Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Parting Shot

A Belated Final Post

It is now a few weeks into the school year and I am back at Wheaton. This summer was amazing and as a final post I've decided to post the final paper that I had to turn into the school. I feel like this paper sums up what I got out the internship and the posts along the way show how I was enjoying myself and exploring the town. Hope you enjoy.

The Impact of Provincetown

The three and a half months of Summer 2010 have been unlike any other in my life so far. I have been to Ireland, Greece, Montreal, and cities across the United States but nothing has compared to the experience of spending a summer in a studio apartment by the sea in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Living alone on a pier in Unit D, a room no larger than my dorm in McIntire freshman year, confronted with the pseudo real world that Ptown offers forced me to mature and think about my life after college at a time when I wouldn’t have thought about it otherwise. I’m twenty and still have two years left in college, why should I decide what I want to do for a career now? Thanks to the generous stipend that accompanied my scholarship I was able to experience life away from my family and friends. In addition, I was thrust into real world situations that I would not have experienced in Norton or Westfield surrounded by familiarities.

This whole summer I felt like I was living the life of Julien Sorel in Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le Noir or David S├ęchard in Les Illusions Perdues. Le Rouge et le Noir is hailed as the first realist novel chronicling Julien’s ascent into aristocratic French society and Les Illusions Perdues is a similar realist novel about a journalist and his career. What I got from the novels when I read them back in high school was the importance of hard work, an internal drive to succeed, the profitability of close personal connections, and more importantly how romance can shape and destroy our public and personal lives. This internship turned out to be a little crash course on the transition between the student world and the real world similar to Julien or David’s climb into, and decent from, French society.

Provincetown slapped me in the face with life lessons just like one of the snappy, eccentric drag queens who walk Commercial Street picking on the uncomfortable tourists. I was able to watch people interact in a town that is an illusion; it is a melting pot of wealth and backgrounds where social norms are disregarded and people get to have fun and enjoy themselves, yet there still exists a division among the people—townies and everyone else. Knowing that I was there more for my internship than a vacation, I evaluated my experience more than I would have if it was a regular summer. I was more interested in interacting with “out-of-towners” and those who were able to have their second or third home in town. How could they have a lifestyle and job that allowed them to only live there for a few months out of the year? Like I said earlier, this summer was anything but normal and I learned so much about living, careers and relationships that is impossible to get anywhere else.

My internship was the Arts Management Internship offered by the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM). It is an extraordinary nonprofit museum in the East End with a staff of about ten people who put on everything from gallery openings to concerts and they also run a museum school. I worked underneath an amazingly friendly and upbeat woman named Ashley. We worked great together and she offered me a lot of opportunities to be creative designing and promoting events online and around town as well as putting me to work doing research. The investigating I did focused on creating extensive lists that compiled names of press contacts and businesses such as catering services, wedding planners, and other companies that would be interested in renting out gallery spaces. Through doing a lot of the research I began to see how important it was to make professional contacts that could help support the museum. My last project was to create a Vendors List that would be given to potential renters of the gallery spaces in addition to the Facilities Rental Brochure. This flyer would help potential renters in planning their event because then they would not have to spend a lot of time looking for local businesses to help cater their event, etc.

As well as working in an office environment, the internship entailed catering private events and helping out with functions sponsored by PAAM. At most of the events I assisted with, the prevailing purpose was the membership and the necessity of gaining and retaining monetary support for the museum. These gallery openings and private affairs presented me with people who were of a class that I never really interacted with before—the rich out-of-towners who spend their summers on the Cape supporting the arts, artists themselves, or those who just mingled with that crowd of people because they had money. It was an intoxicating experience that motivated me to think about how I could possibly make contacts and retain friendships in a crowd of that sort. The events reminded me that there are different classes of people here in the United States and I felt similar to Julien who, through opportunities he manufactured and pursued, was able to gain entry into the higher classes of French society.

