SAB Summer Internship through the DIAL Program

This summer, SAB had the pleasure of partnering with Americans for the Arts through their Diversity in Arts Leadership (DIAL) Internship Program. This program strives to strengthen and advance diversity in the arts management field by providing college students working towards careers in the arts or business sectors with a hands-on introduction to arts nonprofits. Interns gain invaluable exposure to dynamic leaders across a variety of arts disciplines and businesses, helping them become better equipped to enter the workforce as a diverse and creative future leader.

Originally planned as an in-person experience, the DIAL internship pivoted to a virtual platform mid-spring and AFTA ensured that SAB was ready and able to make the transition. DIAL Intern Nailah Williams first met with SAB supervisors Kristen Barrett and Elise Drew León in late March over Zoom to discuss the goals of the internship and how things might shift in the virtual space. Although the months that followed were not exactly business as usual, Nailah quickly jumped into supporting various areas of the School’s administrative operations – from assisting with social media campaigns to monitoring our virtual classes on Zoom! Several of the projects she worked on, including SAB’s Impact Report, would not have been possible without her partnership and will continue to take shape beyond her 10-week experience.

Given the unique nature of this year’s internship, we asked Nailah to share a bit more about her experience as a DIAL intern and what she’s taking from her time working with SAB.

SAB: Tell us just a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in the DIAL internship placement program.

NW: This past spring, I graduated from Brown University where I studied Literary Arts. I applied to Americans for the Arts’ DIAL internship program because of my lifelong appreciation for the arts. I have been involved in musical theatre, dance, writing, and singing since the age of 3, and wanted to pursue an opportunity to gain experience working in a nonprofit arts organization. I particularly admired AFTA’s mission to increase cultural equity in the arts and knew that DIAL was a program I wanted to be a part of. Arts administration is a field I am looking to enter as I begin this next chapter of my life.

SAB: What interested you about SAB and the opportunity to work with us this summer?

NW: From the moment I was matched with SAB, I was struck by the School’s commitment to holistic training. I remember looking forward to seeing how SAB developed its students, not only as dancers but as people. I grew up participating in arts enrichment programs, but rarely had I been exposed to the behind-the-scenes work of arts administration. When I learned that I would be working with the Public Relations, Recruiting & Outreach and Development departments, I was excited to learn how the work of these departments fit into SAB’s larger mission of training students for professional ballet careers.

SAB: What has this internship been like for you, particularly in this remote working arrangement? What have been the best parts of the experience?

NW: This internship has been a wonderful experience for me. Everyone at SAB has welcomed me with open arms into their departments. I’ve gotten to work on such an array of projects, spanning more facets of the School than I could’ve imagined existed. Although I did not originally envision this experience to be a remote one, entering SAB in the virtual realm ended up being a blessing. I was able to engage with SAB during a time when so many elements were evolving. Not only was the School transitioning to online training, but important conversations were also taking place about SAB’s continued journey to becoming a more inclusive and equitable organization.

SAB: What challenges have you encountered during the internship?

During the internship, I was fortunate enough to work with the PRO department, the Development department, and even lead a Student Life program. Working with several departments challenged me to manage multiple deadlines, as I would often have projects from different departments that needed my attention simultaneously. I learned to ask for help when I needed it, and ultimately overcame this challenge by maintaining open communication across departments.

SAB: Are there any particular learnings or projects that resonated with you and will influence you in future work?

NW: The most valuable things I will take away from my internship are the relationships I fostered with SAB faculty and staff. The one-on-one conversations that I had with SAB leadership, PRO, Development, Student Life, and Finance & IT staffers yielded not only professional insight but proof that there are countless ways to be involved in nonprofit arts work. The knowledge that my path is completely unique is something that I will carry with me in my future endeavors.

I look forward to seeing SAB continue to evolve and grow.

Our thanks to Americans for the Arts for this meaningful experience and to Nailah for spending her summer with SAB and sharing the story of her internship. We know she and her cohort of fellow DIAL interns have bright futures in the arts and we cannot wait to see the positive impacts they are sure to make in our community.