Sarah Haimes ’15 is spending many of her summer mornings traveling around New York City’s five boroughs to check on public art installations. Raisa Tolchinsky ’17 is working in a Brooklyn office, reading unsolicited manuscripts and and corresponding with writers. These two are among a handful of students who are taking advantage of summertime grants from Bowdoin to explore arts and literature jobs around the world. They both chose to work in New York City.
Sarah Haimes, Percent for Art
Sarah Haimes has a Strong/Gault Social Advancement Internship Grant to work with Percent for Art, based in Manhattan. Percent for Art, which is part of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, implements a city law requiring that one percent of the budget for city-funded construction projects be spent on public artworks.
Since 1982, Percent for Art has commissioned more than 200 pieces of art. One of the best parts of Haimes’ internship has been her expeditions around the city to do conservation checks on some of these pieces. “I’ve grown-up in the city but there are a lot of places I haven’t been,” she said. “It’s great because I don’t have to sit at a desk all day.” By the end of the summer, Haimes will have visited between 80 and 100 of the sites. Already, she’s traveled to all five boroughs in the city, both for site visits as well as for artist interviews. Her internship also has her researching potential artists for upcoming commissioned projects.
Haimes said that after having a series of summer internships and jobs in different art organizations — e.g., at a fashion photography studio and an art gallery, and she taught art to kids — she wanted to try something new. She chose to work with a public institution that bolsters artists. “I want to do something where I’m supporting the arts,” Haimes said. “That’s my dream, to work either for a foundation or for a museum’s development department.”
Raisa Tolchinsky, Jill Grinberg Literary Management
Raisa Tolchinsky received a grant from the Robert S. Goodfriend Summer Internship Fund to to intern at Jill Grinberg Literary Management, LLC, in Brooklyn. A serious writer since she was in the third grade, Tolchinsky said she hopes one day to be a published novelist and poet. Thinking practically, she decided she’d like to learn “the ins and outs of how authors are published,” she said. “I thought that working at an agency would be a great way to learn about the business side of the literary world, as well as give me a new perspective on what publishers and agents are looking for, what really stands out, when they are faced with a mountain of manuscripts.”
Tolchinsky’s major task this summer to is to read aspiring writers’ stories and books. “If I like the first 50 pages of a manuscript, I will request the full book, and then write a summary and critique for the agents,” she said.
Tolchinsky also hopes her immersion in the professional side of writing improves her own work. “The manuscripts that give me chills, or make me smile, or make me cry — that’s the kind of experience I want people to have when they read my own work,” she said. “I think in order to understand my own writing, I have to really understand what’s important to me in literature as a whole.”
It is Tolchinsky’s first time living in New York City. Already she loves the place “fiercely.” “…There is always something brilliant going on, always something to observe,” she said. “Without [my grant], I would have never been able to live in the city for the summer.”
To see what other Bowdoin students are up to this summer, check out this interactive map by Nina Underman ’15.