Mingling with these people I met architects, artists, authors, brain surgeons, a contact at the MFA in Boston, a Wheaton Alum, and gay men with successful jobs who provided me with insight into career choices and, through observation, relationship advice. I was surrounded by examples of homosexual men and women who were successful inside and outside of the town that my friends and I have began to refer to as the gay Disney World.

To keep this paper short I am thankful for a few key things that Provincetown has contributed to my outlook on life and how I will live professionally and personally in the future. Provincetown is a world created by the gay population that you can tangibly feel. As soon as I reached the bluff overlooking Ptown on Route 6, I knew and felt that everything was okay and you could just be yourself. It was a feeling that I have not experienced anywhere else in my life. I don’t think it is a feeling that only gay people feel, but visitors realize that you are supported and judged more by your merit than sexuality. That will probably be the biggest difficulty for me travelling back to the hetero world where I will be relegated to a 2nd or 3rd class citizen again. Living here has given me more confidence in who I am and less shame about it. It was not like I hid being gay before, but being gay you are more conscious that you are different and judge yourself more because of it. Being surrounded by the success of men and women in Provincetown gives me hope that things are either changing, or that you don’t have to be so hard on yourself back in Heteroville, U.S.A. I am more confident as an individual and now have examples of successful gay men that are never shown on T.V. or the movies—yet they ironically produce and have a major hand in a lot of the shows and plays that have dominated American culture.

My internship at PAAM and my summer in Provincetown have given me memories that I will remember forever. The experience of being in a town like Ptown for months and seeing it transform from a pre-vacation village into a bustling town that celebrated summer and being gay ending with Ptown’s version of Maris Gras, a weeklong Jungle Fantasy Carnival, has given me real world experience on how to navigate the dual realities that exist in my life. The student vs. professional, gay vs. straight, and the rich vs. working class are all realities that I was confronted with in a town that boomed from a population around 3,000 to a summer population of 60,000. Julien and David navigated dual realities in their respective novels and that had their share of successes and tragedies transitioning between the two. The experience I had in Provincetown and at PAAM wasn’t quite like that, but through pursuing an interest and passion I had for art, I opened up a whole new career field that I had never thought about yet that I really enjoyed. I liked what my job entailed, the people I had to deal with, and that I got to be both creative and do office work at the same time. I will be taking these lessons with me back to Wheaton as well as into my future career. This internship has made a lasting impression on my life.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Now the summer is really coming to an end, but the town isn’t showing any signs of slowing up. It seems more like the town is just starting to get down to business. The Business Guild’s themed weeks are still happening and the next one is an exciting one that makes Provincetown an attractive party destination. It’s Carnival Week and this year’s theme is Jungle Fantasy. I can only imagine what this week is going to be like based on what I saw of the big Independence Week around the Fourth. CRAZY! I am excited and can’t wait for the festivities to begin.

I’m still doing my thing here—work and work that is. Hanging out with my friends has been harder to do but I did just get a visit from two of my good friends from Westfield. That was a nice few days of relaxation and catching up. After a very busy July at PAAM, we’ve had a week or two of relative calm. No big gallery openings but there have been some concerts in the galleries that have garnered attention. I’ve got to do some exciting design projects to promote the museum. I designed the posters and postcards for the ‘12 x 12 Auction and Exhibition.’ I continue to do online work promoting events and trying to raise awareness about the events happening at PAAM. Reflecting on this summer it’s been nice getting to see how the office environment works in this type of enterprise. It’s an experience that I can’t get at J. Crew or Stop & Shop!

As I kind of ranted about in the previous post, the job market is more on my mind now-a-days, and I want to start exploring more of the opportunities that Wheaton offers by making connections with alumnae etc. On my own I’ve somehow managed to make connections with the MFA and another company in Boston. Good luck? Yes, but something I am more aware about doing now after hanging out with “freshly-graduated” friends here in town.

Anyways, here are some other pictures that I’ve taken in the past few days. The weather has been incredible and it’s sometimes hard to focus. That’s when I get to go on these little photo adventures.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Month Later…

If you couldn’t tell from the lack of postings to my blog, I’ve been busy here in town. I’ve made some great friends and I’m working at both PAAM and Stop & Shop.

