How the Year Has Prepared Me for My Capstone 

The world of “arts communications” felt so unfamiliar to me at the start of this year. I’ve spent such a large portion of my life dreaming of being a critic. First it was food, then it was film, and then I moved into theater and the general world of art. I’ve always known these careers existed, so I knew I had something to look forward to. 

Gloria Rivera

As I became older, I started to hear phrases like “art needs more funding,” or “theater is dying,” and, of course, the moniker of the “starving artist.” How could theater be dying? Isn’t it centuries old? As a society we consume so much media that we’ve quite literally left some forms of live art in the dust. Still, I believe there’s a space for adaptation, growth and better resources to allow the performing arts to be in our future. 

The Spoleto Festival USA is an arts festival in Charleston, South Carolina that is currently in its 48th season. Nearly five successful decades of live art is a feat, and this festival happens to be my capstone. Traditionally, Goldring students have been assigned as reporters for this festival. We make our way to Charleston for three weeks and write previews, reviews and attend shows, immersing ourselves in the culture of Spoleto. This year a handful of us have the opportunity to work directly with the festival as communications interns, advocating for and writing about the work and artists featured in this year’s lineup. 

I’m immensely excited to work with this team because I finally have the opportunity to be in a space that is firsthand advocating for the arts. If we can continue to prove the value of this work, enhance its relevance and show people what the arts are made of, then we can continue creating this work. As a communicator it’s important to think deeply about the impact of your specified field. Of course, in the immediate sense, like for example, a three-week festival in South Carolina, but also in the zeitgeist of the performing arts in the 21st century.  

animated image of a stage and audience with palm trees behind the stage
Graphic created by Gloria Rivera using Canva

Overall, I’m most grateful to close out my time at Newhouse with an internship in this field. I’ll be working on media requests from journalists, itineraries for guests, blog posts for the website, and a variety of other PR and marketing efforts inside of the festival’s offices. It’s a great opportunity that encompasses the myriads of skills I’ve acquired over the course of my year, and I have no doubt that it’ll further my knowledge of this world I’m entering. 

Gloria Rivera is a graduate student in the Goldring arts journalism and communications program at the Newhouse School.