Moonstone Arts Center – DIY or Die

Out of all the places I applied to (which was a lot), Moonstone Arts Center was the one I was most excited about. Their mission - using art as education from the cradle to the grave - is near and dear to my heart.

Powering through an internship during a global pandemic has been a challenge! While it has offered a unique opportunity, I want to keep it authentic here: the struggle is real.

My name is Piper Burris – I am 23, my favorite color is pink, I love my dog, and am graduating this semester (woo hoo!) with a degree in Advertising and a concentration in Art Direction. I have been interning with Moonstone Arts Center since August and plan to continue volunteering on a smaller scale after graduation.

Out of all the places I applied to (which was a lot)Moonstone Arts Center was the one I was most excited about. Their mission – using art as education from the cradle to the grave – is near and dear to my heart. Moonstone is primarily a publishing house for local poets, and holds many (now virtual) poetry reading events.

Larry Robin is the brains, beauty, and brawn of the operation. His journey with the Philly art scene started with his family’s business, Robin’s Book Store, which he took over and developed into Moonstone Arts Center in 1983.

Larry is a character! He loves to talk, has big ideas, and works as hard as I’ve ever seen. He is the heart of Moonstone. He works best with face to face contact: it’s easier to brainstorm, to talk out ideas and feelings, and to just connect.

Especially since having to close for a few pandemic months due to illness, the business was not prepared for the transition to a primarily digital space. Larry will say it himself – technology is not his strong suit (the man doesn’t even have a cell phone). I started off at Moonstone Arts Center as the design intern and designed a few book covers, but realized there was some other work to be done to help things run smoothly.

For the first month or so I was able to go into the office, which allowed me to connect directly with Larry and get a better idea of how things worked. From there, I took over the redesign of the Moonstone website. We were able to reorganize, rewrite, and fine tune a lot of important content. We added graphics and links, and connected those to Moonstone’s social media. It is still a work in progress! but, I have learned a lot, am more confident in my abilities, and am excited to see how things go moving forward.

DIY or Die

An internship at Moonstone has the potential to be very fulfilling and, for me, certainly has been. At the same time, it is largely self directed. Larry has some level of expectations, but prefers for interns to take on and complete projects that are interesting to them. This is a super nice idea!, but it is hard to remain motivated when you are unpaid and unsupervised.

So, if you are willing to traverse some technical difficulties, bring forward your own ideas and goals, and can be self-motivated, Moonstone Arts Center is a truly cool opportunity.


  1. This sounds like such an amazing internship! I love the face that you could express your concerns for the company and help them build their website, and social media! This is such a great skill set to have and something to be proud of! Completely redesigning a website is hard enough, especially that you had no supervision or help, but its awesome that you did it!

  2. Hey Piper, I liked that you were able to find an internship volunteering at a place that aligned with you! I think being able to redesign a website and help with creative for a company where you were in control of most of the work is daunting, but you persevered. Not only is this an amazing skill set to have, but also completing this internship in the midst of a pandemic says a lot about your strength. Looking at the website, you did a great job.

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