Arts Connects Us All-ShaiQuana Bailey’s Story
Our Fall 2017 intern, ShaiQuana Bailey, is many things. A Senior at York College of Pennsylvania pursuing one major and three minor degrees, a strong supporter of York City, and a talented performing artist with York College Theater. So I asked ShaiQuana to share how the experiences at her internship with the Cultural Alliance brought all of these parts of her life together, and why the arts play such an important role. Here’s what she shared. -Kelley Gibson
Let me start out by giving a little background about myself. Hi! My name is ShaiQuana Bailey and I am a senior Public Relations major with minors in Marketing, Speech Communication, and Arts Administration. Let’s take a trip back in time. I can’t tell you my results without you knowing a little bit about my journey. It all started when I was in 1st grade. My teacher Mrs.Walik had sat me and another student down to talk about our future. I bet your thinking why so young? Well apparently I was very mature for my age and she saw I had drive and determination like no other. That day she told me that “I was going to make a difference one day,” and I never forgot that. Arts and culture connects us all, so let me tell you a little bit about how they connect the pieces in my life to my experience as an intern with the Cultural Alliance of York County.
All throughout middle and high school I attended York City Schools. My drive and determination encouraged me to apply for the York College Opportunity Scholarship Program during my freshman year of high school. The thought of having a full scholarship to York College waiting for me at the end of my high school career was amazing. I wrote the paper, interviewed and got into the program. I look back now and I feel so proud of being a Bearcat, but at the time there were a lot of heartaches. Heartache because the same year I found my passion for acting and music, was the same year we found out that there was a possibility that the arts would be taken away from us. Sadly the performing arts were cut from my high school career, but I was still able to be a part of the arts through performing in shows under Calvin Weary. Now, I kind of breezed through my high school experience but I only have so much room and I have to try to fit my experience into one paper. Let’s fast forward to my Senior Year of high school.
It was my senior year, everyone was excited to pick out homecoming dresses, while I was reciting lines to my first ever play “Fence.” Yes! I was Rose! The strong black woman who was the glue that held her husband and their life together. This show changed my life. It showed me that performance and the arts can tell a story and it can change lives. I realized that my first-grade teacher was right, and I was going to change the world someday. Only for me the world is the city of York. My personal mission statement in life is ‘To be
the leader that creatively inspires people of all ages, to be the change, through my passion for my education, spirituality, and love for York City and urban communities alike.” Well here I am, it’s my senior year at York College and I was looking for an internship that brought my passion for the arts and community together, all while throwing some public relations in the mix. This is when I met Kelley Gibson.
Now interviewing for this internship was not the first time I met Kelley Gibson. The first time I had a chance to experience Kelley Gibson in action was in my Events and Promotion night class. Kelley came in to talk about event planning, and how there are some people that have the ideas, and others who make the ideas happen. Her lesson was phenomenal but the one thing I remembered about Kelley Gibson was her go-getter spirit and her style. I knew from there that I wanted to work with her, or just get a chance to learn from her in any way. Once I saw that the Cultural Alliance of York County was looking for an internship, I jumped at the opportunity. I was filling out the application, and Kelley’s name showed up as the point of contact. I am a firm believer in faith and I think this was God’s way of opening a door for me that I really didn’t think could open. So, I applied and I interviewed with her. I can remember being so nervous. My palms were sweaty; I could feel my heart pounding out side of my chest. I was about to sit down with Kelley Gibson and I was a nervous wreck. It was at this point where my acting training paid off. I was able to act like I was not nervous at all, and I did great in my interview, so great that I got the position.
