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In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Behind the Scenes - Summer Intern Kim Curhan

Sep 6, 2012 4:55:00 PM
By BLO Staff

BLO is an organization that thrives not only due to the hard work of its administrative and artistic staff but through the incredible efforts of volunteers and interns! This summer, Kim Curhan a student at Boston University interned in our Development department, this is her story.
Thank you for all of your hard work Kim!
Touring the BLO office on my first day, I could not help but notice how genuinely all the employees smiled at me. Although a smile is often impulsive during a greeting, the employees at BLO smiled jovially and contagiously, and they got me thinking about how the act of philanthropically gifting the community with art teaches the meaning of heart-warming, altruistic work. It is this generosity that first attracted me to a career in arts management. In fact, working to preserve and share with others the enchantment of art does not sound like work to me at all. My final month of summer this year could have been filled with pool parties and internet surfing, but I chose to spend it here making a difference in the Boston community!
At college, I am a proud History of Art and Architecture major and Communications minor, and I firmly believe that the performing arts are extremely valuable. Growing up, I took singing lessons, trained in ballet, and performed with theatre groups. I painted, conquered artful photography, and taught myself how to play the guitar. If art gives me such a strong sense of purpose and happiness, I am confident that it can have the same effect on others. Hence, it is not a surprise that my constant involvement with art, growing up, furthered my professional passion to retain a rich arts culture in my community. My passion for sharing art with the masses shines openly, especially since I launched an art history blog during my free time in June.

When the opportunity arose to intern with BLO in development, I was thrilled to learn about the inner workings of a non-profit performing arts organization. Under the incredibly helpful supervision of Ceceilia Allwein, I designed and implemented processes and data entry templates to organize the sea of due dates for fundraising publications throughout the artistic season. It became clear how important monetary support from donors is and how essential voicing gratitude is to sustaining longstanding relationships with opera lovers. Branching out into the marketing side of development, I compiled a report of my analysis on which fundraising techniques will work most efficiently and which ones will work best for Boston Lyric Opera’s patrons. Most importantly though, I have grasped an understanding of fundraising principles and actively created efficient, organizational tools that I can take with me to my future career in non-profit, arts management work.

With my new-found knowledge, I am much more aware of the relationship between supporters and art-makers. Unfortunately, this alliance is often overlooked when one is merely an occasional ticket buyer. My experience here has ensured my future involvement with non-profit arts organizations as a donor. After all, without the support of the community, BLO and other arts organizations that rely on contributions in addition to ticket sales would no longer function. And although this terrifies me, since so much seems to depend on so little, it also inspires me. I could not be happier working with a staff that dedicates its time, energy and creativity to keeping opera and the arts in the Boston community.

Have you volunteered or interned at BLO? If you want to share YOUR story email [email protected]!

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