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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Alum discusses life after Grinnell, Arts Council

After graduating a semester early in December 2011, Caitlin Deutsch ‘12 began working as the Volunteer and Arts Center Coordinator at the Grinnell Arts Council, a new position as of February 2012. S&B reporter Alyse Hunt ’15 interviewed Deutsch about life after Grinnell, working at the Arts Council and future plans.

Photograph by Joanna Silverman

How did you start getting involved with the Arts Council? 
I saw there was a job opening through Lesley Wright. I applied for the job and got it. I planned on being in Grinnell and babysitting and working for Faulconer Gallery. I started getting involved with the arts my first year at Grinnell. I got involved with kids art at the middle school and that is how I learned about art outreach. I then started working for Faulconer Gallery in the print room and the office until they moved me to outreach as an intern. I was an intended art history major. When I graduated from Grinnell in December, I wanted to come back to Grinnell for my last semester so I could walk with my class and be with my friends. So when this job came available, I took it because it was a good blend of things I was interested in. I was a history major. I transitioned from Faulconer gallery to Arts Council. It was a trajectory of art jobs in Grinnell.

Describe your responsibilities as the Arts Center Coordinator. 
This position is new as of me having it. The Arts Council is in a moment of transition. There are ten programs. I am in charge of organizing them. I help out the director, Molly Rideout. I am also in charge of rehashing our volunteer base and making it strong, and getting it strong and getting in touch with people that express interest but may have fallen off the map and getting new people to volunteer, so I do volunteer programs. Right now I am helping our apprentice, Lea Greenberg, prepare for the internship information sessions because we are starting an internship program through the CDO. I am also finalizing our consensus which we will send out to everybody in the town to help us figure out what they want from the Arts Council and what we could be doing better. I am organizing the Local Artists Celebration which college students and community folk alike can submit to and have their stuff hanging in the gallery for our local artist gallery exhibit and the Midsummer arts festival that will be in the park. I help out with the Arts Academy downstairs a lot which is fun.

Online it said you plan to “coordinate new efforts to consolidate and improve volunteer work and projects.” How do you plan to carry this through?
One of the biggest parts of my job right now is working with the director to reintroduce the Arts Council to the town. This is the new Arts Council so in an effort to improve our volunteer base and make it a little bigger a lot of that is answering a lot of questions and a lot of emails and making sure that I am always in touch with people. We have a lot of ideas about how we can get people to want to volunteer. A lot of it is thinking outside the box. We want to increase the type of volunteer opportunities and keep people aware of what is around.

What are you plans for the future?
I have a B.A in history but my plan is I will be here [through] commencement so for sure I will be here till the end of July. In five years I would like to find a way to support myself doing something I am passionate about. Right now, this is a temporary job, but working in the arts, that could become a lifelong career if I can find a way to make it work. I do not see myself here, next year, in Grinnell.

If a Grinnell student wanted to volunteer at the Arts Council, how should they go about doing that?
They should email me at, or give me a call. I am here 2-6 M-F. They should [contact me] if they have ideas [or want to] bring ideas. They should also know they do not have to have any ideas. They can come saying they do not know what they want to do. They could be really interested in acting, but do not like to act but want to usher a play or sell tickets for a play. If they are a student and are interested in education, next semester we will have two education interns so they should email me with questions about internship possibilities, not just volunteering. In the spring they may be available for credit.

What activities for children and community go on here?
The Arts Council has ten programs. When we got this building, the Stewart Library, which is where the Arts Council is now housed. The Arts Council is an umbrella for the ten programs. Downstairs you have the Arts Academy which has, Monday through Thursday, art classes for young kids and on Fridays there is Free Imagination which is a little different than Arts Academy, it is a day for anybody to come, you don’t have to pay, you get to work with Annie, she is a work study student from the college. There is Turlach Ur Pipe Band and Community Theatre and the gallery space where Jill Schrift’s show is right now, she is a professor at Grinnell College. The Arts Council has these ten programs and we help organize them. It is for the college and everybody in the community. We bring the arts to Grinnell.

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