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A 60-year-old painting found its way to Ipso this summer

Mel Spinar has been a favorite at Ipso Gallery and Fresh Produce. His works hang in our office space as well as the homes of our team members. There is this inexplicable energy to his works. They keep you. They attract an audience. They allow you to build stories around them. Stories that you get to share with others. They are mystical.

Chicago-native pro-football documentarian-historian-writer Joe Ziemba had been researching ways to get in touch with Mel Spinar—an artist based in South Dakota, a longtime painting professor at South Dakota State University, and his former art professor at Sioux Falls College in the late 60s. That’s when Joe came across Ipso Gallery and our 2013 exhibition, Mel: A Celebration of Mel Spinar’s Portraiture.

Joe sent us an email this summer asking about Mel and mentioned a painting that he was looking to find a new home for. Liz Heeren, our Gallery Director, sent him information on how to get in touch with Mel and a list of places that had Mel’s work in their collections. A week or so later, Joe reached out again and sent this email:

Liz–

Thank you again for your help with this project!

Mel did receive my letter and called me today. We had a great chat and he did remember me.

Anyway, he gave me permission to share the painting, and if your offer is still acceptable, I would love to send the painting to you.

It should be mentioned that it is a larger work, probably about three feet in height. I can measure it and let you know for sure.

Once I hear back from you, I’ll arrange to have it shipped safely to the Ipso Gallery. It is over 50 years old, but the original frame is still there and there is no damage to the canvas itself.

I am so very happy to have found a home for this wonderful piece–thanks to you!

All the best–

Joe

By the end of July, we received a large package from Illinois with Mel’s painting from the 60s, when he was a young art professor at Sioux Falls College. Joe later during a phone call tells me, “He taught me so much. The world really opened before my eyes as he would explain different forms of art, how they’ve been interpreted over the years, and what lies ahead and what the imagination might bring—I never encountered anyone like that.”  He had him as a professor for his first two years before Mel left for SDSU. “I came from the southside of Chicago to South Dakota to get my eyes open to the world out there, so it was fabulous.”

I asked Joe to tell me the story behind how he got the painting.

“Way back when, I’m thinking maybe 1970 in the summer, Mel’s painting that we’re talking about was hanging in the Student Union at the time. We came back from vacation and a lot of the paintings were not hanging anywhere. A couple of people asked questions and —I’m going to use a very gentle word—it looked like some of the stuff got discarded during the summer of 1970. I don’t know if it was intentional or not. But anyway, some of the students found the paintings and retrieved them. 

And we put the painting that you have now in the newspaper office. I was the editor of the school newspaper for a couple of years. And people really enjoyed it. Mainly it was oversized, as you can see, and it was just so completely different. You could have hours of conversation in front of it and look at it and try to figure out what the heck does it mean. I think that’s part of the attraction of it. 

So anyway when I graduated in ’71, I’m trying to remember who but I can’t, someone asked if they could take it. I had earlier asked the school, even though this painting had been discarded, and some others when we put it in the office. They said whoever wanted it can take it when they left, never thinking to contact Mel. So one of the students, when they graduated, took it home to their apartment. 

About a year or two later, someone was coming through Chicago and said, “Hey, would you like the painting” and I said, “Oh, I’d love it.” So they brought it and it took up most of the space in their car, I recall. When my wife and I got married, we had it in the front room for years. And the same thing, it’s a topic of discussion, comments. We had the painting in our house for years and years; we moved many times and kept taking it with us. 

Then a couple of years ago, we downsized and we have a lot of things we love, but we checked to see if maybe someone else could give them a permanent home. And one of them was Mel’s work. It was all kind of prompted by a little mini-reunion we had at Dr. Don Richardson’s [another former Sioux Falls College professor] home in Indianapolis three years ago. Some of the students I went to school with or a little older were there and I was asking about Mel, and they were telling me he had moved to Sioux Falls. Of course, it took me a while to get the courage to try and contact him and ask perhaps if he’d like it or had a spot we could consider as its new home. But yeah, we’ve had it for 49 years.”

