An Enduring Partnership with Lasting Benefits

Since 2012, the Bloomberg Arts Internship (BAI) program has been helping New York City high school students build skills and competencies through authentic, paid work experience in cultural institutions across the five boroughs.

Studio Institute has proudly partnered with 56 New York arts organizations during past years to offer what can often be life-changing experiences for teens interested in arts careers. Based on nearly ten years of managing BAI, we know that the success of the program depends greatly on the commitment and cooperation of our site partners.

Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (Pregones/PRTT) has been a valued BAI partner since the program’s inception. A multigenerational performing ensemble and multidiscipline arts presenter rooted in Latinx culture, Pregones/PRTT owns arts facilities in The Bronx and Manhattan and is considered a pioneering model for community engagement.

The success of the relationship between Pregones/PRTT and Studio is attributable, in part, to our mutual goals and approaches. Studio’s focus on internship and apprentice-based learning dovetails perfectly with Pregones/PRTT’s mission to impart the wisdom of the elders to future generations of artists and theater professionals, forming a tight-knit artistic “family.”

Since 2012, 18 interns have benefitted from the training and caring mentorship of the staff at Pregones/PRTT, apprenticing in virtually every aspect of a professional theater: production, lighting, sound, and stage management, while gaining experience developing oral history projects, archiving, and cataloguing visual art collections.

The BAI program includes opportunities for teens to visit other host organizations. Here, a cohort from 2018 gets a personal studio tour from Pregones/PRTT Associate Artistic Director Alvan Colón Lespier.

Perhaps the best proof of the strength of Pregones/PRTT partnership is their continuing relationship with interns after the completion of the summer internship. Jose Torres, an Education and Outreach intern at Pregones/PRTT in 2018, is currently a sophomore at Nyack College. He notes:

My supervisors asked me back to work on an oral history project called “Legacy Artists,” interviewing mature Pregones artists about their careers…. They also hired me to work as sound engineer and stage manager for a show and asked me to work in the box office throughout the rest of the school year. I feel like I am now a part of the working Pregones/PRTT ‘family.’

Jeison Rivera, a 2018 BAI intern at New York Live Arts, was also hired as a staff member at Pregones/PRTT. In his current role, Jeison is responsible for their graphic design needs and brand identity. Jose and Jeison were able to leverage their own experiences to supervise two 2020 interns: rising seniors Brianna G. (from Talent Unlimited High School) and Carys M.G. (from the High School of Fashion Industries), who will be graduating in 2021.

In 2020, Associate Artistic Director Jorge Merced took the lead in designing internships that focus on summer projects that not only build studio production skills, but also help instill professional work habits and develop transferable work skills. Last summer, having pivoted from producing events for in-person live audiences due to Covid-19, Pregones/PRTT engaged Brianna and Carys in the production of live streaming events and films for online viewing and archival purposes.

Working across departments, past and present interns continue to make meaningful contributions to Pregones/PRTT’s mission through filmmaking, both on-camera and behind it, and editing documentary projects featuring Pregones/PRTT’s theaters and artists.

Pictured here last summer with supervisors Jeison Rivera (upper left) and Jose Torres (upper right), Carys (left) and Brianna (right) attend current Pregones/PRTT events and are eagerly awaiting the debut of their film project on the Pregones/PRTT website on April 24.

I live in the South Bronx. Working at Pregones made me realize there is art in every community. I never even thought about looking for art in my own neighborhood. I had no idea I could see so many different performances and events so close to home, and so close to my own culture and my own community.   
Brianna G., Pregones/PRTT Intern, 2020

Firmly committed to instilling the message of the importance of the arts, Pregones/PRTT is one of many New York City organizations that enables students in the Bloomberg Arts Internship program to connect to their community and culture and provides the experiential learning that results from immersive work experiences.

We look forward to placing new interns at Pregones/PRTT in summer 2021 and well into the future.

Bloomberg Arts Internship is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.