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Why ArtsQuest?

ArtsQuest Staff Share Why They Enjoy Working for the Nonprofit Arts Organization

There are two main reasonsmichelle-veresink-richmond-tile that I love working for ArtsQuest: the arts and the people.

The arts are something that I have always been passionate about, and ArtsQuest never ceases to surprise me. ArtsQuest takes every form of art – from classic rock and folk music to glassblowing and graffiti art, from comedy and film to jazz and spectacle – and gives amazing experiences to the community.

Our organization uses the arts to inspire people and bring people together in a truly powerful way. I love working for a nonprofit because I know that I am contributing, in however small a way, to sharing the arts with the greater Lehigh Valley community.

I always thought ArtsQuest was an awesome organization, but I never really thought about the type of people who worked here until I started my career here. My co-workers are dynamic, passionate and the perfect blend of being serious about their work and just enjoying life and the work that we do. We are a fast-paced organization and the people who work here need to be ready to adapt, to communicate well, and to have a good sense of humor. I feel absolutely blessed that I get to be part of the ArtsQuest team and that every day I get to interact with our fabulous Members who help make everything that we do here a reality.

Michelle Veresink Richmond, Sr. Manager of Membership

My favorite thing about working here is being able to directly help our guests. There’s really no better feeling then hearing you’ve made a guest’s day or having them walk away with a smile. Art is a passion of mine and being able to help people experience it in any way, shape or form is a benefit for not only myself but for others as well. Be it a movie, concert or any other one of our events, if someone walks into this building looking to experience art and they walk away happy, I see it as a job well done.

The fact is that some mornings I have to be here at 5 AM and I’m still happy to come in for my shift. I just love being here. This place is like my home away from home. If you’re thinking about applying, just apply. I’ve never been happier at a job than I am here at ArtsQuest.

Nick Carrodo, Customer Experience Representative Lead

I’ve loved ArtsQuest and Musikfest since I was kid. Musikfest, in particular, was like a second Christmas for me. It inspires me with its sheer scope and the fact that a whole community can come together to celebrate the arts, revel in merriment and activate an entire city. My favorite thing about working at ArtsQuest is the very vision we were founded on and the work we do to make every inspirational moment possible. I love that I get to have a small hand in making these things happen. For me, this isn’t a job. It’s home.

I’m always surprised by the amount of connections I’ve made, and I know the list will only keep growing. I have partnered with nearly all of the local universities and colleges’ career development centers and worked with volunteers who are prominent leaders in other nonprofit organizations. I have the unique advantage of staying creative from a development standpoint; when the goals of internships and the students seeking them shift, I have the freedom to rearrange existing internships or develop new ones.

As I say to anyone who stops by our table at a career fair, ArtsQuest is all about making the arts accessible to the entire community. It’s not an empty promise. Between the after-school classes at the Banana Factory, the open mic nights at the ArtsQuest Center and creating a Lehigh Valley comedy scene, ArtsQuest has been one hundred percent committed to ensuring that Bethlehem is a creative center for the region. Music festivals and art studios are typically things that are kept out of reach in places like New York or LA. ArtsQuest allows our local communities to engage with or create art that is happening in the here and now, rather than view it all a distance. As an internship coordinator I get the chance to invite the next generation’s sharp minds to become part of this mission and to form their professional experience around what is possible rather than what is simply practical. In my volunteer capacity, I work with folks who believe in ArtsQuest’s mission as much as I do. I stand next to those who were there at the beginning, those who could still be here after I’m gone and all who make ArtsQuest’s ambitious programming possible.

Cory Stevens, Volunteer and Internship Programs Manager

I love the people I work with and their willingness to help each other. I also get to see a lot of talented performers. My advice to anyone interested in working here would be to be yourself and work with your peers as a team.

Ed Bartik, Event Services

Working as part of the front line staff within an organization that is doing big things for its community sets the bar really high. There are many tasks that go on behind the scenes, which means we all need to be knowledgeable while delivering the best service to the community as possible.

My best days at work are when I provide a service to someone for the first time.To me, the mission of ArtsQuest is so important, so when someone has the opportunity to experience what we do and all of what we have to offer, I believe that they will come back again and again to enjoy the different things that go on throughout the year.

While there are many different festivals and events that I have been involved in and that I enjoy, my personal favorite is Musikfest. All the excitement involved, the music, food and entertainment during this time is invigorating, but the best part is experiencing Musikfest with the ArtsQuest team from staff to volunteers and members.

ArtsQuest is the first nonprofit that I worked for, and through my experience here I have been inspired to be more involved with a few others.

Working alongside such a diverse group of individuals, striving to fulfill the same purpose and bringing awareness back to our rich history is such a pleasure.

Kenoa Askerneese, Front Desk Assistant

ryan-hill-tile

One of my favorite moments working at ArtsQuest happened at the 2017 SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival (SSICF) when the Improvised Shakespeare Company received one of the heartiest standing ovations I’ve ever seen not only here at SteelStacks, but at any of the concerts I’ve ever attended.

The joy of that moment didn’t come just from the fact that the company had just delivered an amazing performance quite worthy of that applause, but because it was symbolic of what we’ve gone through as an organization since we opened SteelStacks in April of 2011.

