Archive for August 31st, 2015


Intern Story

August 31, 2015

Simon Rollins

Simon Rollins has been an intern in my office this summer at the Maine Arts Commission and kindly took a few minutes to write the following blog post. He provides us the chance to learn more about Arts Administration. Simon is a thoughtful person who graduated from Erskine Academy in 2012. His future is bright!

Please tell the Maine Arts Education blog readers about your educational journey Simon.

DSC_1224_SimonRollins_850x1270              I currently attend the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) where I study Arts Administration. I am often asked, “What exactly does that mean?” The question bothers me. It would not bother me so much if I had a snappy one-sentence response to hand out. But I don’t. Arts Administration is a multifaceted subject for me, and hopefully for other people who study it, as well.

     To ask an engineering student or a biology student the same question seems a little foolish or even inconsiderate. Why, though? “What will that equate to? What is engineering?” The answer is certainly more than just “math.” But it seems, from my personal experience, that “a lot of math” is a great answer for that question. An answer that is welcomed with open arms by the majority of amateur surveyors and second rate life coaches. A narrowed focus is a learning attribute our nation values. Unfortunately, I don’t hold that attribute.

     My education, thus far, has been wide-ranging. I study liberal arts, but the degree I will earn next spring will say “Bachelor of Visual and Performing Arts: Arts Administration.” Or something to that effect.

     For me, that means I have the green light to take the courses I am genuinely interested in and suitable for my style of thinking. And I’ve done exactly that for three years. It’s great. And I’m smarter as a result. Only recently have I begun piecing together the incredible courses I have collected to fashion a degree that summarizes what I’ve done at UMF. To be honest, I don’t think Arts Administration is the final title; it’s my working title.

     Though, with this said, I am in love with the idea of being an arts administrator. During my time here in Augusta, I’ve learned that the Maine Arts Commission (MAC), and other similar organizations, are employed with selfless people who possess a strong desire to serve the public. Working at MAC, in addition to schooling on the subject, has excited the possibility of undertaking future projects to benefit artists with the duel intention of exposing art for its intrinsic value and for the sake of social change.

     I was at a show in a South Portland basement a few weeks ago, listening to local bands I like. Visually scanning the 50 or so other people there, I thought, “Everyone here is genuinely enjoying themselves.” But even if just one person were relishing those moments, it would be worth organizing the musicians to travel far distances, congregate at the same venue, and assemble equipment in a hot, cramped space. That one person is better as a result of having been there, involved with something that was impactful to her on an intricate level. With this sort of example in mind, I’m realizing why I initially wanted to intern at the MAC and study this atypical subject. I want to expose others to what I find captivating.

      I view my major as a focused liberal arts degree. I’m learning concepts that will benefit me throughout my entire life, regardless of their direct applications to my future professions. As I begin to comprehend what post school life might look like, I gather that I will be working in multiple, evolving fields, so to worry too much about what exactly I’m studying at the moment feels like contrived anxiety. However, as mentioned previously, this is not self perpetuated stress. It seems as though everyone I have ever come in contact with is agitated or at least somewhat discouraged that I don’t know my place in higher education. I’m labeled as a bit of a slacker. Which doesn’t offend me in the slightest, but I do worry that others like me (the vast majority of students), feel a pressure to choose and commit to a costly and grueling degree that may end up restricting them to miserable parameters in the future.

     Ending brightly: Studying Arts Administration is currently giving me the freedom to view different avenues of choice by studying both business and art. It is an area of study I’m glad I chose to engage with.


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