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contributor-profile-maria-snellings-intern-untapped-cities

What’s your “day job”?

I’m a junior at Sarah Lawrence College and study physics and poetry as main components. Now that the summer’s over, I work as a Teaching Assistant on campus and start a third job on Tuesday working as a TA in a 2nd grade classroom in Yonkers, New York.

Favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped:

I wrote an article about Portuguese street art VHILS, aka Alexandre Farto, who had done a sculpture entirely made of cork for Portugal’s International Street Theatre Festival Imaginarius in Santa Maria da Feira. He’s my absolute favorite street artist.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city?

I grew up in Northeast, Washington D.C. and with all the tourists flooding in to see the monuments I think it was really important to find ‘untapped’ spots. For me, I would love going to the Arboretum and running around  in the giant field. For a long time, there was an installation where an artist built these giant metal ants that were scattered across the field.

What’s the most memorable thing that happened while interning at Untapped Cities?

I got to hang out in a dumpster with Greg Kloehn, the guy turned who turned an ordinary dumpster into his home. It surprised me how relaxing it was to sit on his roof. He had added a setback so people can sit propped up and enjoy any view. I could have sat up for the whole afternoon or really for any time of the day. And of course this year’s Diner en Blanc in Bryant Park!

What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?

Map_of_the_District_of_Columbia,_1835Source: Library of Congress

Back in 1790, Maryland and Virginia donated a total 100 square miles of land that made the District a perfect diamond. It wasn’t until the 1830s when Alexandria, Virginia decided they wanted the land back. They started to worry that Congress would end slavery in the District. Once Virginia petitioned  for it, the state legislature voted to return all of the territory ceded by Virginia. Since then, Southwest is the smallest quadrant.

What’s the most surprising and/or valuable thing you learned during your internship?

Just working with Michelle, the founder of Untapped Cities. She has an amazing work ethic and great communication skills. I think it’s really important to work for people who set an excellent example with a high bar.

What’s your favorite Untapped place you’ve visited while traveling? Where do you want to visit next?

Most recently, I went to Marfa, Texas. My favorite part besides the gravel packed roads was this one backyard behind a soap-making studio. There was a bunch of cactus with a few cow and bull skulls hanging around. There’s even one skull hung on a light post back there. I really want to travel to Guyana and Martinique, I’ve met some amazing artists from there.

Best Celebrity Sighting:

It’s a tie between riding in the same subway car as America Ferrera and running into Oscar from Sesame Street. Last week I ran into Lisa Edelstein who plays Dr. Lisa Cuddy on House.

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Learn more about joining the Untapped Cities community and our internship opportunities here

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