This semester, I have had the honor and the pleasure of interning for Button Poetry. For those that don’t know, Button Poetry is the country’s (and world’s!) largest distributor of spoken word poetry and have hundreds of videos on YouTube of the most talented poets and artists of our generation. (If you haven’t seen any, I highly encourage you to go check them out!) I watched their videos for years and was thrilled that I had the opportunity to work with the people that make it all happen.
My current internship has me working on audio and graphic development for their live-stream show, Button Poetry Live. I edit each of the monthly shows and am working with my supervisor to launch a store on BandCamp.com, an online music and audio store, where users can buy and download each of the shows following the live-stream. I am also in charge of sending out and collecting contracts from each artist that participates in that month’s show. (Though this may seem like a rather dull task, I always get a little excited when I get to send an email to an artist that I know and whose work I enjoy!)
One of the biggest challenges of my internship is the fact that I am working remotely. (1,500 miles remote, to be exact) Button Poetry is actually based in Minneapolis, MN, my hometown. Though I loved their videos and their mission, I didn’t realize they were based in Minneapolis until I saw one of their posts on Facebook about a local slam over the summer. When I realized they were only a short drive away from my house, I felt inspired to reach out to them and ask if they needed an eager, young volunteer to help at their shows and the like. Over the summer I stopped by occasionally, and did some graphic design for their Facebook page and other social media platforms. When I returned to school, I missed working for Button and wished there was a way to continue working for such a great company. Thanks Spring Internship Grant, I am able to devote myself to interning for a company that inspires me so many other people.
Though working remotely definitely is a challenge, it is not without its rewards. I have learned a lot about keeping in contact with my supervisor and working independently on the projects I pursue. Though I am still under the supervision of my boss, I have to take more command of the work I do and be confident enough to make decisions that aren’t all under the eyes of my boss. Today, when so much work happens online, working remotely has presented me with a set of challenges that, ultimately, have made me more reliable and versatile in my ability to do work in this modern world.
I am so grateful that I was able to continue working with Button and devote my time and energy to such a great cause. Button, through their work, has helped to launch so many careers and has brought spoken word poetry–an art form that celebrates diversity, encourages healing and champions social justice–into the mainstream. One of the things I respect most about Button Poetry is how they uses their popularity not as a platform to earn money, but to bring to light important causes through the artists it promotes and the work it does to give younger people a voice. Button is the intersection of arts and social justice that I want to pursue later in life as a career and I am so grateful that I have this opportunity and can’t wait to see where this will take me.