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Is Graduate School Necessary?

So…Why graduate school?  Why Arts Management?

…are the two questions I get asked the most when people find out I’m in grad school.  The answer I really want to give is: “Well, why not?”

But if a more serious answer is needed, then I’ll be honest.  I felt stuck and I needed to find a way to move forward.  After three years with a theatre company in Minneapolis, I was in a position with little upward mobility.  If I didn’t want to have to start over in another company at an entry-level position, I needed to get an advanced degree.  My dreams for the future include high-level management in a theatre company, so sitting in a dead-end position was not for me.  Now here I am, in the middle of my first semester of grad school, facing the stacks of reading and hours of homework and silently wondering if I’ve made the right choice.  That’s normal, right?  (I’ve been told repeatedly that it is…so, I guess that’s a relief).  But really, I feel confident in the decision I’ve made.

The depth of knowledge and expertise my professors display, the vast network of alumni, and the great reputation American University’s Arts Management program has in the arts community, are just a few of the reasons this place is unbeatable.

 

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However, knowing that one perspective isn’t everything, I’ve enlisted the help of my fellow EALS committee members, as well as an alumna of the program and a prospective student, to help shed some light on the topic.

 

Do you think grad school is becoming the new standard of education?

I think a graduate degree is absolutely becoming the standard for the next generation of arts administrators. There is an increasing amount of competition for the high level positions in a successful arts organization. If that’s the kind of job you want, you have to make yourself an attractive, well educated candidate. — Amyjo Foreman ‘16

In my experience it sure seems that way. Grad school appears to be necessary in this competitive job market if one hopes to get a position which matches your level of education. I don’t know if it is because entry-level jobs are disappearing and giving way to internships and fellowships, or if the competitive job market has turned what might have once been thought of as an entry-level job into a position requiring a graduate degree.  — Pascale Rucker, prospective student

 

How has your understanding of what grad school is and its purpose in your life changed since you started?  

Before beginning grad school, I looked at the advantages of having a master’s degree mostly in metrics (ex: how many more contacts I will gain, how much potential earnings should increase, etc.).  Now I realize that for me, grad school has been so much more fulfilling qualitatively.  I found a sense of home in a new city and with a new group of friends, my perspective and knowledge is constantly growing and changing, and I have shaped and re-shaped my identity, curiosity, and tools I use to navigate everyday life.  I knew I would be changed, but not this deeply. — Erin Quinlan ‘15

At first, I really thought that grad school was just some more studying and focus of an area I’m interested in, but I realized it’s so much more. I’m surrounded by people with the same goals that I have and everyday what I want to do in life becomes more and more clear. I finally feel as though my goals are achievable and have the proper tools to achieve them. — Zenia Simpson ‘16

 

What do you think are some common misconceptions about grad school?

Some common misconceptions I find in grad school is that it is a strict continuation of how you’ve been studying throughout your life. It’s much more concentrated and in a smaller time frame. Grad school expects you to take a one sentence question and build a thesis and career out of it, whereas you’ve been able to get by on writing a 10-page paper on a 300-page book. There’s also a belief that grad school will make you employable, which, while hopefully it will, students still need to remember to build work experience and networks in their fields. And then, sometimes, it still comes down to luck. — Sarah Hewitt ‘15

A common misconception I have heard about graduate school is that it is a place to discover, more specifically, what you want to do. Although I think graduate school has a lot of room for self-discovery and exploration, students should decide to attend graduate school after they know which career path they want to take. Grad school should not be used for solely gaining experience, but learning the specifics about your desired career path. — Tori Sharbaugh ‘16

 

What led you to choose the Arts Management program at AU?

