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My Fellowship at GBCA

Recently, I’ve learned to understand the saying, “You’ll never know what you want to do until you actually do it.” As of May 15th I’ve been out of college for two years and I’m now in a place where I understand my role and purpose for being on this earth. I graduated with a Mass Communications degree and I found my place in the arts and culture non-profit sector as a change maker.

I’ve been completing my fellowship responsibilities with the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) as the Member Services Assistant. With that, I am responsible for creating a stewardship with GBCA organizational and individual members by planning bi-monthly happy hours and brown bags, managing GBCA’s Artscape Culture Tent, and most recently assisting with the planning of GBCA’s 15th Anniversary.

I’ve been tasked with planning the logistics for the 15th Anniversary as part of my fellowship. The idea came about when thinking of how GBCA’s members can convene that’s separate from our normal happy hours. Since then, we’ve come up with three different versions of what we want this day to look like and what speakers are important to be there. I’ve done extensive research on venues, possible caterers, photographers, and the cost of other materials based on the budget prepared.

I could go on and on about the planning process for the 15th Anniversary along with my other job responsibilities, but there’s a deeper impact that led me to my earlier revelation. That is, the importance of the work that I do. As a “double minority” (a black female) I represent the community of artists that are underrepresented. I’ve accepted that duty and made it my business to make sure MY community is represented in all that I do. This includes choosing the vendors I work with for events, what organizations we have happy hours with, guests that are invited to events, etc. Working with GBCA gives me an opportunity to be the voice that is often times silenced. I’m able to make decisions that will enrich the community. However, there is still much work to be done.

Prior to becoming a fellow, I hesitated offering my opinion on subjects that impacted me in a major way. Now, eight months into the program I can comfortably and respectfully offer my opinion without feeling bad about it. I now understand my worth as an artist and arts administrator. Learning these core values makes my job and fellowship here at GBCA worthwhile.

Janica Alston
Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance Membership Liaison
York College of Pennsylvania, BA in Mass Communications
Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance Membership Services Assistant

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