Earlier this past spring, my Public Art Studio instructor Kenn von Roenn put me in touch with one of his long-time friends from Madison, Wisconsin.
Toni Sikes, who I am now interning with, is CEO of CODAworx, a web-based company located here in Madison that acts as a global platform to showcase design projects that feature commissioned artworks in interior, architectural, and public spaces, and to foster the collaboration between art and design professionals with industry resources.
In terms of my projects, I’ve had new things every day – some rely on my graphic design and branding knowledge, but some are as simple as acting as a courier and running to the post office, or across town to pick up or drop off a check.
I’ve helped search for and contact various lists of people and correspond with them, mostly revolving around the annual CODAawards, which is an awards competition that has members of the art community submit their relevant projects, which are voted upon by a jury, as well as a public vote. I’ve put together a few Powerpoint presentations, with one around 150 slides. My most recent one was finding examples of public art projects that involved furniture, or pushed that idea in a new and interesting way, the whole reason behind it being that Toni is giving a panel discussion at the Furniture Society’s FS15 conference in North Carolina at the end of this month regarding the opportunities that furniture artists have in public art. I’ve also updated and redesigned some various graphic design bits as needed. I’m currently working on the media kit for the CODAvideo awards (which are similar to the CODAawards, except focused on the videos that help tell the stories of the projects, and they take place in autumn instead of spring) as well as drawing up a new design for a white paper.
What I find really fun about this experience so far, apart from constant presence of the two resident office cats, is that I really don’t have too much of a routine. New days are new experiences. Some days, I’ll get 3 or 4 small projects all done before I leave, but some other times I’m working on a more long-term project (like the white paper).
I don’t know if I came up to Madison with any specific goals in mind, other than to be open-minded and take in everything I could. I didn’t want to set myself up with any expectations or assumptions. As of right now, though, my current main goals are to make myself the most useful I can be to CODAworx, and to do that by not only helping with design work, but also to future-proof the projects I complete so that they can easily be edited and updated by anyone after I am gone.
My biggest challenge during this whole experience was making it possible. While getting the internship itself was easy, preparing for a cross-country move for the summer was definitely not. All within the last bit of the semester, I had to secure a living place up here in Madison, while also finding someone to sublet my place back at FSU, and also being moved out before I leave, since the lease ends before I come back, and remotely setting up a new lease for the fall… The most stressful part of the internship had ended before I even arrived up here.
As for where I want to go from here, I don’t know. I think it’s really hard, as an art major, to be able to say for sure what my future plans are as a whole. I still want to eventually become an Imagineer with Disney, I do plan on being a practicing public artist, and I’m considering going to grad school for architecture. I do definitely want to return to Madison to live here in the future, though, which I did not expect.
I think this has been a most successful internship so far, and I am extremely grateful for everyone involved who, together, allowed me to have this experience.