I picked AU because of the people. I met great people at the other amazing schools I looked at, but there was something about the people at American that spoke to me. The professors had more heart, and maybe more sarcasm, than the rest. The people were more like me in that they have worked a bit, they have seen the world, and they have my sense of humor. — Helene Genetos ‘16

I had been looking at all of the DC-area Arts Management programs and was very much drawn to the International Arts Certificate (given my background in Russian and interest in international cultural programs/exchanges). I liked being able to cross disciplines and that AU encouraged it. — Sarah Hewitt ‘15

My first reason for attending the AU program was because of the reputation it has amongst Arts Management programs across the country. From information I had collected, AU immediately stood out as one of the leading programs. In addition to the reputation of the professors and available opportunities, the location of Washington, D.C. was a huge draw for me. — Tori Sharbaugh ‘16

AU’s Arts Management program is well established and highly respected in the field with graduates working in leadership positions across the country. I was also particularly drawn to the experienced faculty, coursework, and endless opportunities for students to engage and learn from others in the field through symposiums, conferences and events. It also helped that the program was in Washington, which is where I wanted to further develop my career and build connections. (This answer was originally posted on Her Campus) — Erin Phillips ‘14

As an Art History major, my background is purely academic. I want to pursue a career of a more business capacity, so a graduate degree in Arts Management seems to be the ideal program. Alumni and current students speak so highly of the program at AU. I am currently seeking more information. — Pascale Rucker, prospective student

 

What do you think an arts focused grad degree gives you that a MBA doesn’t?

One of the push backs I got from people was why I was going after the MA programs instead of an MBA. Since these arguments were few and far between and coming from people who knew nothing about this field, I pretty much politely ignored their suggestions, offering a line something to effect of liking the ability to tailor my program more specifically to my needs as an arts manager. — Colleen Holroyd ‘15

An arts focused degree offers a critically important lense that an MBA or Non-profit Management degree would not.  Arts organizations are very unique beasts who present their own challenges, issues, and opportunities.  The chance to focus specifically on the inner-workings of organizations as similar to ones we will actually manage in our careers is a key element.  That is also why EALS is so great!  We focus specifically on the issues our colleagues are curious about! — Erin Quinlan ‘15

I struggled with the decision between arts management masters and an MBA. At the end of the day, I knew I wanted to work with the arts and wanted to be seen as a member of the arts community. I felt an MBA would set me apart from my colleagues and not in the way I wanted. Who knows, I could always go get one later… — Helene Genetos ‘16

 

What were some of the biggest arguments people offered to try to persuade you not to pursue an arts degree?  What made you choose to ignore them/how were they wrong?

People have a preconceived misconception that the arts aren’t profitable, you can’t make your living that way, or that arts should just be an extracurricular. Sorry, but you’re wrong, dudes! The cultural sector stimulates the economy, provides full time jobs, and can enhance the quality of life on all levels. We’re in this program because we understand that and part of our job is to help others understand that too. — Amyjo Foreman ‘16

The biggest argument I have always encountered revolves around compensation. It is no lie that arts managers do not make as much in the non-profit sector as other careers. But that is a choice I believe we all have made in order to pursue our passions (or should make sure we have made). I’d rather be ecstatic in my career and want to go to the office every day, than feel completely financially secure. My college adviser gave me this advice in a different context, but it comes down to “if you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else, than this is the career for you.” For me, that credo was enforced during the recession when I could gratefully say that I loved my job and was able to make a living, albeit a modest one, off of what I was doing. — Sarah Hewitt ‘15

The biggest argument I heard upon deciding to come to grad school was all about money.  I understand that to some, this investment seems frivolous or even useless but I had to go with my gut on this one.  It turns out that I have already gained more than I have paid for.  Yes, I have gained all the skills and knowledge I expected my tuition to cover but I can’t put a price tag on the pride, support, and confidence I will leave this program with.  This is especially important to me as a young woman arts leader as some voices discourage confidence in my education. — Erin Quinlan ‘15

 

What is your favorite thing about AU’s program?

