Emily Dombrovskaya ’19, Hurford Center Summer Assistant

Emily Dombrovskaya ’19 describes turning the HCAH office upside down.

After several summers of Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities supported internships that  took me across the country, this week I started a position as the HCAH Summer Assistant right here in the Visual Culture, Arts, and Media building at Haverford College. The campus is at its most beautiful, and seeing VCAM in its quiet summer state marks a nice change of pace compared to its usual chaos. While the summer means there aren’t the usual 4-5 Hurford events every week (a calculation I did on my first day here), there are plenty of projects underway.

Photo by Cole Sansom ’19

As a Virgo I was incredibly excited to hear that we were going to turn the HCAH office upside down and reorganize everything. Despite its minimalist aesthetic, VCAM is full of exciting nooks and crannies full of unexpected objects; I’ve found catalogues, works of art, faculty publications, postcards, office supplies, CDs of a student band covering Rumors by Fleetwood Mac in its entirety, and even one nun’s habit in the office. I like to think of it as learning by osmosis—I’m not working on one intensive research project, but I’m connecting a vast range of projects and thought processes in my own mind and understanding the importance of these relationships as a result. I’m learning about previous Philadelphia Area Creative Collaborative projects through interview transcriptions and about current students’ interesting internships through editing the De-Centered blog. The aforementioned tasks as well as archiving event photos, collecting data about student and faculty engagement with HCAH, and assisting with rewrites for the HCAH website are helping me understand how the Hurford Center itself balances a myriad of projects and events throughout the year.

Courtney and Noemí learning that a table in the HCAH office has a secret storage compartment

This weekend I represented the Hurford Center at an Alumni Weekend tabling event. I had to pare down the work of student publications, performances, PACC, and the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery into what would fit on the surface of a rather small rectangular table. Settling on some exhibition catalogues, the latest Year in Review, and last year’s issues of Margin and Body Text, I sat on Founders Green thinking about the challenges of presentation and a conversation Noemí, the Program Manager of the Hurford Center, and I had last week about Marie Kondo and effective organization in the HCAH office. In my heat-induced fuzzy mind, the brief interactions with alums, the innumerable publications in the office, the entry of individual names of everyone involved in a student arts project started to fold into each other. This gave me a greater appreciation for the order, the definition I see in the work of others. I am now treating the summer as a time to take stock of what the Center has done and what my own work as an intern, a student, and now an alum looks like within the catalogues, keys, folders, and tea boxes of the Hurford Center.

To follow along as I make sense of it all, you can read this blog, which I will be editing for two months, and the HCAH instagram, where  I will be updating with photos of summer interns and the occasional #ThrowbackThursday post.

Written by Emily Dombrovskaya ’19, history of art major, museum studies minor