The inclusive Gyo Obata Fellowship, which is administered by the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) and funded by the Gateway Foundation, offers paid internships to diverse groups of undergraduate students while supporting equity in the arts and culture sector. After being paused for two years because of the pandemic, the successful completion of the program marked another positive step for the St. Louis region’s vibrant arts scene and its potential future leaders.
EXPANDING THE POTENTIAL FOR ARTS CAREERS
The Gyo Obata Fellowship benefits students by broadening their view of how art and creativity can intersect with other passions. Tre Davis, who was selected and placed at St. Louis ArtWorks, has goals to complete a master’s program in clinical mental health and become a licensed professional counselor. “I am passionate about mental health, art of all mediums, and community engagement,” he said, adding that he aims to establish an incubator around art, healthy lifestyle, community engagement, fashion, home goods, and more.
Marissa Camp, who was hosted by Central Print, recognized how the differing missions and activities of area arts organizations meet various needs in the St. Louis area. “Providing education, studio space, preservation of techniques and equipment, youth engagement opportunities, and supportive spaces are just some of the things I’ve noticed being in this environment,” Camp explained.
FINDING INSPIRATION IN COLLABORATION
Orquidea Campbell-Espinoza, whose host location was the Center of Creative Arts (COCA), saw firsthand the importance of collaboration in balancing administrative tasks with managing everyday challenges. “It really takes a village!”, she said about her experience working with COCA’s education team. “Knowing how much care goes into the work and being able to directly see the community members benefit from that is so rewarding. It truly has been an eye-opening experience.”
NURTURING A WELL-ROUNDED SKILLSET
The fellowship program also offers ample opportunity for students to hone a variety of hard and soft skills necessary to sustaining an arts organization. From fundraising to marketing to board engagement, Camp emphasized the effort and creative solutions needed to keep operations running smoothly.
Davis expressed a similar perspective. “I have learned that consistent effort makes a huge impact,” he remarked. “Even when you are not at your best, trying to give what you can is very meaningful.”
Applications for the next Gyo Obata Fellowship open this Fall 2022. Visit the program webpage for more information and to learn about eligibility guidelines.
Congratulations to the fellows on their outstanding accomplishments and deepest thanks to the arts organizations that served as hosts for the 2022 program!
- Springboard – Zipporah Cunningham
- Central Print – Marissa Camp
- St. Louis Artworks – Tremont Davis
- Cinema St. Louis – Janice Sutton
- Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis – Nadir Malovic
- National Blues Museum – Kimberly Murphy
- COCA – Orquidea Campbell-Epinoza
- Intersect – Virginia GiGi Florek
- Consuming Kinetics Dance Company – Amyah Myah Thompson
- Perennial – Kayla Fields