Improvised Shakespeare was slated to perform at SteelStacks in our first year, but slow sales, along with a few other factors, caused us to have to cancel that performance. It wasn’t the only cancellation we had to put through that year, a year like none other I’ve ever experienced professionally in its highs and lows.

In the time between that cancelled engagement and SSICF 2017, ArtsQuest allowed for me to build that ovation-giving audience patron by patron, through regular improv shows from local teams; standup shows highlight by Patton Oswalt, Jerry Seinfeld, Tig Notaro and Tracy Morgan; classes in various facets of comedy and the establishment of the SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival in 2014. Simply put, should we have kept our 2011 date with the company, there’s no telling what sort of audience would have showed up, though I’d wager that it wouldn’t have been anywhere near the appreciative and comedy-smart 300 that were there in 2017. In addition to the crowd’s response, the Improvised Shakespeare Company said SteelStacks was one of the most incredible venues that they have ever played.

I wouldn’t have been able to even imagine all of this when I started producing comedy independently nearly 10 years ago. Now, thanks to ArtsQuest, it’s a reality.

Ryan Hill, Director of Programming

Everyone here has a talent for providing stellar programming. “Teamwork” is seen on every level. I like being able to give back to the community where I was born and raised. Through creative programming we can foster, compassion, understanding and respect for one another and the community. My advice to anyone interested in working here would be…don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Greg Takacs, Event Services Supervisor

joann-ring-tile

There isn’t just one favorite thing about working at ArtsQuest. Building friendships with passionate colleagues, having fabulous relationships with our wonderful volunteers and seeing the smiles on the faces of our guests have given me a sense of pride and personal rush. Most people are surprised at the level of passion and excitement I have when I come to work every day. The opportunity ArtsQuest provides for personal and professional growth offers a consistent and positive atmosphere. When one needs assistance, there is a team of colleagues ready and willing to help. When one needs flexibility, management works to provide that. When one needs a social outlet, there are over 4,000 options to choose from.

ArtsQuest has grown from one festival with a role of promoting tourism and building pride in a community to a leading nonprofit arts and culture organization who is a leader in promoting economic development and urban revitalization. ArtsQuest provides access to high quality arts and cultural experiences to the full community and our non-local guests, regardless of socio-economic standing. In my role, I have the opportunity to work with every department to bring those opportunities to all.

This is a fast-paced organization that offers over 4,000 opportunities for the community to attend a class, concert, lecture, exhibit, film screening or festival and we all pull together to make each an enjoyable experience. My advice to anyone interested in working here would be to gravitate to staff and volunteers who “do” and take in every learning opportunity. Reach out to employees whose role you would like to know more about and take in different types of programming so you can see for yourself how ArtsQuest makes life better for individuals and our community.

Joann Lee, Director, Office of the President and CEO

I absolutely love bartending for ArtsQuest. It affords me the opportunity to meet people from all over the country! When I talk about Musikfest, my friends cannot believe that I get to meet people from all over the world—people travel from everywhere to come to Musikfest! I’ve made awesome friendships here; it’s always a happy, spirited environment. In my 40 years of being in the working world, ArtsQuest is the one place that I love to work for.

Stacey Keiper, Bar Supervisor

ArtsQuest is committed to presenting music, arts, festivals, cultural experiences and educational and outreach programs that aid in economic development, urban revitalization and community enrichment to the Greater Lehigh Valley and beyond. This area, once considered dead and forgotten, has experienced a rebirth with ArtsQuest leading the way. ArtsQuest continues to care for the area and continues to show that we are alive and well. ArtsQuest is the shot in the arm that our community needed and I am blessed to be a part.

I enjoy every shift I work at ArtsQuest regardless of the assignment. What I love more than anything is working alongside my daughter, Amber Hess, who also works with ArtsQuest in Event Services. Amber is going to Florida this summer to continue her education at the Florida Institute of Technology, so we spend quality time together all while enjoying our time at ArtsQuest.

I love the people that I work with, not only in Event Services, but throughout the ArtsQuest organization. We are a small enough group which allows everyone to work together and create a strong bond. More like a family then co-workers, we get to know each other on a deeper level which allows us to “read” each other. We are able to capitalize on each other’s strengths while compensating for each other’s weaknesses.

ArtsQuest is an amazing place to work at. Our members and patrons are awesome people who love and enjoy the arts and appreciate that we bring big-time entertainment to their backdoor. With ArtsQuest, the possibilities are endless. Imagine that!

Chris Hess, Event Services

My favorite parts about working for ArtsQuest are working with my family and the rest of the staff, and being able to see how the community comes together during our events. I have the ability to see a lot of different shows and each one is unique. If you like to help other people and enjoy entertainment, this is the place for you.

Kristin Polk, Event Services

In February, I will be starting my 18th year with this unique and creative organization. We are all part of the success of ArtsQuest – every decision and choice that we make is done to create an experience for our guests that is memorable and special. Through the years, we build relationships with our clients, guests and each other. These relationships continue to make ArtsQuest a wonderful place to work! So why ArtsQuest? I say “why not?”

Susan Drexinger, VP of Hospitality and Food Services