Twelve months ago if you had told me I would be interning at Art House Dallas, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Actually, my first response probably would have been, “Huh? What’s Art House Dallas?” Then I would have found out about Art House and their awesome purpose and vision, and thought to myself, “Wow, I hope I can work with such visionary people someday.” If you had told me six months ago that I would be interning at Art House Dallas, I would have said something along the lines of, “Thanks, but I think you have me confused with my artsy and light-years-more-creative best friend.”
Three years ago Art House Dallas didn’t exist, but that’s where my story begins. In October of 2008, I attended a concert at a church in the Dallas area, and my life course began to change. It was my freshman year of college. A new friend invited me to a concert he knew about through his interest in International Justice Mission (IJM). The concert was part of the 2008 Art/Music/Justice tour, a group of artists using their music to spread awareness about global social injustices. I’ve always had a heart for missions and all things international, so I decided to tag along.
I enjoyed the concert as I sat and listened to Brandon Heath and Derek Webb sing and talk, and overall I was glad I went. Then Sara Groves came on stage and played some of her songs, and shared a story. The story was about a young girl who had been rescued from a terrible life of sexual exploitation, and through the efforts of this organization, had found healing and restoration–she found Jesus.
I still so clearly remember standing outside the church building after the concert, talking to my mom on the phone. Tears streamed down my face as I told her just how much the stories impacted me. I remember saying out loud to myself, “I have to do something about this–to fight for the people who can’t fight for themselves. This is what I was made for.”
It’s been a bit of a crazy journey since that night, and I’m so glad that the story doesn’t end there. Since then I’ve taken part in a few different anti-human trafficking efforts, and my love for organizations that love others and take part in the community around them has grown tremendously. Here I am, in my senior year of college, and after a few months of prayer, direction and putting out feelers for an internship over the summer, God just about dropped one in my lap. I became a member of the Art House Dallas team in August, and it’s already been such a fun ride!
My fearless leaders wasted no time getting me acquainted with the Art House ways–my first day was the same day and night as the August Art House Exchange! We spent the day gearing up for the event, and that night I met a bunch of new people and had a great time talking about art, life, and our community. I have to say, it was the perfect introduction.
Then came my first event flying solo representing Art House at Gather, a local art event. Art House Dallas paired up with a church in the area to promote the church’s photography showing. Any hint of nervousness I had going into the night was completely gone by the time I left. The night was filled with amazing photography and amazing people, and quite a few people learned for the first time about Art House and what we do. You never know what can happen when people come together to enjoy art and each other’s company. I met some great people, and was so refreshed and renewed to get the chance to talk with people I had only just met about their passions and dreams.
Feedback was that same week, and it has probably been my favorite Art House Dallas event thus far. The concept is so great: singers come and perform a song in front of a small group and get helpful feedback. As I sat in the beautiful Munger Place coffee lounge listening to one talented musician after another make themselves and their music vulnerable to other artists, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “I have the coolest internship ever.”
The September Art House Exchange was a special one. We had a great crowd show up to the social media lab with the talented Kelli + Vanessa that took place before the actual exchange. These two ladies shared some great tips for using tools like Twitter and Facebook to their fullest–especially as a musician. I knew more of what to expect this exchange, and I got to chat with some really awesome people. I chatted with actors, musicians, art lovers, even a few writers. In talking with those who attended, I can really see the fruit of the Art House vision in action, and it’s inspiring to see and hear of all the life-giving, community-building uses of art in and around our city.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I would start my story with a bunch of sappy details just to finish it off with how the past few weeks have been. But my story isn’t over yet! After my first couple of weeks at Art House Dallas, I was chatting with Jenny White, our director, about another member of the Art House family, Sara Groves. I told her the story of the first time I heard Sara play, and Jenny was delighted to share with me that the one and only Charlie Peacock headed up the Art/Music/Justice tour. We both had one of those goose-bump-moments when we realized the crazy circle of events that led to my becoming a part of this awesome team. It was at that moment that I knew, I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
I’ve only been at Art House Dallas for a few weeks now, but just being surrounded by creative, driven people has already been so uplifting. The people associated with and involved in Art House truly are culture makers who encourage others to live imaginative and meaningful lives. I have already been so blessed to be a part, and I can’t wait for all of the adventures and discoveries still to come!
Courtney is a senior at SMU studying Sociology and Womens and Gender Studies. After graduation, she hopes to work for a nonprofit that loves people and is a positive presence in the community. Courtney spends her spare time finding new music and buying anything cute that comes in the color grey. If you are what you eat, then Courtney is a delicious chai latte.