Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Week 17 - Less Than 400,000 Pennies To Go!

We are at 610,000 pennies today (or $6,100.).  We have 4 weeks to go.

Last week, Bruce Lee of Lee Development Group contributed a sack of pennies that he had in his basement.  He had just been throwing pennies in for years and thought that our campaign would be a good home for them.

This week, Harvey Maisel and his daughter Nicole contributed a box full of pennies he had been collecting since she was a baby. 

I am honored that they chose to invest in Pyramid.  Here comes the inspiration for Week 17:

"This past week at Pyramid all of our summer interns arrived.  We have a total of 11 college interns this summer.  That's enough for a soccer team.  They will do everything from work on projects in the studio to work in our summer teen program.

I usually say a few words to the interns when they arrive.  One of the things I tell them is that we have never had a "slacker" intern at Pyramid, so the bar has been set pretty high. Every intern that we have had has bust their but and wanted to be at Pyramid.  The second thing I do is I encourage them to fail.  I tell them they have to take advantage of this opportunity to do that.  That there will be few times in life that someone invites them to fail, so they better not pass this one up.  I tell them that the only way to really know how capable they are is to stretch themselves as far as they think they can go and then go a little farther still until they can't any longer.  Find a place of discomfort and then keep coming back to it, because that's how you learn and grow.  I also let them know that if they don't know something that they should ask questions.  I tell them that I love questions, but I also tell them that I will not have the answers.  I tell them that is what they are here to do, find the answers.  Finding the answers is really the best part, so I don't want to take all the fun out of it. 

It got me to thinking about my first internship.  When I graduated from college I interned at a small theatre in New York City called The Working Theatre.  They wrote, directed and produced plays about the lives of working people.  I didn't intentionally seek out this theatre, they were just the only theatre to offer me an internship, so I took it.  I made $25 a week in 1992.  The theatre offices were on 42nd Street and 9th Avenue, right behind Port Authority. Everyday on my walk to work walk, I passed people urinating on the sidewalk or passed out on the corner.  My first week there my supervisor, Denise Laffe, had me answer phone, run scripts to the copy shop, sort headshots and organize files.  There was no air conditioner in the offices and it was June in New York City.  It was hot, but I could not have been happier.  I interned all summer an into the Fall and did everything from read stage directions for play readings, work concessions at intermissions, talked to actors and casting agents and eventually directed a reading of a play.  I thought about my internship and how there really weren't small tasks (the working theatre was an organization with one full time staff member, so all the tasks were important) and how right from the moment that I stepped in the door, I was treated like a professional, like part of the team.  I was given responsibilities and trusted.  I try to do the same thing with interns at Pyramid. I give them responsibility and let them loose to find their way. 

This past week was also the last day of one of my Spring interns, Maria Rykova.  Maria arrived in February from Moscow unsure of her English, but determined to learn as much as she could about arts management.  At first she was very unsure of her English, her writing and her management skills, but slowly, she took on more and more responsibility, asked more and more questions, discovered more and more answers and pretty soon, she was helping me design publicity materials and organizing her own events at Pyramid.
Before she left, she brought me a Matrushka Doll from Russia.  She brought me the doll and said "I hope you like it. I brought you this doll because inside each one is another one until you get down to the little baby one.  It is a family, like Pyramid."    Its one thing for me to think Pyramid is a family and hope that people feel that way and it is another thing for someone to say it because that its how they truly feel.  I didn't know what to say, so I said "thank you Maria."

I hope I inspired you to join my ever growing community of penny philanthropists who help support art classes and workshops, internships, studios for artists and events for people of all ages at Pyramid. It is an amazing group of individuals.  It's fun and easy:

If all this penny stuff is too complicated and you just want to make a contribution, you can donate in any form of currency to Pyramid Atlantic by clicking here. I will add up your donation in pennies and include it in my campaign.

Join me on Friday, June 1 at 5 pm for a game of Four Square at Pyramid Atlantic.  Its a great way to end the work week. Bring your pennies and I will take them to my friends at Eagle Bank.

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