During my first day, Kelley wasted no time in throwing me into action. I had an orientation and a tour of the building and then it was straight to the “Hit List.” The “Hit List” was the tasks that I needed to accomplish by the end of my internship. On my “Hit List” I needed to do York365.com Marketing, assist in helping with the Cultural Alliance Annual Meeting, work on CelebrateARTS, and assist with the YorVoice preparation. It was a lot of work but I was up for the challenge. During my experience here at the Cultural Alliance, I got to really see how arts and culture are thriving in York, and how the Cultural Alliance had a lot to do with that. I will never forget this part of their mission statement and that is “Piece by piece, project by project, the Cultural Alliance of York County helps foster a thriving community.” I witnessed this, in the way that Kelley Gibson and all the staff at Cultural Alliance go about getting things done for our community. During my time here at the internship, I started to document my experience, and I came up with 5 lessons that I learned while interning for the Cultural Alliance of York County.
The first lesson I learned was to “Always go for it.” The first week on the job I had a lot to get done. First I needed to be familiar with York 365, and then I needed to create social media posts for the events, and upload them. It was a little overwhelming because I was nervous about my abilities and whether or not I would measure up. I had confidence in my writing skills due to taking Writing for Public Relation, but I still never published actual content for an organization before. Kelley taught me to always go for it, no matter how nervous I am, the worst I could do was be wrong and that was ok.
This brings me to my next lesson “Never Give up.” Now I am not sure if you are familiar with the photo editing website Fotor, but it is a challenge. The first time I tried to figure out how to work it, I felt like it was impossible, but I knew I could do it. Getting the experience of being able to edit photos and add headers was something I always wanted to do and working as an intern here allowed me to do so. I didn’t give up and I edited 14 photos that were able to be used for publication.
My third lesson I learned from interning here was, “to always be ready for anything.” Kelley Gibson is a mover and shaker in the community. People just call her to ask her for her opinion about events, or how to move forward with projects. I was able to learn this quick when I got put at a roundtable discussion about York. It was the Annual Meeting of the Cultural Alliance. This is a huge event that allows residents of York to learn exactly how arts and culture connect the community. To kick off the event she hosted a roundtable discussion with other movers and shakers in York to talk about how we can implement change in York. My job that day was initially to hand out name tags and make sure everyone who needed to be there was there. Kelley said that I can be a fly on the wall and listen to the discussion or I could be a part of it. A little after the question I was encouraged to be a part of the discussion, and I was able to add my opinion and give some advice from the student perspective to the roundtable discussion. I would have never been able to do that if I hadn’t learned from working here that I need to always be ready for anything.
My fourth lesson I learned while interning here was that “there are no bad ideas.” One cool part of my internship this fall was that I was given the task to create the centerpieces for their Annual Meeting. This year’s annual meeting was about showing the connection of arts and culture to the community, so I needed a centerpiece that showed a connection. Kelley introduced me to Pinterest, and I realized it was easy to get lost in all the cool ideas. When typing in the word connection, the game “Connect Four” popped up and I started to laugh. Kelley asked, “Why are you laughing.” I said, “when I typed in the word connection the game “Connect Four” came up, it sounds silly but I thought maybe we could have a “Connect Four” game as one of the centerpieces.” I thought I was definitely going to get shut down, but to my surprise, I heard, “that is a great idea actually.” Kelley thought that it was a cool way to show connection and it would be a great interactive piece for the guests. It was then that I realized that there are no bad ideas and that I just have to start with one and let my creativity flow.
My final lesson I learned from being an intern here at the Cultural Alliance was “if nothing else make sure you are in a job that you love, and you can have fun with.” It was so inspiring to be able to work for an organization that is run completely by four women. They all work together to get the job done and do so in such an amazing way. Whether it was asking for advice from Kelley in our one on one conversations, listening to Mary Anne talk about her father getting a new TV Box, asking Jennifer for fashion tips because I loved her style, or hearing “Hey youngin” every time Ms. Gayle walked through the door, these ladies always made it a welcoming experience for me. I learned so much from working with Kelley that I could probably start a series about my experience, but since this is a blog post I’ll wrap it up here. I just wanted to say thank you Kelley and the Cultural Alliance of York County, for allowing me to come into your space and learn and grow with you. I have learned lessons that I can take with me throughout finishing my last semester at York College and starting my career. I look forward to hopefully being able to work together again in the future!