Arrowmont’s Internship Program provides an opportunity to work with staff for a two-three month period and learn about nonprofit administration. Oscar Soto is the Summer 2021 technology intern. Here, he shares impressions from the first half of his internship experience.
Notes from a Holistic Nonprofit Intern
By Oscar Soto
One of my favorite TV shows of the past few years was the short-lived Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, based on a series of novels by Douglas Adams. The detective, Dirk, never has a specific mission or method, but he is always on the case. The universe simply flows through him in such a way that no matter where he wanders or who he bumps into, it somehow leads him closer to the heart of the mystery.
My title is Technology Intern. I help instructors with in-house studio tech, help our Marketing Manager with photo and video editing, and generally lend a hand wherever I can be useful. Students know me as the friendly guy with the camera who drops into their workshops every now and then. More recently, however, I have come to think of myself as the Holistic Nonprofit Intern. Simply by being here, wherever I go and whoever I talk to, I end up developing a much richer understanding of how Arrowmont runs, how the offices interrelate, and how wrong I was to always have imagined a great chasm between the arts administration office and the studio. This internship is helping me appreciate the two sides as collaborative forces integral to a flourishing creative ecosystem.
As the Holistic Nonprofit Intern, I cross paths with Bill Griffith and we sit for a chat about the Windgate Fellowship program. Over the course of the conversation, I develop a mental list of insights on everything from university outreach to email etiquette. This list gets longer the next day as I sit down with Fran Day in Institutional Advancement, and the following week as Julia Clinton tells me about what it was like to switch from the world of for-profit finance to a creative nonprofit organization. I have an all-access pass. I talk with students, work studies, artists-in-residence, instructors, directors, board members, and more.
Like Dirk Gently, I find it hard to name a specific thing that I am trying to figure out or discover here, but I know I am getting closer. With every conversation I am a part of, the context deepens for the next one. I know that, in its own way, this internship functions like one of Arrowmont’s national workshops. What you accomplish within the limited time frame is one thing, but it’s what you take with you and unpack in new spaces and contexts of life down the road that endures.
Oscar Soto is a sculptor, painter and musician. He earned a BFA in painting and MFA in studio art from Winthrop University. He has exhibited primarily in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Chile, and has work in the ongoing touring exhibition Palmetto Luna with Citadel Oral History Program. He has worked with creative technologies including 3D modeling using Rhinoceros, CNC routing, and was a studio technician graduate assistant for the Department of Fine Arts at Winthrop University 2020-2021. Soto attended craft schools including Arrowmont, Penland School of Craft, and Anderson Ranch. He is currently technology intern at Arrowmont.