This early painting by Mel has some similar links to his later works. While more abstracted in form and subject, we see it how his bodies of portraiture work grew from it. It’s been a special piece for Joe, and we hope that we can fix it up and share it through Ipso Gallery in the future.

“I forgot to ask him when I talked to him, but I guess I don’t want to know the intention behind the painting. We’ve gotten so many interpretations over the years; I think I’m going to leave it at that because I enjoyed that part,” said Joe.

No Business Magazine: A Publication with Intention

We always love when members of our crew pursue personal projects or are investing in themselves and our community in different ways. One that has grown out of a friendship between writer Angela Zonunpari and former FP designer Hanna Peterson is a thoughtful art publication called No Business Magazine. Angela shares details of her experience self-publishing a zine on art and culture and how this collaborative effort came about.

Bailey: You’ve been in the arts world for quite some time, especially over in New York before coming to Sioux Falls. What sparked your initial interest in the arts and what’s kept you driven?

Angela: I moved to the United States in 2013 after having worked at a newspaper in India for a while. That’s when I was getting really curious about art writing and coverage on art, so that pushed me to apply for a Master’s in arts journalism. I was already in print journalism and had a TV journalism background—I was just really interested in telling stories. So what happened with my program at Syracuse University is that it opened up this whole new world of something that in India I had no knowledge of, like Western art history and contemporary art. So it was interesting to learn about that. And then when I moved to New York City, I got to see the nonprofit world of a museum and its functioning. But I also got to see the art market and the sales side of it so those influenced me to say, “Okay, this is something I want to continue doing, but maybe the art market side is not for me.” I get that there’s value in that but I was more curious about what I could do with my skills at a community level.

So I’m grateful to be at Fresh Produce and working with Ipso Gallery. It’s helped me meet so many artists and be even more confident about what I do and what I know and helps me engage with more organizations here. So yeah, I think art and community are the two things that really drive me.

Why don’t you give us a wrap up of what No Business Magazine is and how you founded it, how it came to be?

So I’ll give you the long-winded story. I went to school for arts journalism and I was working in all these arts nonprofits. And for a really long time, I wanted to do a publication but I didn’t know how to do it. Basically, I just didn’t know where to start and I was really intimidated by the process. And the more I thought about it, I kept building websites and thinking “Okay, this is the way to go. It’ll be a website.” But when we moved to Sioux Falls, I got a job at Fresh Produce and Ipso really pushed me to be like “This could grow into a printed piece.” So I actually started off with something called Sound and Color in 2017. And I produced that with my partner, Eli [Show]. Basically, it was a printed piece that would support the Ipso artist that was showing at the time. So we did three of those. And it became really concept-based and concept-driven. We played off the artists that were showing and it was really fun. But being in the same house and working with your partner and having a newborn, time management got complicated, so we paused.

“I think we’re in this world where we go to art events a lot, and you don’t get to spend a lot of time with the artist, so No Business just wants to ask people to dig a little deeper or, even for people who maybe are intimidated, to approach art ideas.”

Hanna Peterson, who was working at Fresh Produce at the time, and I got really close and I started sharing my ideas with her. No Business Magazine came to my head just because of the motivations and the intention behind the whole publication. So Hanna and I partnered up at the end of 2018 and started working on the first issue called Identity. A lot of Identity grew out of Sound and Color. The approach was again a heavy concept-based playoff of artists, except they were themed and involved more people. So the name No Business Magazine came out of the conversations we were having and I think a lot of it was getting driven by ownership of art.

I was in the art auction world for a bit and I didn’t care for the culture of how conversations were lead by business so I chose not to focus on that and instead lift up ideas, which is a concept heavily supported by Fresh Produce and Ipso. So that was really motivating to focus on ideas and lift up all the knowledge that artists have in art-making. So yeah, now we’re two issues in, and it’s been a lot of fun.