It’s the people — students, teachers, alumni — they’re all such interesting people with brilliant ideas for the field. The location is also fantastic. There are opportunities I’ve been able to latch on to by virtue of being in the DC area. Certainly there would be other opportunities in other locations, but the things I’ve been able to do by being in this area are incredible, my job with the NCTA (Nat’l Council for the Traditional Arts) at the forefront. — Colleen Holroyd ‘15

My favorite thing about AU’s program is how interconnected we all are. With multiple active Facebook pages and blogs, I feel in constant contact with everyone in the program and am constantly learning about news in the industry, events, and even job opportunities. Even when not at AU, I run into alumni or people who hold the program in such high regard and are always asking if I know someone who needs work because people in our program are so top-notch. — Zenia Simpson ‘16

 

So… Why graduate school?  Why Arts Management?  Because we live and breathe art, it is a necessary and important part of our culture, it fulfills a place in our lives that nothing else can, and we can no longer deny the call of our passion.

 

This article was written by Jenni Amis. 

All opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the individual and do not reflect the views of American University or the Arts Management program.  

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Finding the Right Questions

Jamie McCrary is in her second year of the Arts Management Masters Program at American University. Here, she shares her experience of attending the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium on March 23, 2014. 

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending the day with my arts management peers and colleagues at the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium (EALS). Held at the American University Katzen Arts Center on Sunday, March 23, 2014, EALS is an annual gathering of arts management professionals who are committed to examining issues, trends, and innovations in the field. An entirely student-run event, the symposium was organized and coordinated by a committee of AU arts management students, a group of individuals I am lucky enough to call my classmates and my friends. EALS was the culmination of two semesters of hard work for them, which was reflected in the quantity and quality of symposium speakers, panelists, and attendees.

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As a second year in the AU arts management program, much of my coursework is currently focused on summing up and integrating the concepts I’ve learned throughout the program. EALS supported this endeavor by giving me the opportunity to examine problems and challenges different arts management fields face. Featured speakers came from a multiplicity of backgrounds, reflecting perspectives from across all arts areas and professional disciplines. This diversity encouraged me to think differently about the concepts I’ve studied, reminding me that there is not just one way to approach a problem.EALS2014-019

Though EALS is committed to finding answers to major problems in the field, I believe the symposium is also committed to finding the right questions to ask. Often times pinpointing which questions to examine leads to solutions we never considered, encouraging both collaboration and innovation in the field. How can the arts be used as a diplomatic tool in conflict resolution? What specific values are funders looking for in their grant writers? Should the arts consider business models other than the traditional non-profit structure, and, if so, what does this mean for the future of our arts organizations? These are just some of the questions raised at the symposium, and some of the questions that I continue to grapple with following the conclusion of EALS.

When I left the symposium, I felt refreshed, inspired, and thoroughly impressed—both by the speakers I heard and by my classmates who organized the event. While EALS has come and gone, I think it’s important that we realize the symposium is a beginning, not an end. EALS creates a point of entry for us to continue examining issues and finding solutions to the problems we face; and, perhaps realizing that the questions we find are just as important as the answers.

 

Home is Where the HeART is.

It starts with the satellite forms of art, the ones infused with layers of function and economic stimulus. From the minute you’re off the plane, ship, or dirigible you gape at the architecture, wriggle your nose at the new foods, and giggle at the accents. All of these things are fresh in the beginning, but are the first to fade to your new normal. You begin to accidentally imitate some words and phrases, you accumulate favourite culinary delicacies (L&P), and the buildings and streets signs once so foreign quickly become markers you plan your trips by.

Then, it’s the public art, the camera candy that inevitably becomes your Facebook profile picture much as it has for the other 862 wanderers that whipped out their iPhones and made a silly face that day. You scout them out at first, these gems you’d convinced yourself you’d never find, and check them off your bucket list. These are the Eiffel Towers, the London Eyes, and the Hollywood signs of the world. The cultural synecdoche that is as much the place as the place is it. It’s only when you’ve checked off the ones you knew before you got there that you begin to find the others. The fountains hidden in the deep of the park, the sculptures in random alleyways, and the cement quotes that decorate the city. All of these begin to create a collage on your camera roll, and they accumulate as an intangible imprint, an indescribable piece of the definition of this place.

