Student blog of the Stanford University Urban Studies Department

Tag Archives: Internship

It’s been a busy three weeks – Introductory Q&A, life as a NYC arts intern

Hello, Urbanter readers!


Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Just being myself.

I’m one of the newest contributors to the blog. My name is Julia Espero and I’m an intern for Storefront for Art in Architecture this summer in NYC. I’ve been on the job since July 14 and I’d love to catch you up with my life thus far. Since so much has happened, I feel that a proper introduction is due. Just to have a little more fun with this intro and deviate from the typical format, I’ll provide an introspective Q&A with questions I gathered from my wonderful friends and family. To make this even more exciting, please submit your own questions in regards to my life, internship, thoughts, etc. in the comments below. My goal is to make this blog as interactive as possible so I’d love to communicate with you.

Q: What made you interested in art and urban studies?

A: I’d say I’ve always been very creative and artsy. I was home-schooled for several years before high school and I worked on a lot of arts and crafts and small projects that my mom and I just did for fun. Before I even started school I remember looking through my parents closet and finding my mom’s old high school art portfolio and there was this one very large and beautiful mono-chromatic blue portrait she painted of my dad in water colors. I remember being really impressed by that and telling myself I’d get good enough in my art practice to be able to create something as sentimentally valuable.

In high school I became more interested in art history and theory so I read a lot of books in my own time and continued to draw and paint in my own time. Since coming to Stanford I’ve really learned to appreciate arts as an academic subject through the courses I’ve taken, and I see the value in using art as a tool of communication with the general population.

As for urban studies, that was an interest that grew very organically out of  my interest in a variety of subject matter. I had a really hard time deciding whether I wanted to be more of a liberal arts or technical student, but Urban Studies is the right mix of all the things I love–design, social science, and politics.

Q: [As an urban studies major and an art minor], how do you think urban studies and art relate? How do you plan to connect the arts with the social discipline of Urban Studies?

I think art and urban studies have the potential to be parallel mirrors that reflect and magnify discourse.

I think the better an artist understands their environment and the world they live in, the more they can relate relevant work. I feel corporations and governments also have the potential to become more personable and relevant by utilizing design principles and valuing art.

Q: What has your internship taught you about the neighborhood you’re living in?

Through experience, I can say that New York City is such a happening and exciting place. I’ve always heard of this before, but after living in a variety of cities from San Francisco to Las Vegas, I think NYC is the best. Keep in mind that I’ve been here for only three weeks, but I still think it’s amazing how continuously engaged and inspired I feel by simply walking down the street. In just one block within the Lower East Side you can find hand-picked boutiques, local bookstores with shelves of hand made magazines, artisanal coffee shops, grocery stores teeming with different languages, etc. It can have the potential to feel overwhelming, but if you learn to swim in it, NYC is a very fun and energetic place to discover who you are and what you want to do.

Simply doing research on the artists we’re working with as a small gallery is really inspiring as well. These artists are the type of people who think of ridiculous things like covering themselves in q-tips and pouring colored dye all over themselves to look like an exotic bird–but then they actually do it and document it, and it’s really such a magical and humbling process to see. You can really see that everyone is like a little ant working towards a larger purpose.

Q: How have you been challenged by interning in a city you’ve never been to before?

I just want to explore everything; go all to the free concerts, try all the coffee shops, visit all the gallery openings–but there’s only so much time. I work from 11AM-6PM, Monday-Friday, so most days I go out and eat, hang out, and explore after work and by the time I come home it’s already 12AM. After that I work on my own personal projects for about an hour before I sleep. I wake up around an hour before my internship, and then go out and do it again. The weekends are very packed as well and it can feel really difficult to find self-reflective time which I think is really important to produce good work and find purpose in what I’m doing, so I try to make the most out of all the alone time I have.

Q: How do you envision practically applying what you’ve learned during your internship with your career goals?

I love learning everything and I’m a firm believer that careers are like clothing–you change them based upon your mood and what’s most convenient and comfortable at the time. I may be a communications and development intern at the moment, but I really enjoy the organization I’m working with because it’s so tight-knit and flexible, which then let’s me learn and discuss different topics and skills with a variety of people that come from different backgrounds. I think at this point in my life this internship will help me learn a lot about managing a non-profit organization and give me insight into the non-profit sector and the NYC art world. If anything, so far I’ve learned that I’d love to live in New York after college… but I’m definitely learning more each day–will update you as progress is made.

Want to know more? Ask your questions in the comments! I’ll be answering questions every Wednesday from now on–so ask away!

Julia Espero

Social Media

Instagram: @juliaiespero

Youtube: @Snazzlet