Tell us a little bit more about your partner, Hanna, and the roles you each contribute to the publication.

As I mentioned, Hanna used to work at Fresh Produce. She was a graphic designer here. She moved to Minneapolis and was working remotely for a while but now she works for an agency there called Latitude. She’s a really amazing person and we really hit it off on a lot of different levels — interest and aesthetic — and just what we wanted to do outside of work. So that partnership really works out because there’s a lot of trust there. Before Hanna jumped on, I had the three issues themed out and some of the artists already listed so I shared all of those ideas with her and we started talking about what the written pieces could be and she drew inspiration from that.

I would say both of us play art director and creative director type roles where we work really closely and share information and things that resonate from certain artists and from there it just kind of grows organically.

“Forming connections and being able to talk to and learn from people who inspire us, I think that’s the goal right now.”

No Business Magazine features a lot of different artists and a wide variety of people. So as you pull those people in, what do you look for? How do you curate and figure out who’s going to be featured in the magazine?

Yeah, so initially we played off people we were really curious about and when we started listing those people, we found a theme to base the whole issue on so people have an idea of what to expect going in. Our first publication focused on how artists deal with their identity and was really diverse from photographers to painters. So there’s a lot of freedom in how we curate but always a very light underscoring throughout. I’d say most of the issues are based on people we’re really curious about and then we curate them into these groups to see how it could come about in a printed issue.

How do you communicate with artists that you’re interested in working with? What does that initial relationship look like?

I’d say we usually have a buffer. We’ll reach out to our selection and in most cases, the majority of the people we’ve never met or interacted with. We’ve just observed them either on Instagram or we’ve seen their work somewhere. There’s a lot of chance in our communication but I think it’s given us a lot of confidence to talk about our vision clearly so it’s easy to approach people. I would say 99.9% of the people we’ve approached have said yes, even though it’s our first or second interaction with them. It’s really special! We’re very intentional about how we communicate our vision for the issue and are specific about why we’re interested in their work and where we envision them in issue.

And about how long does the whole process take?

I want to say about a year from start to finish. Maybe a little over a year. The first two issues kind of overlapped because we were working on the first issue while the idea of the second issue got pulled into a curated exhibition. We don’t have strict timelines on things, just because we both work full-time and we really consider it as creating an art object. We want to enjoy the process because it’s something we do for ourselves so anytime someone’s feeling pressured, we pause for a bit. It’s nice that way, especially with Hanna and I being the only two members producing everything. We have a lot of support from Amy Jarding, and Eli. But once that production gets really heavy, it’s the two of us.

How do you go about narrowing themes and deciding what goes into the magazine? How do you decide which direction you want to take it in?

I think it’s something that comes out of what we’re really curious about or things we like, whether it’s design-wise or writing-wise, that we really want to do but maybe haven’t had a chance to. With the first issue, I had the idea in mind because identity is something really close to me so it was a natural fit. And then creating that roster of artists, I have this thing that I do on Instagram, so if I see artists I really like, I start bookmarking them and saving them to my account. Then I go back through and start curating those buckets.

The second issue was kind of funny because the idea came during a really fascinating moment when we had Amanda Smith, who’s in Power Colors, and her partner, Josh, visit during Thanksgiving. My son, Forrest, was really little and he handed Amanda a pink and green crayon and Josh said, “Amanda, he knows your power colors.” They explained that Amanda’s work at that time was really focused around those two shades, so that’s how I came up with the name Power Colors for our second issue.


What type of perspective would you say No Business Magazine gives the people who read it?

I think from a design perspective, we really want to lift up print first, and interactivity and tactility. That’s kind of our goal and just holding people longer, even if they are interacting with the printed material. And then on the writing and art writing side of it, we really want to be intentional about giving artists space to talk about their work, even if it’s just process or practice or an idea behind a body of work. And just like us, focusing on the intrinsic value of our artists and all the knowledge that they hold. I think we’re in this world where we go to art events a lot, and you don’t get to spend a lot of time with the artist, so No Business just wants to ask people to dig a little deeper or, even for people who maybe are intimidated, to approach art ideas.

