Eiteljorg Insider: Playing a part in something larger
By Tim Eterno, former marketing and communications intern
I felt a bit aimless. Attempting to gain professional experience while pursuing an education to learn professional skills is like piloting an airplane being assembled mid-flight. Marketing yourself means representing yourself, advocating for yourself, editing yourself, and distributing yourself. Playing the role of an entire public relations operation, especially as a student, results in a lot of pressure.
The Eiteljorg Museum changed my perspective. I’m happy to report that my tenure as marketing and communications intern brought newfound confidence in my capabilities as a person in the creative field, and reminded me of why I’m following a track in brand strategy to begin with: not to endlessly self-endorse, but to contribute to a greater mission utilizing my unique voice.
My first week was graced with personalized introductions to the museum’s staff. I’m thankful for each one; putting faces to the museum’s various operations placed my own work into perspective. I was serving as a mouthpiece to the dedicated efforts of many hardworking curators, program organizers, collection specialists, designers, writers, and volunteers.
Having recently welcomed a new President and CEO alongside a series of expansions to make way for new exhibits, the museum seemed poised to shout to the Indy community, “We’re back; come see what’s new!” As timing would have it, this duty fell on my shoulders.
I wasn’t simply promoting the Eiteljorg, of course. With nearly every social media post and news release I authored, I was contributing to the visibility of the incredibly diverse Native American population in Indiana and beyond. Photographing the museum’s tours of the Native American galleries and witnessing the impassioned lectures of Eiteljorg volunteers drove that point home.
Attending and documenting the museum’s special events were especially rewarding. The Eiteljorg’s fall itinerary was packed with activity: I created marketing materials for, photographed and filmed the Quest for The West® Art Show and Sale, the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Community Celebration, the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship exhibit UNSETTLE/Converge, and the Fifth Third Bank Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure. Although I hadn’t considered myself a strong photographer, I discovered that moments of joy, reflection, and amity among guests and staff were never hard to find.
I also had the opportunity to be a part of the design phase for the Eiteljorg’s new Hawthorn Group young professionals initiative, compile the calendar of events for the spring 2024 edition of Storyteller magazine, edit video projects in conjunction with exhibit openings, and attend planning meetings. Throughout all of these experiences, I was consistently contributing to something larger than I could’ve imagined previously. The Eiteljorg means the world to its guests, artists, staff, and sponsors. I’m humbled to reflect on the part I’ve played in maintaining the health and passion of that community.
My time at Butler University is swiftly approaching its end; I’ll be graduating in May 2024. While I’ll inevitably return to self-promotion in search of my next opportunity, I’m now reminded of why I’m on this journey. I’ll continue to bolster my unique voice by helping others find theirs.
Tim Eterno is a senior at Butler University and interned in the Eiteljorg’s marketing and communications department during fall semester 2023.