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‘Solace In The Wind’ by Max Patte. Waterfront. Wellington. Continue reading “Home is Where the HeART is.”

Don’t Just Sit There, Get Involved!

We all love to go to our favorite theatre and watch a production, sit and listen to our favorite orchestra, or visit our favorite museum. Traditionally, a person interacted with arts organizations by sitting in the audience of a theater and viewing a performance; but is that enough? I say no way! Like me, many audience members want to get involved and interact with arts organizations in a new way.

Today we live in a world with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other social media platforms. These platforms give us a space to share our views and interact with people from around the world. As a young person in my early twenties, interaction and participation is crucial. Arts organizations are beginning to realize the importance of audience engagement and are finding new and innovative ways to engage their audiences.

Audience engagement includes a range of activities from open rehearsals, online forums, to interactive shows. Here in Washington, DC, Dog & Pony DC produced a production of The Killing Game that whole-heartedly embraced the idea of audience engagement. Audience members were able to decide important events of the play such as who survives the plague and who dies. When asked about their experience at The Killing Game, one audience member stated “We begin like stone-faced spectators; we end like the world’s most talkative flash mob”

Although the traditional way an audience views a performance is still very important, I think arts organizations should try to find new ways to engage their audience. As someone who enjoys participation, audience engagement is very important.

With audience engagement becoming more of a necessity, what are some cost effective methods of audience engagement? How are we using technology/social media to effectively engage audiences without losing the true value of the arts experience? And who do you think are some of the most successful arts organizations in terms of audience engagement right now?

To continue this discussion on the importance of audience engagement, please join us on April 7th for the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University.

Panelists for this topic will include:

JR Russ – Class Acts Arts, #thearts, Dance Place: JR Russ is a Washington, DC native who received his B.A. in Dance from UMD, and an M.A. in Arts Management from RussAmerican University. Since then he’s gone on to teach and choreograph in the area, as well as continue to perform, and even work on the administrative & production side of things. This has led to him managing digital and social media for Class Acts Arts & Dance Place, as well as joining the communications and marketing committees for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington & SpeakeasyDC. He also assist Duke Ellington School for the Arts with their social media efforts, in policy and implementation organizationally and through workshops to students on using new media professionally.

Alli Houseworth – Method 121: Alli Houseworth is the founder and chief consultant Houseworth picand strategist at Method 121. Throughout her entire career, she has brought an innovative way of thinking to her work. Often hired to manage projects and implement changes that require deep analytical and strategic thinking, coupled with highly creative ideas, Alli has drawn on her ten years of experience in the communications field to bring an extraordinarily high level of innovation to her work in both the nonprofit and commercial arts sectors. The core of the work always focuses on branding, new media, service-centric audience experiences, and leveraging the power of community. Constantly passionate about developing audiences for the theatre, Alli has established herself as an industry expert in audience engagement and social media.

Margy Waller – Topos Partnership: Margy Waller is a Senior Fellow at Toposwaller pic Partnership and former Vice-President of Research and Strategic Communications at ArtsWave. Previously she was Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, with a joint appointment in the Economic Studies and Metropolitan Policy programs. Prior to Brookings, she was Senior Advisor on domestic policy in the Clinton-Gore White House. Before joining the Administration, Margy was Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. She also served as Director of Public Policy at United Way of America, and Director of Policy Development at Public/Private Ventures in Philadelphia, and a congressional fellow in the office of U.S. Representative Eric Fingerhut (D-OH).

Doug Borwick – ArtsEngaged: Doug Borwick holds the Borwick-ColorPh.D. in Music Composition from the Eastman School of Music and is an award-winning member of ASCAP. He gained experience as an arts administrator and producer working with the Arts Council of Rochester (NY) and through founding and leading the NC Composers Alliance in the mid-1980’s. Dr. Borwick also served for nearly thirty years as Director of the Arts Management and Not-for-Profit Management Programs at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. Dr. Borwick is also a leading advocate for community engagement in the arts. He is author of Engaging Matters, a blog for ArtsJournal and author/editor of Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S.