What do your plans look like for the next publication?

The third issue is going to be something that I’ve been really curious about. It’s like art in digital and tech spaces. So it most probably won’t be a printed issue. We want to develop a full website for it, so we’re switching things up. We’re still hoping to bring in all the layers and interactivity of a printed No Biz Mag.

That’s exciting! So jumping off of that, what do you hope to grow No Business Magazine into? What does that future vision for the publication look like?

I don’t think we’ve quite decided yet. You know, I think for Hanna, and I am speaking for Hanna, but I think it’s kind of become an art practice we’re creating. I want to say an art object, it’s not mass-produced, there’s a lot of labor involved, there’s a lot of like, physical hand labor involved. There’s a lot of time and energy outside of work and regular life that we put into it. So it feels like an art practice, like an art object. So maybe growing as art publishers. That could be an interesting route where we help other artists publish their work. Forming connections and being able to talk to and learn from people who inspire us, I think that’s the goal right now.

To learn more about No Business Magazine, visit nobusinessmagazine.com or follow along @nobizmag on Instagram.

It’s an “apprenticeship on steroids”

Two and a half years ago, Fresh Produce was just at the ten-year mark with our summer internship program, Famous, and the team was eager to engage the growing community of young professionals in the area with a different experience. Something longer than the two-month internship, more intensive, and even more hands-on with room for these professionals to explore things they are curious about within Fresh Produce, Ipso Gallery, and the industry.

We launched our apprenticeship program in April, 2018. Mike Hart famously called it “an apprenticeship on steroids, and a new approach to workforce development in marketing” in an Argus Leader article. We caught up with our current apprentices, Bailey Possail and Mike Helland, to see how their time with Fresh Produce has been so far.

Angela: When did you start as an Apprentice at Fresh Produce? Can you tell me a little bit about your role?

Bailey: I started on January 8, 2020, as the Writing / Creative Apprentice. And with that comes a lot of hats, from writing to production. You and I also work on content strategy and creation for our social channels and website.

Mike: I’m a Media Specialist under the Account Service apprenticeship program. I started in the spring of 2019. Like many of the roles at Fresh Produce, and like Bailey just said, we wear multiple hats. I work on media strategy and buying, social media management, and reporting. I also do a little project management.

How did you end up in this Apprentice role?

BP: After I got done interning last summer for Famous, I stayed in touch with Mike about future opportunities as I was finishing up my last semester at South Dakota State University. And then in December when I was done with school, that’s when Mike offered me a position as an Apprentice.

MH: I knew about the apprenticeship right away. I have always kept in contact with Ted. We were getting coffee together for a couple of weeks where we were just talking about opportunities, and he brought up the apprenticeship. He thought that it would be a really good opportunity for me to apply. So that’s how I got introduced to the role.

Bailey, I remember you saying that you never looked at yourself as a writer or even pursuing a writing role. And Mike, you were working at Washington Pavilion as a Sound Engineer. Those things are fairly distant from what you’re doing at Fresh Produce. Can you tell me about your previous experience and your current trajectory?

BP: As you said, I never thought I’d actually become a writer. I wasn’t really introduced to copywriting in the advertising program at SDSU and when I applied to the Famous internship program, I actually interviewed for the Account Service position. At the time, I felt that was the right fit for me. I’m not sure what it was about my Perkins radio ad, but I got offered the writing position as an intern and that just kind of stuck! I’m so glad they offered me that intern position instead and saw the potential to work out this apprenticeship program for me because it’s literally been so mind-opening. And the growth in the past nine or ten months that I’ve been here has been so immense that I just never thought it would look like this for me, honestly.

We all enjoyed the Perkins spec ad you submitted as part of your application! Mike, you were working at a different place in a different environment. What made you say “Hell yeah, I’m totally interested in this apprenticeship” when you met with Ted?

