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Sue Bush
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Meet The B-HIPs: Rachel Martin

By Jen Thomas
04:49AM / Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rachel Martin is a B-HIP intern. [Photo by Jen Thomas]
The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Berkshire Hills Internship program, known as B-HIP, drew 13 college and graduate student interns from around the globe to its summer session of the arts-based Berkshire region internship program. www.iberkshires.com invites our readers to "Meet the B-HIPs" and discover what the program and our region offers to those with a love of the arts.

North Adams - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts junior Rachel Martin has been a dancer since she was 3 years old. Now, she’s working behind the scenes rather than in the spotlight.

"I always want to dance, but right now, I really want to learn how to do the business side of dance," said Martin, 19.

A Berkshire Hills Internship Program intern, Martin works with renowned dancer and educator Sandra Burton, who serves as the Lipp family director of dance at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College. Martin is helping to organize the "Exploring the Arts" program for Williams’ freshman orientation, and assisting Burton with artist contact,workshop coordinator and guest speaker contacts.

"It’s really a lot of planning and phone calls," said Martin. "I do a lot of different things; calling all the people involved in 'Exploring the Arts,' organizing trips, arranging transportation."

An arts management major, Martin said she views the B-HIP internship as the first step to a successful arts administration career post-graduation.

"That could be anything from an artistic director to a program director," she said.

Martin said an arts management major focuses on several aspects of a creative endeavor, tackling a project from both a business and an artistic perspective. The curriculum includes grant writing, marketing, business writing and accounting.

"It involves a lot of classes a business major would have to take and [classes] a fine and performing arts major would have to take," said Martin.

As part of the summer B-HIP lesson plan, all the interns are required to take a class once weekly that focuses on a specific area of arts management. The students also attend presentations from guest lecturers who specialize in Berkshire cultural attractions. Interns participate in cultural outing as a group.

"It’s interesting to see what the other interns are doing, what their jobs are like," said Martin.

Though Martin, whose minor is the theater, loves being on stage, her real passion is taking the reins behind the curtain. As a dance teacher at Adams’ Karen’s School of Dance, Martin has experience with coordinating stage performances.

"I like being on stage, but I’d definitely rather be planning what shows we were going to perform long term," said Martin. "Performing is more of a hobby than something I want to do forever."

Martin, originally from Hudson, plans to remain within the state, but said she has no interest in staying in the Berkshires despite its wealth of cultural resources.

"I wouldn’t want to live here permanently but I like going to college here," she said. "There’s a lot going on in a relatively small area and if you’re into art and theater, there’s a lot going on here, especially during the summer."

For now, Martin is optimistic that the internship continues smoothly and that she will exit the program with marketable skills and impressive contacts.

"At future interviews, I can say I worked with Sandra Burton," said Martin.

Jen Thomas may be reached via e-mail at jthomas@iberkshires.com or at 413-663-3384 ext. 23.
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