Bits 'n' Pieces: VSAA grad producing play in the Big Apple

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With a background in theater, business and journalism, you might think that Michael Holt, 25, had a hard time deciding his path in life.

But as he prepares to produce his first full show on the New York stage, Holt, who grew up in Vancouver, finds that his mixed background is just about perfect.

"I like to think of producing as managing creativity," Holt said. "There's a creative side where you're in charge of finding the play and finding a team, and there's a marketing side where you position it for an audience, and then there's a logistical management side where you work on budgets and contracts."

Holt, who's a graduate student at New York University, is producing "#MormonInChief," a play written by Matthew Greene, for the New York International Fringe Festival. The play, about a young Mormon man who uses Twitter to spread inflammatory statements about a Mormon presidential candidate, will be on stage from Aug. 10-26.

"The International Fringe Festival is one of the top five cultural events in New York City," Holt said. "It's a great showcase for new work."

Holt graduated from Vancouver School of Arts and Academics in June 2005. While there, he performed as an actor, served on the student council and acted as business manager for the yearbook.

"That was, I think, my first exposure for how to monetize the arts and how to raise funds for the arts," Holt said.

After he completes his master's degree in producing at NYU in May 2013, Holt hopes to continue on in his career as a producer, he said.

For more information on the show, visit http://www.mormoninchiefplay.com or follow @MormonInChief on Twitter

— Sue Vorenberg

And this VSAA grad lands internship at Wordstock

What's a recent college graduate to do for work in the current dismal economy?

Olivia Mitchell, 22, suggests that graduates look for internships in their field.

In May, Mitchell graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla with a bachelor of arts degree in art history and visual culture studies.

She is thankful she landed a 25-hour-a-week event internship for the Wordstock Festival in Portland to help organize the well-known literary festival. Her internship lasts through October.

A 2008 graduate of Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, Mitchell said the most exciting part of her internship is helping to coordinate the Wordstock Ten Short Fiction Competition, an international literary contest. She is helping to facilitate the contest -- from the submission process through publication.

"I'm the go-between who gathers the online submissions and distributes them to the reading team," explained Mitchell, who worked on her college's literary magazine.

"I'm the go-between for lots of things."

At the Wordstock Festival from Oct. 11 through 14, she will be meeting authors and "doing author wrangling."

Although the internship is unpaid, Mitchell is gaining valuable work experience in the arts, the field in which she hopes to eventually land a paying job.

Mitchell says her dream job is "something with art advocacy. Possibly arts administration. Working with or collaborating with nonprofits who marry literacy with social issues."

Mitchell's advice to graduating students: "Be willing to do something unpaid, but something where you're getting hands-on experience in your chosen field. I get to do a lot of real tasks where I use creative energy and intellect. Look for goal-oriented internships where you're not just bringing people coffee."

Learn more about the Wordstock Festival at http://www.wordstockfestival.com.

— Susan Parrish

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.