MH: I grew up in an advertising household so I always knew about it as an industry. But after I graduated college, there were about three years or so where I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I liked certain things, and that’s why I worked in sound and live production, but I jumped around a whole bunch of different jobs. And even though I enjoyed them, it wasn’t until Fresh Produce that it was like, “Okay, this is a career. This is really setting myself up for the future to gain really invaluable skills.” I felt like it was the first step to get my foot in the door to the professional world.

That’s neat! So Mike, you’ve been here a year and a half. And Bailey, it’s almost been a year. What is something that’s really stuck with you either about the model of the apprenticeship itself, or maybe the freedom in what you’re doing?

MH: I think the entire role of an apprentice is a unique opportunity. You’re not bound by a certain role. And you’re able to try out what you’re interested in, and you’re able to assist where you need to. You can really explore the curriculum of advertising. I think that’s one of the really unique and cool opportunities that we get—when we start the apprenticeship program, we receive a curriculum that includes classes, books, etc. I learn a lot that way because I really do enjoy the school model of having homework and being assigned things.

BP: Bouncing off of that, there is that curriculum that you get right away. And I’ve also had conversations with Mike (Hart), where he’ll ask “What do you want to learn next? Is there anything else you want to add to your experience?” And so that’s really nice. Because yes, even though I am a writing apprentice, I can still tell him, “Hey, I want to go on more video shoots. I want to get into photography” or things like that, and he listens and will help me find those opportunities. There’s just this level of trust and appreciation between everyone here.

I was kind of jealous of your curriculum when we were putting it together. Tell me about your curriculum and some of the things that you’ve enjoyed. Because it’s a weird mix of things, right? Things that aren’t directly related to your role, it might be related to creativity or something that someone in the crew has really enjoyed?

MH: Some of the most fun things in my curriculum are things geared towards Ipso. There were a couple of documentaries that I had to watch. One of them was ‘Cutie and the Boxer’, which is about a painter who uses boxing gloves as his way of painting on a canvas. And then there was another one called ‘The Price of Everything’ and it was just about the art world. So those documentaries are a great way to get involved in thinking about art and Ipso. Then there’s the reading list. There were a bunch of books on there, some I wouldn’t have considered reading. But they were all great. And then also, we were required to watch ‘Back to the Future.’ So that’s important.

BP: Yes, I’m saving ‘Back to the Future.’ I think my favorite thing so far has been a show on Netflix called ‘Chef’s Table’. A part of me thought, “I have to watch a show about chefs? Okay, this is kind of interesting.” But it’s so artsy and seeing how people conceptualize foods and how they make them is so interesting. And then you can take that same thinking and apply it to your work in really unique ways. That’s been my favorite. I’ve actually continued watching it because I think it’s so interesting.

I love how Ipso and that kind of creative thinking are incorporated into the curriculum, and recognizing how one creative endeavor can feed the other is so important in our creative practice here. I keep saying apprentice, but I feel like there’s this plain we’re all on. There are no clear hierarchies here. And I like that you mentioned trust, Bailey. Can you talk a little bit about what you really enjoy as a member of the crew, being able to explore different things that you’re interested in within Fresh Produce or Ipso?

BP: That trust factor really helps me open up about the things I want to learn and make sure that I’m pursuing those opportunities or at least telling people on the team about the opportunities I would like put in place for me. I think my favorite so far—although it’s nerve-racking and it scares me—has probably been getting into video production. There have been a few clients that I’ve got to sit in on and do interviews with and it’s been really exciting to work with clients in that way. I always assumed as a creative, I wouldn’t be up in front with the clients like Account Service, so that’s been great.

MH: One thing working at Fresh Produce has taught me is the importance of your surroundings. I’m in an environment where I’m being challenged to get better at my craft every single day. And it’s kind of like being in a gym. Like how heavyweight lifters train with other heavyweight lifters, I’m training and growing by simply working side by side with some of the most creative people in town. Just being in that same environment as them, even if a day might seem tough or you feel you didn’t accomplish something. It’s like training in the gym.

