Meet Deb Berman, Our High Line Art Intern

Deb Berman, High Line Art's invaluable intern, installing a test filmstrip this past summer for artist Jennifer West's performance One Mile Parkour Film. Photo courtesy Friends of the High Line.

This week we bid farewell to Deb Berman, our invaluable High Line Art intern. A recent graduate from the University of Southern California, Deb has assisted our staff in countless ways since she joined our team in the spring.

Join us after the jump to read more.

While at the High Line, Deb worked closely with our curatorial, production, and communications staff, and gained insight into what is means to run an art program in a New York City public space. She began her internship by helping with the intricate de-installation and packing of Sarah Sze’s sculpture Sill Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat). She also organized our press archive, assisted with public events, and worked closely with artists and the staff to help them with research and production needs.

Deb working on the de-installation of Sarah Sze's sculpture Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat) this past June. Photo by Juan Valentin.

Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr Curator and Director of High Line Art says, “Deb is caring, always respectful, and full of enthusiasm. It has been very rewarding to work with her.”

By far her biggest task was coordinating artist Jennifer West’s day-long performance One Mile Parkour Film.

Jennifer West says, “Working with Deb on my project was an absolute pleasure. She had a number of complicated tasks, from securing film locations to coordinating a huge group of volunteers, to figuring how to secure filmstrips in the water. Every step along the way, she was on top of everything, organized and had a damn good attitude. She's someone who can do anything, from lugging equipment, to coordinating with our neighborhood contacts, to speaking perfect Spanish. If there was a problem to be solved, she was on top of it. I am sincerely indebted to her work and efforts on the One Mile Parkour Film project. ”

We recently sat down with Deb to chat about her internship at Friends of the High Line.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm an artist living in Brooklyn. I went to the University of Southern California and moved to New York from Los Angeles a little over a year ago and I've spent the past six months working at Friends of the High Line.

Tell us something you know now that you did not know before working at the High Line.
I didn't realize how small the organization was. I somehow imagined that it would take a whole building of staff to provide so many programs apart from maintaining the park. It's actually a smaller group of some very dedicated and hardworking people.

What has been your favorite part of working on the High Line Art program?
The fact that you're right there working while everyone is enjoying the park is amazing. You get to see the fruits of your labor every day on the faces of hundreds of people. It's rewarding stuff.

Installing the filmstrip for Jennifer West's day-long performance. Photo by Michael Seto.

Tell us a bit more about your involvement in Jennifer West’s High Line Art Performance One Mile Parkour Film.
It was really fun and I enjoyed being so close to a public art event. I helped set up the event working closely with the artist, the High Line staff, and a wonderful group of volunteers. I did a lot of awesome things like helping the artist shoot 35mm on the roofs of surrounding buildings. I also wrote a lot of emails in the weeks leading up to the performance day.

What did you learn from that experience?
I learned a lot about how important it is to pay attention to details so that one can coordinate with people and have the project run smoothly. There are so many variables in the planning and executing an event or installation and you need to have your bases covered.

What was the strangest ‘overheard on the High Line’ comment you heard while working at the park?
I had a woman once ask me where the High Line was. When I responded that she was on it, she looked at me incredulously, having expected there to be an actual train, and then said, "You mean I have to walk all the way to 30th St?" Welcome to New York!

Which is your favorite public artwork on the High Line and why?
I loved Simone Forti's Huddle piece. It was a beautiful performance and it was wonderful to see the NYU students and grads work with the artist to create such a beautiful and subtle piece.

What are your plans after the High Line?
Continuing my art and seeing where life takes me!

From all of us at Friends of the High Line, thank you Deb for all your amazing work!

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