Connecting through writing leads to a series of firsts

Adding the professional writing minor to her English degree has led to a series of firsts for fourth year student Kinsey Barrows. She is the first Ohio State Lima student to work her way through the new minor and is currently doing a capstone internship at ArtSpace/Lima.
Student doing research in the ArtSpace/Lima library

First in the minor

Good writing can be the connection that brings organizations and businesses together with their consumers, constituents and community. 

The professional writing minor at Ohio State Lima equips students with the skills and strategies to produce useful, audience-centered work that meets the real-world need organizations have to be understood. The capstone internship lets the students apply what they have learned while exploring a working environment that they may be interested in joining after graduation.

“The internship capstone creates possibilities for students by asking them to interact with organizations in the Lima community. There is no telling what doors these internships may open for students,” said Dr. David Gall-Maynard, visiting assistant professor in English and coordinator of the professional writing program.

According to Gall-Maynard, the professional writing minor and its coursework are designed to be useful for all students, regardless of major or career goals. Even before students complete the capstone internship, they are provided with several opportunities to create writing that is useful to real-world organizations outside the classroom. Students have the freedom to create projects that meet the needs of organizations that they are currently affiliated with or are just interested in learning more about. 

One of those projects is a feasibility study designed identify a challenge faced by a Lima-area organization. Students create a formal, research-based report with concrete, action-oriented strategies. Barrows’ study involved the career development office at Ohio State Lima and new ways to encourage students to use the resume editing services on campus. Some of her recommendations are being put into play now.   

First Sullivan Legacy intern

At ArtSpace/Lima Barrows is working on a project that has brought her right back around to campus. She is talking to professors about one of their former colleagues, William Sullivan, who was a longtime English professor at Ohio State Lima and went on to serve as ArtSpace/Lima’s executive director after his retirement from teaching. 

ArtSpace/Lima’s next show features artwork from the estate of Mary Ann and William Sullivan and Barrows is tracking down information and insight about the couple and their longterm contributions to share in the program and documentation of Scenes from the Sullivans.

The Sullivan estate not only left many pieces of art that will be in the show, but also some funding that ArtSpace can use to offer paid internships to students from either Ohio State Lima or Bluffton University, which was where Mary Ann Sullivan taught art history. 

Barrows is the first of the Sullivan Legacies. ArtSpace Executive Director Sally Windle hopes that she can pick up the tradition of high-quality documentation for the shows’ programs and descriptions for newsletters and archives that Bill Sullivan was known for. 

“The things that writers do make you feel like ‘I've been there and I know a lot more now,’” Windle said. “The fact that we've been covering that aspect is okay but to finally have something that's going to be worthy of not only the Sullivan show, but this place and everybody that's done things for this is even greater.”

Barrows’ work in the professional writing minor program has helped prepare her for the variety of writing and styles she needs to be an asset in the ArtSpace/Lima environment. Professional writing that helps patrons quickly understand the subject is very different than some of the work she has written for other classes. The strong research component underpins both, but the goal and feel are very different.

“Professional writing has given me the skills and the introductory knowledge that lead to actually writing, to the research aspect of writing good documents and good-quality work that is going to actually be something that people are going to be able to enjoy and understand. It is nothing too wordy, nothing too like verbose.” 

Barrows’ dream is to one day edit books, but what she is doing at ArtSpace/Lima is also pulling her forward into an area she never even dreamed about. 

“Coming here, I've found a new passion not only working in a non-profit organization, but having this art appreciation I didn't have years ago. And now that I'm here it is like I'm seeing the work that goes into it and it's really nice,” Barrows said. “If I cannot edit books in the future, I would want to work in a museum or something like it.”

She is already exceling in the non-profit arena. Before she was named the first Sullivan Legacy, which is a paid position, she was working hard and learning much. So much that ArtSpace/Lima named her the 2023 Volunteer of the Year. 

“Being here lets me put forward one of my strongest skills. That is my work ethic. I put in a hundred percent into this place and the energy of the place is really fulfilling,” Barrows said. “It takes me back being here getting to talk to artists, getting to just talk to the people who come in wondering, like what we even do, it's amazing because I get to meet so many new people.”

Scenes from the Sullivans opens from 2-4 p.m., Sunday, October 8, in multiple galleries at ArtSpace/Lima, 65 Town Square. It is free and open to the public.