Every day, people search for that one thing that inspires them. They look for that something that excites them every morning when they wake up or titillates their imagination as they push through another hard day’s work. I too, have been looking for my inspiration, and this summer I have come one step closer to knowing what it is.
Interning with Near West Theatre, through the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program, I have experienced inspiration first hand. For those who do not know, the Near West Theatre (NWT) is a community theatre that offers professional productions at affordable prices. NWT utilizes each production as a tool for educating the cast, crew, and audiences on issues prevalent to the community at large. NWT’s mission is to achieve diversity through creation, as well as experience.
While they bolster some of the best educational productions around, the one thing that makes Near West Theatre an experience worth having is the sense of community built between the staff, crew, and cast. At this point, having been involved for a little over nine weeks, I find myself not wanting to leave. Everyday, I wake up knowingly excited about working at the Near West Theatre. Not one task has felt menial and no one person has been unapproachable. The people of Near West Theatre inspire me and encourage me to continue through my hardships. I have been blessed to be placed in a community where people are receptive to new ideas.
I have benefitted experientially and psychologically from this internship. For the first time in a long time, I find myself eager to be in Cleveland, to be involved with a program that changes lives on a daily basis.
Many of my tasks this summer pertain to programming and education. I helped construct memorial quilt panels that were inspired by the NAMES Foundation AIDS Quilt project. Not only did the Near West Theatre support this program, they instituted time and resources to develop the project. The compassion and support that Near West gives to every participant has established new standards in my interpretation of the business world, and has helped me decide that I will work within the arts and business administrations.
“We may be young, but we’re not powerless. We play by their rules long enough and it becomes our game.”
~ Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
My ability has been challenged, my talents have been confronted, and my heart… well, my heart has decided. I am a believer in what Cleveland has to offer, and I am happy to have Near West Theatre as a part of my life. I am no longer in a place where society’s standards define me, but a place where I define my society.
Each week we use this space to give each of our interns a chance to reflect on their internship experiences. Modesto Acosta, a junior at Oberlin College, is placed at Near West Theatre.