Interviewed by Phyllis Bell-Davis
Corinne Lightfoot is unassuming but her passion for the arts and non-profit organization speaks volume to her quiet power. The 34-year-old is the current program assistant intern at Yellow House for the next 13 weeks, and I invaded her space recently for her to share some of her thoughts. The 2004 Bishop Kenny High School graduate wants to ensure that Yellow House’s administrative needs are priority as she travels her career path to becoming fully vested as a leader in the non-profit community, preferably in the arts.
Corinne is expected to graduate summer 2020 from the University of North with a master’s degree in public administration/nonprofit management. She also holds an undergraduate degree from UNF in psychology with a social welfare and criminal justice double minor. Let’s meet Corinne.
Q: How do you go from psychology to art?
A: At the time [as an undergrad], psychology seemed more practical. I don’t profess to be an artist, per se, but I have a love of the arts with deep seeds planted by family members who are poets, painters, in theater and film, and hair artists. My love is also fueled by my involvement with Cosplay where I have volunteered with events. I’ve been involved with Cosplay for about four years and have attended Cosplay conventions from Jacksonville to Orlando. My wallet usually dictates which events I attend. I am also engaged with GAAM (Games, Art, and Music), which provides another sense of community and uplift of the arts community.
In Cosplay, it’s all about community and support, especially for the LGBTQI community. Many people who attend the Cosplay conventions don’t necessarily have the confidence to speak out and go for something. Like me, they tend to stand back and let others talk. Cosplay helps me and other players practice our boldness. There’s a phrase about the masks we wear during Cosplay…when you put on that mask and adopt certain characteristics, you feel like hey, I can do this!
As a side note, Cosplay also helps me to explore something that I enjoy tremendously… fantasy writing. Through fantasy writing, I’m in touch with womanhood, nature, creation, re-creation and other themes that I approach through my characters. Just so you know, my favorite Cosplay character is Sailor Saturn from the Sailor Moon series. I relate to this character because she possesses powers associated with silence [me], death, and rebirth which makes her a potential threat because she can destroy or re-create.
Q: What do you think about the arts scene in Jacksonville?
A: I’m new to the arts scene in Jacksonville so what I see may not be the case; however, I see a scattered arts scene here without a sense of unity, not a sense of inclusivity. Not only do I get this sense from the art scene but from Jacksonville itself.
Q: With this sense of a scattered arts scene, what do you recommend to unify the arts scene?
A: Lots of networking with substance and assistance, breaking down of art silos, and a lot of supporting each other.
Q: How did you learn about Yellow House?
A: Yellow House was recommended to me by Dr. Georgette DuMont, UNF professor. I told her I was having trouble finding the right internship based on my interests in art, culture, non-profit management and social justice. Yellow House is the perfect place for me…it’s like a Venn diagram offering everything within itself. My first impression when I visited Yellow House was one of fear because I didn’t think I was intense enough, as I am a quiet, subdued person who is more inclined to watch, absorb, listen and process things more slowly. But after my very first visit, I knew that Yellow House is the place I belong. It exemplifies the house and home concept of making me feel as if I am at home where I belong.
Q: What are your duties as a Yellow House Program Assistant Intern?
A: I’m involved in statistical research, administrative duties, gallery host, deinstallation and installation of exhibitions, marketing and programming input. Hope [McMath] is preparing me to do more to include grant writing, developing budgets and other duties that will pertain to my career pursuit in a non-profit arts culture or museum environment. With former students in this position who have gone on to the Smithsonian and The MET, I look forward to amazing opportunities.
I must add that my favorite part of my new experience at Yellow House is that every time I’m here, it’s a new story from meeting people I would not have met otherwise to rejoicing with Rosa Parks in the front of the bus that sits outside the gallery windows. The arts is an important aspect of communication in the community and Yellow House does a tremendous job doing this communication.
Phyllis Bell-Davis, M.Ed., is the executive volunteer with Yellow House. If you are interested in volunteering or interning with Yellow House, contact Phyllis at firstname.lastname@example.org.