That’s a quotable quote right there. The apprenticeship is like training in the gym.*

*Disclaimer: Mike Helland has never actually trained at a gym. Pokémon gym, maybe.

Famous: An agency within an agency

This summer’s Famous team produced marketing materials for various clients in the Sioux Falls area. They also organized Field Trip, Ipso Gallery‘s first socially-distanced exhibition, and assembled a limited edition kit containing fun delights, coupons, and maps that lead viewers on an unexpected journey to pick up various items at some of our favorite places in Sioux Falls. 

What did you look forward to doing/learning as a Famous intern?

Rachel Ehlers: The thing I looked forward to the most about being a Famous intern this summer was the idea that I got to handle the team’s clients. As the Account Service intern, I was excited to be able to take the lead on communications with clients and create a relationship with them throughout the process.

Huong Nguyen: I would say the whole creative process. As an intern, we didn’t expect to see the assembly lines of production. At Fresh Produce, the first thing we would learn is how to turn a few notes into strategically unique and creative works. I was also so excited to be the first-ever fourth Famous intern in the past 10 years.

Austin Miller: I looked forward to collaborating with the other Famous interns and making memorable campaigns for our clients. I had never worked in an agency before this summer, so I was excited to learn the ropes of the agency life.

Rachel Harmon: I looked forward to working with the crew and learning from creative powerhouses. I also looked forward to seeing projects completed and having a final product to show from it.

Did the internship give you a better idea of what you want to do after graduation?

RE: This internship really solidified for me that I was heading in the right direction. Famous really rekindled my desire to succeed in the advertising world and got me jazzed up about heading into my master’s program!

HN: YESS! Famous got me excited about the future in the marketing/advertising world. I felt inspired by how the Fresh Produce staff leads their own life besides the office work. I could easily name a few here: Angela is releasing her second No Business Magazine, Michael is in a really cool band called Tenenbaums, Bailey has her new earring business, Pish Posh Goods, etc. Fresh Produce gave me the confidence to start my own YouTube channel & blog (coming soon!).

AM: Famous was fun because I was able to wear many hats. Although my position was the writer, I did so many other things on a day-to-day basis. If anything, this internship informed me that I work best in an environment where my role changes frequently. Advertising is an ever-changing business, so I think I can see myself doing it for a long time.

RH: Yes, I know that I want to work at an agency like FP, which values creatives and their process. The feel of working in a not too small agency is nice, everyone still has their roles, but you get the chance to explore.

What project did you really enjoy working on?

RE: My favorite project throughout the summer was Hayes Davis Remodeling. Hayes was easy to communicate with and really gave us a lot of creative freedom to define his brand. In the end, we created a name, logo, and a few extras that really resonated with his personality and business. I loved the final products!

HN: Affordable Moving was a lovely project. We got to design their direct mailers and later the truck wrap. You might be able to see our design moving around the city.

AM: Affordable Moving was my favorite project. Jess and Nate put a lot of trust in us, and as interns, that felt good. Rachel H and I were able to provide them with a cornucopia of delightful ideas for the direct mail campaign and their truck wrap.

RH: My favorite project was Field Trip. We went on a lot of intuition to make the gallery show experience. It was the most hands-on because we actually got to bind the kits and put them all together.

What aspect/s of projects challenged you most?

RE: The aspect that challenged me the most was when the client’s plans/events were either changed or canceled due to the pandemic. There was a lot of uncertainty this summer for everyone, and it was a slight letdown when projects had to be put on hold.

HN: The most challenging part of the projects, for me, was completing my parts the best way possible and trusting my teammates to do the same. There is always a fine line between creativity and strategy, and I have to balance that out.

AM: I think that the toughest part of our projects was communication. We did all of our presentations online and were restricted to email and phone calls when we wanted to talk to clients. We all had to learn how to send effective emails and make the most of the times we spent “face to face” on Zoom.