Moderator:

Ximena Varela – American University: Ximena Varela is a researcher, educator, and consultant with more than 20 years of experience in international cultural policy, D13_292_138management practice, marketing strategy, arts management research, and sustainable development. She has worked with and advised international organizations, national and regional governments, city agencies, as well as private and nonprofit organizations in arts funding and arts policy. Currently, she chairs the Research Council of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, and has been a board member of the Latin American Institute of Museums since 2000.

Click HERE to register for EALS 2013.

Art…and the Stagnant Business of Art.

What happens when an arts organization’s business model no longer works?

Well, as with the metaphor of the shark, it must continue to move forward or it will die.

For decades, the arts organization model has remained largely unchallenged, because there was no reason to challenge it. It almost served as a microcosm of “The American Dream.” Everyone wanted to start their own organization, and the great entrepreneurial spirit in the United States created a thriving environment for this mindset. Margo Jones, one of the regional theatre pioneers in the 1950’s, supported the idea, saying “What our country needs today, theatrically speaking, is a resident professional theatre in every city with a population over one hundred thousand.”

However, as Rocco Landesman so famously said, audiences have begun to dwindle while the number of organizations continues to rise, and there should be fewer arts organizations. I am in no way saying that some organizations should just close up shop so that another can benefit. But this is definitely something to think about. There are only so many contributed dollars out there for the arts. This trend of continued marketplace crowding will eventually lead to organizations relying quite heavily on earned income to meet budget. And as I mentioned a few weeks ago, many organizations must keep prices low (affordable) in order to fulfill their missions. Put those two factors together, and it doesn’t add up to success.

But some organizations are creating their own remedy for the situation. Program partnerships between organizations with similar missions are sprouting up all over, and outright mergers are becoming less and less surprising.

Noted thought leader in organization business models, Andrew Taylor, also preaches that not every great idea warrants its own non-profit organization. (Check out his fantastic presentation on the topic HERE)

On top of that, Marilyn Struthers notes that foundations and other funders are no longer interested in funding “stability” and are now interested in funding “flexibility” in arts organizations. My own experience writing grant proposals in the past year supports this. Every proposal instruction packet specifically asked how the organization could handle changes.

We must be open to changing our thinking about the arts business model in order to continue the success of arts organizations in the US.

The New/Innovative Organization Models panel at the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University on April 7 is a fantastic opportunity to discuss what’s next for the arts business model. You can join some of the greatest leaders in the topic for an intimate conversation. Those panelists include:

Thaddeus Squire – Culture Works Greater Philadelphia: Squire has been hailed as a “visionary” voice in the contemporary arts by David Patrick Stearns of The squire picPhiladelphia Inquirer, and in 2011 was named one of Philadelphia’s top 76 “Creative Connectors” by Leadership Philadelphia. He has also received Philadelphia City Paper’s “Big Vision Issue Choice Awards ‘09” for his work as originator and producer of Hidden City Philadelphia. He is a curator, consultant, writer, and producer. In 2005, he founded Peregrine Arts, which served the fine and performing arts, and history/heritage fields with integrated creative, management, and audience engagement services. In early 2010, Mr. Squire retired the Peregrine brand to create two new organizations: Hidden City Philadelphia and CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, the latter of which will continue Peregrine’s consulting and management work.

Rachel Grossman – dog&pony DC: Grossman is a performing artist, administrator, and producer working in non-profit arts, education, and community program management grossman picin the Washington, DC area. Rachel spent two years at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company launching their “connectivity” innovation and serving as the company’s first Connectivity Director. She spent four seasons as the Director of Education & Outreach at Round House Theatre and prior to that she managed programming in the education and community programs departments at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, and CENTERSTAGE (Baltimore, MD). She was an Associate Producer for the 2010 Source Festival, focusing on Literary Management and Casting, and also spent a few years producing with eXtreme eXchange. Rachel is a former member of Referendum: Political Arts Collective, performed with DC Playback Theatre, and adjudicated with the Helen Hayes Awards. Rachel served on the Interactivity Foundation’s Arts & Society panel, exploring the arts and public policy.

