This year, EALS is launching a new initiative: the EALS Ambassador Group. EALS Ambassadors are representatives from different Arts Management programs across the country who help plan the Symposium and provide critical insight into what arts professionals are experiencing throughout cities in the US and abroad. We’ve asked them a few questions so you can get to know them more, and don’t forget to come out to our annual Fall Fundraiser to meet some of them in person on October 16th!

Elizabeth Metts

Elizabeth is currently a program assistant at Turnaround Arts, an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. She holds a BA in Art History from Princeton and is pursuing her MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University, where she serves as the Co-President of Student Advocates for the Arts. Having held positions as a charter school teacher, in the Boston Mayor’s Office, and the Guggenheim (to name a few), she looks forward to a career in federal arts education policy.
1. Why did you choose your current university/program?

The partnership between Teachers College and Columbia Law School and Columbia Business School drew me to the Arts Administration program here in NYC, given the importance of having an interdisciplinary approach to working in the arts administration and policy field. I also liked the fact that the program is housed in Teachers College since I came to grad school with a background in teaching and an interest in and passion for pursuing a career in education reform through the arts. More importantly, Student Advocates for the Arts, the student group of which I am now co-president, drew me to Teachers College and has allowed me to learn more about arts policy and how important it is to make your voice heard to keep the arts on the Hill agenda and in the federal budget.

2.  What’s your favorite EALS memory?

Probably a common answer, my favorite memory from EALS this past spring was getting to hear Jane Chu speak, as well as getting my picture taken with her since she is one of my idols.

3.  What career path are you currently interested in pursuing?

I’m currently interested in pursuing a career in either arts education or education reform policy at the federal level — haven’t decided if it will be in an executive or legislative capacity.

Trevor Wise
Trevor Wise is a third year MFA candidate at Texas Tech University studying Arts Administration, holding a BA in Theatre from the University of Missouri–Columbia. Trevor has worked as a Development Associate at Barrington Stage Company and as the Grants Administrator at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, a Regional Theatre Tony Award winner. Trevor is a contributing author to Critical Insights: Eugene O’Neill and was recently named to the board of selectors for the Actors Hall of Fame.unnamed-9

1. Why did you choose your current university/program?

I chose to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration at Texas Tech University because of the high standards of scholarship, creative activity, and research it provides and the opportunities to actively participate in all three areas.  I have continued to be challenged and inspired through my scholarly and professional exploration here at Tech.

2. What’s your favorite EALS memory?

I have to say my favorite memory is the chance of getting to meet and talk with Jane Chu at last year’s symposium.  I have been favorably impressed with the breadth of invited professionals EALS has provided for us for professional development and growth.

3. What career path are you currently interested in pursuing?

I hope to join the senior staff of a major regional theatre, likely in the development department with aspirations of becoming a managing or artistic producer/director.

James Swindell 

unnamed-8James Swindell is currently the Administrative Associate with Resonance Works | Pittsburgh, having previously worked at Ash Law Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, and the Ferguson Center for the Arts. James is also currently a student in the Master of Arts Management program at Carnegie Mellon University and a graduate of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA.  In his spare time, James is known to manage one too many fantasy sports teams and to obsess over English Bulldogs.

1. Why did you choose your current university/program?

When I visited Pittsburgh for the first time I knew that the city had stolen my heart!  The spirit of the city is very reminiscent of the blue-collar steel workers that built this city, all the while experiencing a cultural renaissance around food, technology, and the arts.  As a sports fan, I was immersed in a fan base that was very hungry for victory (even if the fans bled black and yellow and I bled red).  Most of all, I found myself a part of a community of faculty, staff, and students that valued me and my future.

2. What’s your favorite EALS memory?

This is a bit unrelated to the Symposium, but I was attending the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference in January when I met Erin Quinlan.  After some light conversation, I found out that she attended American University, knew many of the people I had met at last year’s Symposium, and was the Executive Director for the upcoming year!  We were able to keep in touch over the course of the next several months and it made the 2015 Symposium much more memorable.

3. What career path are you currently interested in pursuing?

I am particularly interested in pursuing a career at an opera company, particularly in the artistic department.  I realize that career trajectory is very specific, but I would enjoy exploring careers that align with my passions such as classical music, theater, or non-profit organizations connected with major sports franchises.

Tian Luan


Tian Luan is currently pursuing her MA in Arts Management at George Mason University after graduating with a Bachelor’s in Musicology from Beijing Normal University in her country, China. After receiving her BA, she worked in the Musical Research Center of Peking University. Over the past two years, she’s interned with the Meridian International Center, Fairfax Choral Society and Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016, where she works currently.

1. Why did you choose your current university/program?

Arts Management teaches me more than a type of art form but an expansive notion of how to produce and promote art works. This major is linked up with my career goal of initiating my own business someday. On the flip side, arts management is an emerging subject in China. I am precisely aware of my obligation to foster Chinese arts management in the future.

2. What’s your favorite EALS memory?

I ran into my internship supervisor from Meridian International Center during my first participation in EALS symposium 2014. I expressed my interest in their US-China program, and clarified my ability to work for them. Unexpectedly, I got this internship after a short phone interview.

3. What career path are you currently interested in pursuing?

I focus on the performing arts management, particularly, the arts production. I hope that I will be employed by an international arts organization, which prioritizes cultural exchange so that I can take advantage of my strengths in language and culture.

 Elena Forbes
unnamed-10Elena is currently the Development Associate for Corporate Relations at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Elena graduated from Catholic University with a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education and is currently pursuing her MA in Arts Management from George Mason University. Elena currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Emerging Arts Leaders of DC (EALDC) and is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as a Grant Advisory Panelist and Reviewer for multiple grant makers.
1. Why did you choose your current university/program?

George Mason University’s Arts Management program was of interest to me primarily due to its experienced staff and faculty. Learning from professional arts managers working in the field has given me an invaluable opportunity to get hands-on training in the functions of arts organizations in “real time”.

2. What’s your favorite EALS memory?

Not to be a copycat….but Jane Chu was pretty great. Her opening keynote had some solid takeaways and set an important example and tone for the remainder of the year (for me at least).

3. What career path are you currently interested in pursuing?

My current experience lies within fundraising, and I would like to continue to move onward and upward in that career track. Eventually, I would love to run an arts non-profit within the performing arts, but I’m keeping my options and aspirations open at the moment.