While my formal education has taught me so much, being immersed in a summer internship at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) has given me much greater insight into what working in a professional environment entails. When I was offered the communications internship at FAMSF, I was thrilled. Along with the excitement, I couldn’t help but feel nervous too. I’m studying business at San Francisco State University, and I thought I might need more “art world” knowledge to perform well. Not only were my concerns quickly erased but the knowledge and skills I’ve been able to cultivate from this experience have far surpassed what I imagined.
What I thought PR was
On my first day, I had many preconceived ideas of what I would be doing and how exactly it would play out. I would talk to members of the press about what was going on at the Museums. The process would stop at a simple telephone call; I would ring a journalist and they would magically show up. Finding the journalists would be equally as easy. What I thought would be straightforward turned out to be a more thoughtful and deliberate process. The steps I imagined I would breeze through turned out to be challenging.
What PR actually is
We were told early on in the program that each intern would work on a big project that made a contribution to our department. My first week, I helped facilitate the press preview for The Obama Portraits Tour. Later I connected with Maria Egoavil, Public Programs project manager. From our conversation, I decided I wanted to work on a public relations (PR) campaign related to the Faith Ringgold: American People exhibition. Specifically, I wanted to support the collaborative events FAMSF was organizing with the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) for the upcoming exhibition Hella Feminist.