Margaret Boozer – Red Dirt Studio: Boozer lives and works in the Washington, DC metro area. Her work is included in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Boozer picMuseum, The Museum of the City of New York, The US Department of State, The Wilson Building Public Art collection and in many private collections. Boozer taught for ten years at the Corcoran College of Art and Design before founding Red Dirt Studio in Mt. Rainier, MD where she directs a ceramics and sculpture seminar. Her Red Dirt Seminar is a graduate school with no grades. It’s a sculpture studio with a taste for ceramics. It’s a collective work environment with shared resources. It’s a critique group.  It’s a business-of-art incubator.  It’s an exhibition space, a workspace for visiting artists, and on random Friday afternoons, the site of spirited art discussions with interesting visitors.  At its core, Red Dirt is about what can happen with the coming-together of talented, smart and curious people, working toward greater accomplishment in their professional practice.  It’s about drawing on the resources of artistic community, and at the same time giving back.

Moderator: Andrew Taylor:  E. Andrew Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Arts Management Program at American University, exploring the intersection of arts, culture, Andrew taylorand business. An author, lecturer, and researcher on a broad range of arts management issues, Andrew has also served as a consultant to arts organizations and cultural initiatives throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Overture Center for the Arts, American Ballet Theatre, Create Austin, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. Prior to joining the AU faculty, Andrew served as Director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration in the Wisconsin School of Business for over a decade. Andrew is past president of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, and is a consulting editor both for The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society and for Artivate, a journal for arts entrepreneurship. Since July 2003, he has written a popular weblog on the business of arts and culture, “The Artful Manager,” hosted by ArtsJournal.com.

To participate in this and other fantastic panels, resgister for EALS 2013 at http://eals2013.eventbrite.com/.

Announcing the EALS 2013 Opening Plenary Speaker

Register for EALS 2013 HERE.
 

And now it is time to announce the amazing arts leader who will provide us with the EALS opening plenary address:

Karen Brooks Hopkins, President of BAM

Karen Brooks Hopkins is the president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), where she has worked since 1979. As President, Hopkins oversees the institution’s 179 full-time employees and facilities, including the 2100-seat BAM Howard Gilman Opera House and 874-seat BAM Harvey Theater, the four-theater BAM Rose Cinemas, the BAMcafé, and the BAM Fisher–opening in fall 2012.

Karen Brooks Hopkins, President of BAM Erin Trieb Photography
Karen Brooks Hopkins, President of BAM
Erin Trieb Photography

Since taking over as president of BAM in 1999, Hopkins has led the organization with stunning competency, riding the waves of financial and philanthropic ups and downs. The annual attendance has exploded, the budget has over doubled, and the organization’s endowment has almost tripled to over $80 million. She has also introduced a number of new programs. Such programs include educational programs that serve children, underprivileged teens and senior citizens. In 2004, she unveiled an $8.6 million restoration that returned the iconic BAM neo-Classical building to its former glory. Hopkins has also partnered with Robert Redford to establish the Creative Latitude Festival, which brought Sundance Film Festival winners to BAM.

In May 2004, Hopkins concluded a two-year term as the Chair of The Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), which consists of 33 prominent New York City cultural institutions. In this capacity, she also served as a member of the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and is currently a member of the Board of NYC & Company, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and New York’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Hopkins is an active member of the Performing Arts Center Consortium, a national association of performing arts centers, and served as its chair from 1994 to 1996. She was also a participant on the Advisory Committee of the Salzburg Seminar Project of Critical Issues for the Classical Performing Arts from 2000-2002 and a fellow of The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation from 2001-2002.

