The Gordon Square Arts District is a vibrant, active community near the west side of Cleveland, Ohio. Theaters, restaurants, and shops fill the area, attracting visitors from other local communities. That wasn’t always the case, though. In 2007, several organizations came together to help turn the once-struggling community into a bustling center for arts and entertainment. The Gordon Square Arts District Inc. (GSAD) is now an organization that strives to support the art scene in the area. And Caroline “Cat” Washington ’21 is the intern helping make that happen.
As the art program intern for GSAD, Washington helps manage community events, runs social media, engages with local artists and other creators, provides administrative support, and aids in graphic design for the organization’s website and marketing team. She has contacted more than 200 artists and assisted in the production of several events, including open mic nights, exhibitions, and creative professional talks and panels.
A Cleveland native, Washington said, “Over the years, I’ve really learned a lot about the arts scene in Cleveland and have made some great connections through these experiences.” With her internship, Washington has successfully immersed herself in her arts community both socially and professionally.
Major: Cinema and Media Studies
Minor: Digital Arts
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
High School: Hawken School
A cinema and media studies major and digital arts minor, Washington said, “The most rewarding part of this job is going out into the arts district and seeing how much of an impact the organization has had on the local community.” Her work with GSAD gives her hands-on arts experience and allows her to see how creative professionals can affect others. She noted how, during one event, a drumming group that aimed to “build community through vibrant Brazilian music and culture” struck a chord with a father passing by with his family. The father began to dance, and according to Washington, “He shouted out to his children, ‘This is your culture, your roots!’” The man’s interaction with his family stuck with Washington, who said, “The near west side of Cleveland is a very diverse area and it was really heartwarming to see that our event could reach this audience in a way that made them feel comfortable and happy in the community.”
Washington is excited to see where her interest in the arts takes her. At Hamilton, she serves as a photographer for the fashion and style magazine Signature Style, works as a student docent at the Wellin Museum, and is the media director and co-creator of the local culture magazine Circle Mag. Her current internship is one in a long list of professional art opportunities of which she has taken advantage. Currently, she does not have one set career path that she would like to follow, though she said that she will continue to pursue jobs that she enjoys, involve art, and push her toward her passions.