Interview with Sarah Chou, Finance Support Assistant

May 1, 2024

Learn about the Intersection staff in this interview with Intersection’s Finance Support Assistant, Sarah Chou. Sarah graduated Cum Laude from Wellesley College with a B.A. in History and a minor in Economics. Sarah was inspired by the transformative power of art from a young age. Her work in nonprofit arts integrates her passion for creativity, beauty, networking, and equity. In her free time, Sarah is a freelance dancer in San Francisco and has performed with SFDanceworks and ODC/Dance Company.

Please describe your role at Intersection as well as your personal art practice.
I’m part of the Finance Team at Intersection, and more specifically my role is the Finance Support Assistant. I work on Intersection’s weekly Request for Payment process, and other related tasks where I can help the team. I’m always excited to communicate with our fiscally sponsored members on a consistent basis and learn about their upcoming events. My one year mark of being at Intersection is coming up soon, and I look forward to even more growth and connection.

Outside of Intersection, I also work as a freelance dancer and choreographer.

Where do you find inspiration?
I’ve always found my sources of inspiration to be quite varied and sometimes it isn’t necessarily art related, but it’s generally always from people. It also ranges from close friends to complete strangers. For example, I have a friend whose goal is to complete a marathon in the coming years. I have a few friends who are building their own startups or producing their own shows. These are different, yet all massive undertakings that require so much persistence; it encourages me to pursue my own goals no matter how big or daunting they may seem. I’ve always been incredibly inspired by people who have dedicated their lives to activism and fighting for equality or justice and how they can use their privilege for change. You don’t need to know someone personally to be positively influenced by their actions.

How do you manage your personal art practice and professional life? Do you have any tips for artists in the Bay who also work 9-5?
These days I think it’s all about embracing balance and giving yourself some grace. It’s realizing that you go through phases where you could be extremely busy with both work and art one month, and the next month you just have your work to focus on. I also think it’s especially unique and difficult for dancers, at least in my experience, because so many awesome projects happen during traditional working hours. You really have to create the time for what you want to do career wise. Sometimes it’s being in the studio by yourself on holidays or weekends, and most times it’s getting into class whenever you can so you can keep your technique up. I always have to remind myself that just because I am not physically dancing 9-5, doesn’t mean I am not growing as an artist. It helps with burnout as well, and ultimately I get to approach class and creation with a lot of clarity and perspective. It really has become a practice for me, rather than just another job.

What is something interesting you’ve learned about the Bay Area art scene while working at Intersection?
Abundance is the word I would use! There is always something happening, whether it’s performances, installations, festivals, etc. That’s probably obvious to some people, but the Bay sometimes feels so tech dominant that I just didn’t realize just how many active artists there are – probably an innumerable amount. Being at Intersection always reminds me that art is and has always been at the forefront of Bay Area culture, as a means of protest, expression, exploration, community and so much more.

What inspires you about working at Intersection?
So much! I always feel inspired by my colleagues, not only in the work they do for Intersection, but the way they approach and reflect on art. I feel like I’m always learning different perspectives of what art means to someone. I’m inspired by our members and their innovation. There are projects that have truly opened my eyes to what is possible. Lastly I’m inspired by history, by Intersection’s decades long commitment to artists themselves and support for work that challenges and changes the communities occupied. I feel privileged to be contributing to this history, one day at a time.

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Sarah! Meet the entire Intersection for the Arts’ staff here

 

Intersection for the Arts respectfully acknowledges that we are based in Yelamu: the traditional, unceded lands of the Ohlone people. We pay our respects to elders both past and present.