Reflections from Imani Islam

Thanks to Brandeis University, we had the pleasure of hosting Segal Fellow, Imani Islam as an intern for the summer. With the next semester around the corner, she opted to share her reflections on her time with us below as a parting gift.

After reading Imani’s words, be sure to find out more about Brandeis’ Segal Citizen Leadership Program here.

My experience as a summer intern at the Art Connection has been a summer filled with excitement, community and fine art. Experiencing the Art Connection has allowed me to take a break from my personal focus on performing arts and dabble in visual art.

Lots of ideas exchanged during one of the many meetings in The Art Connection office.

I got a chance to see how much it impacts the surrounding communities, and organizations in Boston. As a summer intern I had the ability to meet with a diverse amount of organizations varying from those helping immigrants and refugees to aiding those who are dealing with mental health. That has allowed me to see first hand that despite the varying agendas different organizations have, they can be interconnected in their impact and interest in art.

These are some pictures from the artworks on permanent exhibition at the International Institute of New England. I had a chance to capture them when I attended their Open House celebrating the art and revamp of their programs supporting immigrants.

 Art is able to change many people’s lives by providing outlets and creating positive spaces for talking about their passions and lived experiences. Through working with Cambridge Trust Bank as a partner, I had the chance to hang new artworks during install for Alive With Color. The vibrant paintings brightened up the room and lifted the spirits of the people coming in and out. While visiting the art reception at St.Cecilia’s House I had a conversation with an elderly resident about donated artwork they personally liked and seeing the smile on their face will be one of the many memories that stick with me. Along with the other interactions I experienced, it inspired me to see that art is a universal language.

Here’s a peek at the action I captured during the art reception at St.Cecilia’s House. The elders had so much to share when showing us around and pointing out their favorite works.

 I was challenged to use my creativity to think through developing social media marketing, meeting with organizations and researching grant applications. All of this helped me see elements of how a non-profit is run. 

Additionally, a highlight of being an intern this summer was being able to work with the Art Connection Team. They taught me new skills for connecting with people, research and program managing that I can use not only within the arts, but also in my undergraduate career. They are always reinforcing that I should do what I’m passionate about and I’m inspired by how they have kept The Art Connection’s legacy going. 

All smiles with The Art Connection Team at the summer fundraiser, Hot Buns.

Overall, interning at The Art Connection has been one transformative summer where I have become more confident in knowing that my interest in art is not a mistake. I look forward to exploring more of the nonprofit world in the future.