April 2, 2012

Internship Success: WaterFire Providence

Dina Cheng is a sophomore Communications Design major who managed to get an internship after her first year at Pratt. This past summer she interned with WaterFire Providence in Rhode Island and answered the following questions about her experience:

What was the company/business/studio you worked at? What do they do?
I interned for WaterFire Providence, a world renowned live art festival. There is music, food, and obviously art. The art director, Barnaby Evans was commissioned to design something that would bring people out to Providence at night. Since Providence was basically an 'empty' city, bringing people out to have fun was a big deal. So now, every other Saturday night during the summer, Providence is lit up with braziers down the rivers and the city is filled with thousands of people from around the world. The crew spends weeks preparing for the day and hours keeping everything organized and running.

How did you find your internship?
At the time, I was an upcoming sophomore in the Communications Design department, so I knew I wanted an internship close to home. WaterFire Providence, was something I, and many Rhode Island natives grew up with. Through networking and a couple of e-mails later, I was able to get in contact with the Graphics Designer at WaterFire and everything fell in place from there.

What did you do as an intern?
Because this was such a huge event that took up a huge chunk of Providence, signage was needed to inform the people. That was what I mostly worked on. In the beginning of the season, I worked with advertisement and created many ads for booklets that would be handed out to nearby hotels.

What was the best part of being an intern at this job?
Being able to see your work being used and seen by other people. It is true that people may not appreciate the simplicity of an informational piece, but the fact that someone can look at it, understand it, and use it, is rather satisfying. Many times, everyone is working up to the day before the event, and you are able to see everything you did and everything you worked for the WaterFire night. 
During the night, I also worked at the merchandise tent, where merchandise also had to set up to draw in people visually. I love designing, but the best part of this internship is that there is more to sitting in front of a computer all day.

What did you learn the most?
I learned a lot about time management. Most of the time, the employers at WaterFire work up to the last second and its quite amazing how much they get done. There is no slacking going on. Their focus on the tasks at hand was amazing, and I think I was able to come away with that. Also, graphic design is much more than just ink on paper, I was not prepared to create 3D things, like packaging, or even merchandise set up.

Any advice for students trying to intern in your field?
Graphic Design is such a wide and vague major, and we are lucky to be able to pick a 'sub' hobby. For example, if you are into fashion, you can be designing advertisement for a fashion firm. So pick a internship thats based on something that you are interested in, it makes it that much more fun.

--Thanks Dina! We look forward to hearing more from you!

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