RH: The first project we worked on challenged me the most. We were all still learning the process and trying to tackle working together too.

“This is an amazing opportunity, better than the majority of regular internships, and you should apply even if you don’t think you’re good enough.”

Any advice for future applicants?

RE: My advice for future applicants is to not to be afraid to apply! Even if you feel as if you do not have enough ‘relevant’ experience to get in, go through the application process anyway. Having a passion for the industry and a strong work ethic can get you farther than you think.

HN: Prepare yourself for the interview but don’t over-prepare. Fresh Produce wants to get to know you. Feel free to share your extraordinary hobbies or inspiration. Always remember “come with a reason and leave with a reason to come back.”

AM: I think the only advice I have is to be yourself and to have fun.

RH: This is an amazing opportunity, better than the majority of regular internships, and you should apply even if you don’t think you’re good enough.

Anything else you want to add?

HN: Learn to brew coffee if you’re a coffeeholic. I spent $$ at coffee stores this summer. The Source is a three-minute walk away. Believe me: it’s really tempting.

AM: Ask Katrina how to use the coffeemaker so that you don’t spill coffee all over the kitchen.

RH: We had a safe, fun internship during a pandemic. Imagine your experience when we hopefully aren’t in a pandemic.

Any inquiries about the Famous internship program at Fresh Produce can be sent to famous@pickfresh.com

Read more about Famous:

Famous: A Summer of Firsts

This summer, we welcomed our 12th intern team and embraced an experience that brought a handful of firsts. From video conferencing to remote work and organizing Ipso’s first socially-distanced show, Famous wrapped up their summer with diverse clients and projects that helped them exercise their copywriting, design, research, and project management skills.

What got you interested in the Famous internship?

Rachel Ehlers: What got me interested in the Famous internship initially was the ‘agency within an agency’ idea. Fresh Produce is also known for having one of the hardest application processes to secure an internship. The initial challenge of getting my foot in the door along with the trust that I knew would be placed in me once I got here is what really piqued my interest.

Huong Nguyen: My interview with Mike and Ted was my first time being in the Fresh Produce office. I was truly impressed by the open, creative, and interactive space that integrated both an art gallery and working desks. The interview was also so exciting: Ted pulled out his deck of cards and asked me to pick 3, just like a Tarot reader. I remember being asked what my creative inspiration was, and I said Durex Condom marketing promotion. 😂

Austin Miller: I was interested in doing an internship in advertising. The internship positions at Fresh Produce piqued my interest. I saw that they had an art gallery which told me that they invest in creative freedom. More than anything, I think that I was intrigued by how they did business. I wanted to avoid being an intern that works in a cubicle and gets coffee for people. I wanted to create something every day and get better at advertising.

Rachel Harmon: I got interested in Famous during my sophomore year when Fresh Produce employees visited SDSU and walked us through what a project at FP looks like. I was ambitious and applied for the experience. When I didn’t get it, I worked harder in my junior year and made it my goal to get an internship somewhere in Sioux Falls. During my junior year, I was still drawn to FP as a company. At student day we got a tour and I once again fell in love with the atmosphere FP has created for itself. I decided to apply again and here we are.

What skill/s did you strengthen this summer?

RE: One skill I strengthened during this internship was my technology communication skills. This year was different from others, with most of the crew working from home and not being able to bring clients into the Fresh Produce space. This provided ample opportunity to strengthen my technology etiquette and my ability to adapt to other preferred methods of communications.

HN: On my first interview with Mike and Ted, I told them one of my goals was to become a better presenter. Though there’s still room for a lot of improvement, I have definitely bettered myself at presenting and communicating ideas. I’m really grateful that Fresh Produce always gave consideration to my goal. Mike and Katrina gave me a lot of opportunities and encouragement to present ideas and projects to the team and clients.

