Seth Boyce ’20 Sees Contemporary Work

The entrance to FringeArts.

This summer, I am working at FringeArts in Old City. FringeArts is a Philly-based presenter of contemporary performance and organizes the annual Fringe Festival. The Fringe Festival is a massive, three-week contemporary art festival, featuring performances, art installations, and digital works. To help audiences discover shows and navigate the festival, FringeArts publishes a festival guide every year, and my main task this summer has been assisting Christopher Munden—the Guide Editor and Information Manager—in the creation of this guide. Artists submitted their own descriptions, and Chris and I edited all of these (there are about 200 this year!). I learned a lot about editing and style through this process. We would check for inconsistencies in the show and artist names, as well as suggesting edits for the descriptions. Chris also told me about multiple style guides that I hope to use when writing future papers.

A pile of proofs from a long day of copy-editing.

The guide also includes multiple indexes (one by show, one by artist, and one by venue) and a daily schedule of every performance. Because of the large amount of shows, these reference pages were substantial, and creating and checking them was no small task. Checking them was one of the more tedious parts of the internship (especially the daily schedule), but the pages are incredibly useful for audience members trying to locate shows, and I gained an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into creating them.

Despite occasional tedium, overall I  found this position incredibly rewarding. It was satisfying to help create a physical document, and having one main goal helped motivate me and made the work seem worthwhile. I also watched and learned about many pieces of contemporary art, much of which was very unfamiliar to me. In my classes at Haverford I have learned about music and art up through the early twentieth century, but not more recent works. The shows I saw expanded my ideas for what is possible with art; a recent performance I saw combined lighting effects, dance, music, and poetry reading into an incredibly powerful experience that I didn’t think possible. I hope to have more of these experiences in the Fringe Festival this fall.

Gimlet, the office mascot.

I applied for this internship because I wanted to learn about arts management and contemporary art, and I can say that I accomplished both those goals. The staff at FringeArts are very friendly and open to talking about their career paths and how they ended up in working in the arts. Just being in the office taught me about how these types of organizations function and what roles need to be filled. In terms of learning about art, editing the guide was a fantastic introduction to contemporary work. I saw what questions drive artists and how they address them. I hope to continue working in the arts and supporting artists—contemporary or classical—and I believe my experiences in this internship will be invaluable for this goal.

Written by Seth Boyce ’20, history and music double major

Edited by Emily Dombrovskaya ’19