBE is one branch of Classical Uprising, an umbrella nonprofit that serves the overarching purpose of expanding interest in classical music. I was initially excited by the opportunity to work with PBE because I feel very passionately about arts accessibility; I firmly believe that there should be no barrier when it comes to public engagement with visual or performing arts.
My prior experience interning in audience and programming development at cultural institutions in New York City informed my responsibilities this summer. My primary project was an assessment of potential secondary revenue sources for the organization to implement next summer. I was given three avenues of revenue to research, culminating in a presentation of my findings to members of the Strategic Planning Committee. I found that adopting another revenue source required extremely close examination and discussion of the organization’s mission, and that it would need to align very closely with what donors and the board of directors envision for the organization. My secondary project was to assemble a competitive market review of arts nonprofits in Portland, greater Maine, Boston and New York City to compare them with Classical Uprising. I ultimately included more than 30 organizations and evaluated each across 14 dimensions, including audience demographics, sponsors and budget. This data will expand beyond the end of my internship and exist as a starting point for many future projects.
My time with PBE will have a lasting impact on my academic, personal and professional pursuits; this summer reaffirmed my dedication to arts accessibility and will influence the courses I choose to take in my time at Williams, to the organizations I dedicate my time to beyond my undergraduate career. Despite my unfamiliarity with classical music, I witnessed the importance of being involved with music and how PBE brought a community together. Working with a nonprofit organization was a new experience for me, and it was particularly interesting for me to work with the board of directors. In the future, I hope to continue working with passionate individuals who share my commitment to making the arts accessible to people in all communities.
I would like to thank the family and friends of Louise J. Ober and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for the support and guidance during my search for a summer internship, and for the freedom to further explore working with an arts organization.