Internship Spotlight: Andrea Levy and Goldman Global Arts
Dark, gritty, and desolate were words used to describe Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood in 2006. But in 2009, the public art project known as Wynwood Walls began to change all of that.
Arguably the nation’s only outdoor street art museum, Wynwood Walls is composed of six separate warehouses, the exterior walls serve as giant canvases for the greatest street art collection ever assembled in one place.
During the fall of 2017, Jessica Goldman Srebnick, Director of Wynwood Walls, delivered a powerful talk as part of the Penny Stamps Speaker Series in the Michigan Theater. Her examples of deep community impact through creative practice resonated throughout the theater among general public and the Stamps student body alike.
For Stamps senior Andrea Levy (BFA ’18), the talk sparked an exciting idea. “I actually grew up in Miami and visited Wynwood Walls all the time,” said Levy. “As I sat in the Michigan Theater and listened to Jessica’s talk, it suddenly hit me: ‘Wynwood could be a great place to intern.’”
At the time, Levy was taking Stamps Professor Nick Tobier’s Change by Design course. Together with Detroit Community School students, Stampers in Change by Design seek to create social impact through design and entrepreneurship. “The class helped me really understand what I wanted to do as a creative person,” Levy said. “I became more interested in making change than in making objects. Goldman Global Arts and their work in the Miami community — including Wynwood Walls — felt like a good alignment.”
After pursuing an introduction through Dean Guna Nadarajan and Director of Visitors' Programs Chrisstina Hamilton, Levy landed an interview with Sarah Sperling, Art Director at Goldman Global Arts (GGA). “I was determined to get an interview,” said Levy. “I tend to set my sights on something and just go for it.”
During the interview, Levy and Sperling hit it off and Levy was invited to intern during summer 2017. “It wasn’t a coffee-fetching type of experience,” Levy said. “I did some ‘assistant’ duties like filing for accounting, printing labels, tracking orders. But I also helped make presentations for future clients and I had a really big project: developing graphics for Batalla de Arte, a kick-off event for El Clásico.”
For those who don’t follow football — or soccer as Americans tend to call it — El Clásico is one of the most highly anticipated world matches, featuring rival teams Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. On July 29, 2017 fans from around the globe flooded Miami for the match – and participate in the surrounding activities, including Batalla de Arte, a live street artist graffiti “battle” hosted by GGA.
Fresh off her winter 2017 International Experience studying design in Copenhagen through the DIS program, Levy was ready to tackle a high-profile design project at GGA. “I wanted to make sure that we had a strong vision for the graphics,” she said. “I sent the art director options, she gave me feedback, and through the iterative, collaborative process we found something. I really felt that I was working with them — not just for them.”
Big challenges are part of any big design project, but Levy handled them in stride. “Initially, Batalla de Arte had a different name. We were all excited about the project and rolled with it. But while I was picking up some of our street artists from the airport for the event, I got a text from the art director that we’d received a “cease and desist” letter from an organization with the same name as we’d selected for the program. We quickly brainstormed up a new name, I amended our poster files, and sent everything into production. It was great being in the ‘real world’ and seeing how you need to move quickly and fix unexpected things. Exhilarating, I guess.”
When asked what advice she’d give to fellow students, Levy offered: “It’s always so important to network. And after you’re done with an internship — you’re not done. Keep the conversation going. You never know where it will lead you.”
Learn more about Andrea Levy’s socially engaged creative practice through SWIP, a project co-created with students at Detroit Community High School as part of the Change by Design class. SWIP was recognized as a Ford College Community Challenge (C3) winner in summer 2017.
Photos by Daniel Weintraub, courtesy of Goldman Global Arts.