Read more about Nate Koch’s experience as a CPS intern with Antenna this past summer! Interested in participating in the CPS Internship Program? Apply before or after you have an internship at cpsis.tulane.edu! The deadline to participate for Spring 2018 is January 8th. Questions? Contact email@example.com.
At Tulane, I often find myself among people with dogged passions for saving the world. My friends in Public Health are traveling across the world to combat diseases. My friends in Political Science are interning with their congress people in Washington D.C. My International Development friends are working for refugee resettlement agencies in Chicago and Metairie.
Considering what to do with this past summer, I spent lots of time asking myself: how do English majors save the world? Plenty of us go and tutor students in under-resourced schools, which I’ve tried my hand at. But teaching isn’t necessarily a direct application of the English major, and anyway, most kids aren’t in school over the summer.
I want to share my experience working in New Orleans this summer with a local non-profit called Antenna. It had a huge impact on the way I think about using my passions to serve the community.
Established in 2005 originally as an organization called Press Street, Antenna’s mission is “to act as a support system for a cadre of visual and literary arts projects, as a fiscal agent and mentor” (antenna.works/history). Over the past twelve years, this mission has been carried out through a wide variety of projects, organizations and initiatives — some of them ongoing, some of them branches of Antenna that have gone on to become independent organizations, and some of them one-time projects that have come and gone.
Their current location on St. Claude in the Bywater offers a beautiful gallery space for artists to show their work, as well as a print shop where writers can produce their own books and zines — all while retaining 100% publishing rights over their material. Antenna also puts on readings, gallery openings, other community events and open calls for artist submissions throughout the year.
As an intern with Antenna this summer, I got to experience every single component of the book-making process, from using Photoshop to edit and InDesign to format pages, to driving out to Kenner to pick up paper, to literally binding books together with hot silicone. I also researched literary events going on in the city and publicized them on Antenna’s website.
My internship was an opportunity for me to learn and apply new practical skills, less than a setting to apply academic knowledge. It was a very hands-on internship; literally, I spent lots of time hand-binding books. Tulane’s English major is, as with most academic practices, steeped in theory and academic analysis. The work I accomplished taught me about the other side of literature: how writers bring their work into the world, and how institutions and organizations work behind the scenes to help writers find their audience.
By acting behind the scenes as a support structure for local writers and artists in New Orleans, Antenna operates under the healthy assumption that a well-connected and nourished creative community will hew out its own new and vital perspectives that inform dialogues, and push artistic movements forward. I was thrilled to get to be a part of that effort.