My experience with the Baltimore Dance Crews Project has been a great one so far; however it has also been a lot different than the experiences of my cohort. BDCP is a startup organization with just 5 years under its belt and only 2 full time staff members. Beginning in January, my placement got off to a rocky start. My supervisor, Brian Gerardo, had developed a project that he and I were very excited to get started on. As a couple of weeks went by we began to realize the project didn’t have a particular focal point so we decided it was time to go back to the drawing board. After a couple of meetings filled with revising mixed with a little confusion and frustration, we decided to focus my project on attracting the media. We came to this decision after I was assigned to complete a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Questions analysis on the organization and its social media pages. Media in all its forms including traditional, broadcast and social media are areas where BDCP seemed to be struggling with the most. Moving forward I was deemed the media outreach coordinator and dove into my project.
At first it proved to be challenging because besides a few tweets and a nicely worded Facebook status every once in awhile, I had no true knowledge of how to go about getting the attention of the media. My project has been a very research based one and in my research I found various techniques and strategies to follow in order to successfully target the media. Following the research portion it was time to apply what I had learned. Those applications include, putting together a media outreach workshop for BDCP participants, successfully creating a press release for an alumni of BDCP who was recently accepted into a prestigious summer internship at Harvard University, and building a relationship with a journalist from City Paper and Baltimore Magazine. I am also currently in the process of creating a handbook which will serve as BDCP’s media guide once my placement concludes.
My entire goal of this project has been to make the organization more comfortable with contacting the media because the telling of BDCP’s story is so important. Although this hasn’t been a much guided project, because as I stated before BDCP isn’t very knowledgeable in the subject area, Brian has ensured I have the necessary resources to successfully complete the project.
Overall my experience has been a good one. It has allowed me to see what I would like to do concerning my future in the arts. I've learned that I'm not much of an arts administrator at all which is okay. I am too much of a hands on person and my art is much too physical to be able to dedicate my life to office work this early on. It's going to be challenging seeing as how making money will be a major problem. I'm thankful that this fellowship experience has confirmed what I've known about myself all along. Moving forward I would like to continue working with BDCP in some capacity. Possibly as a volunteer or either an adult collective member.
Kiara N. Davis
Coppin State University, BS in Dance
Freelance Performing Artist and Choreographer