This summer, Americans for the Arts (AFTA) and Bravo Greater Des Moines (BGD) will offer the Diversity in Arts Leadership (DIAL) internship program for the first time, together, to introduce undergraduate students from culturally diverse backgrounds to career and leadership opportunities within New Jersey’s nonprofit arts community. Arts management interns are carefully chosen from a nationwide pool of students and granted paid, full-time, ten-week-long internships at a variety of organizations to learn the business of the arts.


  • Interns complete challenging projects under the direction of experienced arts administrator supervisors, in areas such as marketing, public relations, audience development, and event management.
  • Interns explore a cross-section of Des Moines’ cultural community through site visits to all host arts organizations. Interns also increase their knowledge of the nonprofit sector, business, and management through additional workshops and activities.
  • Interns receive guidance from Business Mentors. These are professionals in the business sector who have a passion for the arts, interest in serving the community, and fostering the career development of young people. Mentors guide and advise students throughout the internship and provide insight into the business world and demonstrate how individuals with varied careers in the business sector can include the arts in their lives.


The varied nature of the intern learning experience reflects the following goals of this program:

  • develop the skills and experiences of future leaders and arts managers;
  • strengthen diversity in the arts management field;
  • contribute to the work of arts organizations through intern assistance; and
  • engage the business community in the arts.


Mentor/Mentee Relationship

The relationship between the volunteer (“Mentor”) and the student intern (“mentee”) is a critical component of the summer experience.  Students use an internship opportunity to explore potential career options, as well as discover personal and professional strengths and weaknesses.  Many of the interns are unfamiliar with Des Moines, and a caring Mentor can help ease the transition from life on campus to working in the business and one of the cultural capitals of the world.  Mentors take an interest in the overall experiences of mentees, both work and life.  They provide opportunities for mentees to talk about not only their successes, but also their challenges and concerns, which mentees may not be comfortable discussing with their supervisors.


Mentor Expectations

Over the course of the program, each Mentor should be open to speaking with his/her mentee about their own professional and career development, as well as the mentee’s present experience through the internship project and program activities.  The Mentor should discuss the scope of their work, connection to the arts, and what has driven his/her career direction.  For many interns, their lives after graduation remain undetermined, and a Mentor can make an impact by helping them develop long-term goals.  AFTA and BGD encourage Mentor-mentee relationships to continue beyond the ten weeks of the program.


Mentors also are encouraged to help the interns develop networking skills.  Where appropriate, Mentors should invite mentees to events in the field, introduce mentees to new people in various circles, and illustrate the value of networking and the future possibilities it can bring.  Such leadership on the part of the Mentors can enable the mentees to gain more confidence in meeting new people.


BGD will match Mentors and mentees based on interests and backgrounds and will provide each with information about the other prior to their first meeting at the Opening Ceremony.  BGD welcomes the Mentors’ input about program activities and cultural events, i.e. suggested experiences.


Mentor Responsibilities

Each Mentor is asked to fulfill the following program responsibilities:


Be available/in Des Moines during the 2019 program dates:  Monday, June 3 – Thursday, August 8, 2019.


Complete the attached mentor application, send a headshot, and a brief, one-paragraph bio that we may share with your intern, detailing relevant information such as your education and work history, interests, affiliations, etc., to help your mentee get to know you better.


Engage in communication with mentee at least once a week:  in person, by phone, or via e-mail.

  • Mentor should host at least one meeting with the mentee at his/her workplace.  Please include a tour of the office and a general understanding of your organization, your department, and your role.
  • The mentee will be encouraged to initiate discussions, meetings, etc.; however, at the beginning of the program we ask the Mentor to take the lead to initiate the relationship.
  • Face-to-face meetings should take place at the leisure of both parties, in a manner considerate of any time and travel constraints. We encourage Mentors and mentees to use this meeting time to engage in a social or cultural activity, either at the mentee’s host arts organization or elsewhere.


Complete online evaluations at the end of the program.


Attend the following summer 2019 program events (subject to change):

  • Mentor Orientation

Date and time TBD (May)

Mentors and program coordinator will review expectations and answer questions in person or via conference call


  • Welcome Ceremony

Monday, June 3, Time and Location TBD

Interns report here on their first day.  Host Supervisors and BGD staff will also be in attendance.


  • Mentor-Mentee Meetup

Time and Address TBD

Mentors and interns will meet for a meal and engage in a “get-to-know-you” activity.


  • Closing Reception

Thursday, August 8, Time and Location TBD

Interns will share short speeches reflecting on their summer experience with an audience of Host Supervisors, Mentors, BGD staff, and community leaders.


  • Attend own mentee’s site visit (each intern coordinates a site visit—usually after work, in the early evening or late afternoon—for the full intern group at his/her arts organization).
  • There will be approximately one site visit per week. BGD will invite Mentors to attend all other site visits, led by other interns, as optional events.  Mentors are encouraged to take advantage of this exposure to Des Moines’ arts organizations.


BGD is grateful for your commitment of time, energy, and expertise.  Thank you for sharing yourselves with this deserving group of young people!


Please e-mail bio, headshot, and completed application to by March 30, 2019.