If balancing Math Club, Latin Club, cross-country and prom committee amongst other things seems like a lot for a teenager, imagine planning the 10th annual Independent Music and Arts Festival (IMAF) at the Harrison Center for the Arts.
For 17-year-old Joi Officer, the IMAF coordinator, this is exactly the case.
On June 11, a year’s worth of Officer’s planning will culminate into the free, day-long festival.
“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” Officer said. “I’ll always have time to relax, but I will never be 17 again and an intern at this festival. I will be able to look back and say I finished school and stuck with this and I was dedicated.”
The Independent Music and Arts Festival, which attracted more than 6,000 guests last year, is largely planned and overseen by a student intern.
Last year Joanna Taft, the executive director of the Harrison Center for the Arts, announced at Herron High School that IMAF was in need of a cultural entrepreneur intern to plan the festival.
Officer, a senior, was one of about 25 students to respond to the announcement.
That 25 was narrowed down to about five students, and Officer was the girl who stood out from the rest.
“When I realized how smart she was, I felt like if she had a year and an advisory board, she could really do a great job,” Taft said. “She said she was scared, but she wanted to do it.”
From a small festival that had 100 attendees, including dogs, when it began in 2001, the IMAF has grown to become a neighborhood tradition. The festival was created in an effort to honor local musicians and artists by featuring live music and original works.
In order to make the cultural event possible, Officer has spent this past year as an intern networking, booking bands and raising funds.
“She has raised money through Facebook. She’s sent e-mails to corporations,” Taft said. “She had to stick with it when it didn’t happen the first time. She had to be persistent.”
As a result of her work raising funds, Officer said she learned she likes to network.
“I’ve learned to take opportunities even though you may not know what to expect,” she said. “You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.”
Officer has had advisors to turn to whenever she has experienced difficulty in the planning of IMAF. She also attributes her success in planning to a 3-inch-thick binder that contains tips, tricks and recommendations passed down from previous IMAF interns.
After the festival, Officer will update the binder with her own experiences and use it to mentor next year’s intern.
When all is said and done, Officer hopes to get a full time job as a camp counselor at the YMCA and do a bit of traveling. She has been accepted into Spelman College in Atlanta and plans to major in mathematics.
Read Full article at Indianapolis Recorder