AM: I had to prepare numerous ideas for each of our clients, so I had to sharpen my creative process. Because I was putting out so much content, my writing skills improved drastically. I also learned how to manage my time, craft quality presentations, meet deadlines with ease, and communicate with artists and account managers.

RH: My ability to communicate, to think quickly, and meet deadlines has improved. I also think my ability to critique my work increased since we were working remotely from each other.

“Whether it was working from home, communicating over technology, or client’s plans changing, this summer was a great reminder to make the most of what you are given.”

How was your Ipso Gallery experience? What was it like to help with an art exhibition?

RE: My Ipso Gallery experience was great! With slowing the spread of Covid-19 being a large concern, our team had to plan out how to still give the Ipso feel, while not inviting people into the gallery space. This resulted in the Famous crew getting to add a lot of very different and unique components to our art show. It was exciting to dream up something new and bring it to Ipso, Fresh Produce, and Sioux Falls. 😊

HN: The Ipso show (Field Trip) was one of my favorite experiences. To get inspired for the show, we had a field trip to some toy stores in town and to the Washington Pavilion for an art gallery show. I had such a fun time doing all the first-time things: writing, video scriptwriting, filming, etc., We were so ecstatic to see how excited people were to see our final kit boxes with all the delightful items from artists and the zine we designed inside.

AM: Planning the Ipso show was loads of fun. Early in the brainstorming process, we decided to go on an adventure to some local toy stores to get some ideas for the show. That was the first time I had been in a toy store in probably a decade. We did everything we could to bring in new ideas for Field Trip, and I think we created something special. Year after year, the bar continues to be set higher for Ipso, and it pushed us to create something new and offbeat. We didn’t have a blueprint for how to plan an art show over Zoom, so it was challenging at times, but it was something that I’ll never forget.

RH: This was an all hands on deck project. Since this show was about the experience of an art gallery, a lot went into creating elements for guests to use. It is cheesy, but everything was thought out in detail and put together with love and care.

RH: I learned how to overcome challenges with working remotely and how to communicate through them.

The crew created a COVID time capsule with items that represented our summer in quarantine. What item did you add to the capsule and why?

RE: The item that I added to the COVID time capsule was the mask that was provided on the first day of the Famous internship. All the interns were thrilled that Fresh Produce opted to keep their internship this summer despite other agencies letting theirs go. In preparation for us to come into the office and work, hand sanitizer and a face mask were set out on my desk upon arrival. Having a cloth mask of my own, I had never opened the mask package, and what better item to sum up a summer internship in a pandemic than a mask!

HN: I put my AirPod case in the time capsule. This summer, I enjoyed tons of different songs that I had never listened to before. On our day being the only four people in the office, we turned Fresh Produce into a Famous hub and played music.

AM: My item was a red pen and a yellow sticky note. I started taking notes with these whenever I was in meetings, and when I was bored, I would sketch things and post them on the chalkboard next to my desk. It seemed like a good thing to remember, so I put it in the box.

RH: I put in a shell. I wrote an absolute knee-slapper joke on it that read: “SHELL I TELL YOU A SEA-CRET”.

What was your biggest takeaway from the summer?

RE: One of my biggest takeaways of the summer was being reminded to control the things I could control and just roll with the things I could not. Whether it was working from home, communicating over technology, or client’s plans changing, this summer was a great reminder to make the most of what you are given.

HN: My two biggest takeaways were inspired by Fresh Produce’s old saying, “Live an Interesting Life.” You only live once so do things you love and enjoy your life. When you’re happy, your work is best fulfilled.

AM: My biggest takeaway is that writing a good ad takes many hours to master. I’ve heard that 10,000 hours is the barrier to becoming an expert at something. During the summer, I spent 400 hours working, and probably 100 of those were spent on writing. Those 100 hours are 1% of 10,000; in other words, I’m still a complete and utter novice at this.

RH: I learned how to overcome challenges with working remotely and how to communicate through them.

Any inquiries about the Famous internship program at Fresh Produce can be sent to famous@pickfresh.com

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