On the eve of EALS, my mind was not on arts management. I had assignments to finish, summer plans to finalize, and projects to plan. But the next morning, all of that changed.



As soon as I stepped into the Katzen Arts Center, I was hit by a wave of energy, passion, and talent. I was instantly surrounded by students, established leaders in the arts as they shared coffee and talked about the day to come.



I met other arts managers from near and far, and prospective students! Theater, music, art, education, placemaking – so many different fields and perspectives were in one room!



Getting to see Dr. Jane Chu, Chairman of the NEA open the symposium was an incredible way to start the morning. I’d listened to my classmates talk excitedly about her in the weeks leading up to the date, and her talk was very inspiring.

Dean Starr was also in attendance, and shared his love for the AU Arts Management Program to loud applause.



So many panels, so many people, and I wanted to see them all! I ended up choosing the Arts in Post-Crisis Areas panel to attend first, and I was very glad I did. Richard Kurin from The Smithsonian, Sara Green of Art for Refugees in Transition, and Daryn Cambridge of The United States Institute for Peace were the panelist and AU professor Anne L’Ecuyer moderated the panel.

I thought that the range of perspectives on the panel was just as incredible as the panelists’ stories themselves. Kurin shared stories of the Smithsonian’s role in art preservation in Haiti, and Green shared the story of the nonprofit that she founded herself, which works with existing nonprofits in Thailand to help preserve the culture of the refugees.

Also, did you know that there’s a group that hacks museums? Nick Gray, Founder and CEO of Museum Hack (based in NYC, but coming soon to DC!) shared the story of the founding of his company in the panel Outreach Outcomes.



During the break I was able to meet and chat with other arts management students and leaders, and Erin Quinlan, EALS chair, debuted her professional development project, SMORG! Each symposium attendee was assigned a different SMORG activity when we checked in at the beginning of the day. People participated in poetry, photography, dance, and many other activities.


You can generally tell how exciting a day was by the state of my notebook at the end of it. By the end of EALS 2015, my notebook was filled with hurriedly scribbled quotes from Dr. Chu, the names of organizations and resources I’d never heard of, sketches of the panelists, business cards tucked into the pages, and a recipe for daal.

The day was pretty special, and I’m very grateful to the EALS team for making it happen, and for bringing such an amazing group of talented, passionate people all together at American University.



Thank you to guest blogger Carolyn Supinka for writing about her experience the 2015 Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium!