Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adventures in Filing: Stories from Our Interns

An update from the trenches from our summer intern, Rick Morgan.

Despite what some might think, working for the Alliance isn’t always the fast-paced, rockstar lifestyle people imagine. I know that’s why I signed up for this internship, and I certainly did get a full serving of the adrenaline-fueled dream during my first week preparing for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Ceremony. The work we do, however, isn’t always full of parties with celebrities like Mel Bochner. The majority of the year is busy outreaching to students and teachers to encourage participation.
One thing that makes the Alliance so great is our relationship with the alumni. A lot of people have won Scholastic Awards over the years, but not just the Truman Capotes and Andy Warhols of the world: there are also many who have become jewelry designers, ad directors, film directors and more. Unfortunately for me, some of the alums won Awards in the Jurassic Period (aka, before the invention of computers) and this means that a lot of the archival information is stored on fossil-like things called index cards – and even entire folders devoted to different alumni. I recently spent a day shuffling through these cards in order to alphabetically order the past winners. It was fascinating to observe just how long the Awards have been going on and the places from which people have won.
It’s also important that we keep a pulse on what’s going on in the lives of the alumni as they move on into the brave new world. Many talented artists have won, which of course translates into a lot of exciting developments after they move on from the Awards. I know this firsthand, as I also recently spent multiple days going through the alumni archive and sorting articles and news that pertain to past winners. It was baffling to actually see the number of headlines past winners have made in all walks of life. Some continue to solely make art for art’s sake, while others have used their artistic talents for a variety of other purposes (business, design, advertising… you name it). It’s an incredible wealth of information and unfortunately I couldn’t spend hours reading every article I came across. Even so, I cheated a little bit and skimmed a few of the articles during my work. Out of all of the tasks my internship with the Alliance has entailed so far, going through the alumni files has been the most effective in conveying the prestige of The Scholastic Awards.
The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers works hard to maintain its external relations; whether it’s with alumni, donors, affiliates or sponsors. The work I’ve done here has shown me that this organization is about so much more than just the Awards themselves. There is a whole network of factors that make the program important as it is. The long-lasting relationships between the Alliance and the alumni accentuates the lifelong effect these Awards can have. They are a special prize whose inspiration and value cannot be taken away. I only hope that the Alliance does this good of a job keeping in contact with their former interns. I’ll be anxious to hear how the Awards progress and grow after my internship this summer is over.

~Rick Morgan

Image, above: Index card from the files of The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.


Nancy said...

Unfortunately, I can't tell what the text in the above image is. Is there any way you can post a larger version of it, or transcribe the text?

The Alliance said...

Hi Nancy, thank you for your comment. The text is from one of many index cards that were used for filing purposes over the years. They were typed and hand-written. Unfortunately some of these index cards are so old they've become very faded and difficult to read. The index card above referred to appearances of the Scholastic Art Awards and winners from different magazines over a series of decades.

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