The town has grown on me. The quaint beauty that both tourists and I experienced when first arriving here has worn off and been replaced by the familiarity of home. Commercial Street is now etched into my head from the rotary at the Ptown Inn all the way down to the East End where it meets to form a fork with Bradford. The houses and shops are all the same, but they have been touched-up for the tourist season and the streets are now busy with people, bikes, dogs, and callers promoting the evening’s drag show. (I definitely recommend seeing the show Naked Boys Singing. It’s not drag, but it’s a hysterical show). I run into familiar faces walking downtown but the consistent flow of people makes for great people watching and the occasional run in with a Wheaton alum. Similarly to the Wheaton/Norton community, Provincetown has shown me how small the world is. Yes, the Cape is full of small towns, but Provincetown in the summer is quite the experience because people visit from all over. At the grocery store I’ve cashed out French Canadians, Germans, Brits, Californians, Bostonians, New Yorkers, Mainers, and others from all over the country. What living here has made me increasingly realize is that the professional and personal connections you make really bring all parts of the country and world near. Nothing is really that far away if you can set yourself up to be in the right locations and take advantage of the opportunities given to you.

This is why I am happy to have my internship at PAAM. The museum has hosted a few gallery openings with influential townsfolk and donors, all of which I have got to help out at. I was a walker at the bi-annual art auction, I helped setup and host openings, and I’ve helped out at a cocktail party. Tomorrow I will be helping out with the launch party for the new architectural magazine out of Boston, Esplanade. The people at these events are all part of the same art world in Provincetown, but they come from diverse backgrounds in their non-vacationing lives. Brain surgeons, architects, managers, authors, journalists all contribute to the flocks of people that come to town and that I have an opportunity to interact with. As well as making these contacts, I am beginning to build a portfolio of completed projects from my internship. The work there is fun and definitely something I could see myself being a part of and making a career out of one way or another.

To wrap of this post I’ll have to say that I don’t know what I’m going to do once I get back to Wheaton and the ‘real world’! Living on the Cape is almost like a fantasy world. I’ll just have to apply the knowledge and skills I’ve gained here, out there. Seeing how people make a living in this semi-closed environment will help me recognize the larger connections and interactions that make up the ‘real-world.’ As for right now I’m going to stop thinking that my summer is over—I still have a month left here!

Thanks to Sarah Toscano for taking the picture! Visit her blog!

More pictures to come...

Friday, June 11, 2010

First Day at the Internship

Today was exciting and flew by. Unlike the mindless work at Stop & Shop, I got to do something I like and had a fun first day at PAAM. Everyone was wicked nice and I'm excited about some of the projects my boss told me I'd be working on. One of them that's going to be long-term is to get a package together for rentals within the galleries. I'm definitely glad I'm doing the management internship because this seems more my style so far than doing what some of the other workers were doing today. Tomorrow I get to help out at the silent auction which is a big fundraiser for the museum. It'll be exciting to go since I've never been to an art auction before. I'm looking forward to Monday! -- Bet you don't say that often.

Other than that I've started making friends! It's nice to finally have people to hang out with. The beach is now more fun because I have people to talk to and the nights are getting more exciting. I'll post more this weekend at some point. I'm going to go enjoy the nice evening after yesterdays rain.

Friday, June 4, 2010


So just a quick update because I realized I haven't written anything in a while. The weather hasn't been the greatest the past few days so I've relished working indoors and watched too much TV for my own good. I did have a nice Memorial Day weekend which was full of amazing weather. Some college friends were down for the week and I hung out with them. Some high school friends visited and we went to a drag show, my dad came down and we went to breakfast in town, and my friend from Providence visited. I finally knew people in town! Work is starting to feel more friendly and I'm starting to recognize people around town which is nice. Internet is now accessible inside my room which is a big bonus! I finally went to visit A. Paul Filiberto at his studio and he was extremely nice. We made some small talk and I got to interrogate him while I watched him paint. I'm going to take him up on his offer to paint in his studio once I get some of the materials together. Luckily I won't have to worry about paint!