ArtsCrew program at Brown offers training, flexible jobs and career development for local artists

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Jamil Jorge, who oversees the hiring, training and shift coordination for ArtsCrew as the program’s human resources specialist, said the five roles are distinct but equally important. 

“The ArtsCrew roles are incredibly diverse,” Jorge said. “Some, like producing roles, involve a lot of administrative tasks. On the other hand, preparator roles are very hands-on; you are putting up or taking down walls and painting. It might just take a week to install the artwork, but prepping or dismantling the space can take a whole month. The key takeaway is that all these different roles are crucial. They free up valuable time for our full-time staff, allowing us to support a much richer schedule of artistic events.” 

Throughout the winter and spring, dozens of new staff members were onboarded through orientation and training held in small groups. New hires also embarked on venue tours, gaining familiarity with key locations, including The Lindemann, the Bell Gallery and the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, among other public art and pop-up exhibition spaces across campus. 

Johnny Santini performing
More than half of the new hires are budding Rhode Island-based artists and performers including musician Johnny Santini. Photo by Johnny Santini. 

Johnny Santini, a musician from South Kingstown, Rhode Island, began work as a production assistant at Brown in February. With the role, he said that he has gained new technical experience in theater production, from set building and lighting to operating audio/visual equipment. The job both strengthens his financial stability as a performer and lets him explore new, creative avenues and career paths within Providence’s arts scene.

“Playing music around the city is an incredible experience, but the financial opportunities for a full-time performer are limited,” Santini said. “Joining a larger community like Brown is a constant learning experience, and you are surrounded by passionate people who want to see you succeed. I’m excited to see where these new skills and connections might lead. It’s opened my eyes to different possibilities for the future.” 

For Providence-based dancer and choreographer Farah Figuereo, Brown’s ArtsCrew program inspires a tangible hope. She sees it as a path to translating her passion into a long-term professional life in the arts.

“I come from a background where art wasn’t seen as a viable career path; dance was just a hobby, something to be left behind for ‘real’ work, but those ‘real’ jobs haven’t clicked for me,” Figuereo said. “ArtsCrew, for me, isn’t just about training for a new job — it’s about hope. It’s showing people like me, everyday people, that there’s a chance to work in the arts, even if it’s not that exact dream job. This program is a stepping stone, a beacon of possibility that says ‘there’s a place for you here, a chance to explore and maybe even make a career.”

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