Hopkins has received national and international recognition for much of her work. In 2005, Hopkins received the Encore Award in Arts Management Excellence from the Arts & Business Council of New York, and chaired the Hospitality and Tourism cluster of the Initiative for a Competitive Brooklyn. In 2006, she was elected by the New York State Legislature to the Board of Regents for a term that expired in 2010.

In the spring of 1995, Hopkins served as the executive producer of the Bergman Festival, which celebrated the life and work of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. The success of the Bergman Festival earned her a medal from the Royal Dramatic Theater of Sweden–the first time the honor was awarded to anyone outside of Sweden. Additionally, in recognition of her work on behalf of the Norwegian National Ballet, Norway awarded her its King Olav Medal.

In November 2006, Hopkins was awarded the honor of Chevalier de L’Ordre des arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France, for her work supporting the French arts in the United States. Then in 2007, she was named one of the “100 Most Influencial Women in New York City Business” by Crain’s. That same year, she was appointed Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star, in recognition of her role in solidifying ties between the performing arts communities of Sweden and the United States. And in May of 2012, Hopkins was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Hopkins graduated from the University of Maryland, and received her MFA from George Washington University in Washington, DC. She also served as an adjunct professor for the Brooklyn College Program for Arts Administration for four years. Her widely read book, Successful Fundraising for Arts & Cultural Organizations, is currently available in a revised second edition through Greenwood Publishing.

For more information on BAM, click HERE.

Register for EALS 2013 HERE

Keep following the EALS blog and the EALS Facebook and Twitter pages for announcements and symposium news.

Coffee Hour Show Us Your Mug Shot

Good evening EALS, I’m here to spill the beans on our Coffee hour…

On Saturday October 20th 2012 EALS will be hosting a relaxed networking coffee hour event at Tynan Coffee and Tea see the flyer below for details. Click here to visit the Facebook event page.

THEME!!!! Do you have a favorite coffee mug? Send us your mug shot! Post your favorite coffee mug and/or story behind it to our Facebook event page. It’s a great way to get the conversation roasting.

See you there!

Opera is New

The first opera I ever saw was Carmen at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion during a dress rehearsal.  I went with hoity-toity charlatans who told me repeatedly that this was a ‘good introductory opera’ with an air of disgust for my lack of exposure to the art form.  Now, I hate that opera and everything it personally stood for (not to mention if I hear the music in another commercial I might just take up arms).  I digress, opera is meant to be shared, explored, and enjoyed with a company of feelers rather than judgers.  My first experience was less than extraordinary; yes, Milena Kitic was stunning, and yes, the spectacle was more than I imagined; but the taint of others is still palpable.

Since then, I have been to many operas during their actual runs, and enjoyed some more than others.  What sticks in my craw; however, is the lack of diversity of the audience.  As a college student who received free tickets through a generous donation to my university, my ‘kind’ was outnumbered.  The audience was a veritable sea of pink and purple hair (if you don’t know what that means, it’s the color of elder women’s hair).

The last opera I went to was over two years ago, when I was still in LA.  This time I was with a friend at Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, a far cry from Carmen.  It was exquisite.  Thus was the end of my opera going days, with Opera Pacific shuttered and difficulty in affording a ticket to the LA Opera.

My path back to the opera took an unexpected turn this weekend in the most unusual of venues with the most unusual of audiences seeing one of the greatest operas ever written.  Opera in the Outfield at National’s Stadium streamed the live performance of Don Giovanni from WNO‘s performance at the Kennedy Center.  The crowd assembled was massive, the entire outfield covered in blankets and the sweater-clad.  Up into the stadium near half the lower level was filled with people of all ages and creeds.  Children were running around or like the little one next to me, positing questions about the show to his parents.  The entire audience on a whole was a good 30-40 years or so younger on average than the crowd inside the Kennedy Center.  For once, my age group was the majority.

We were free to talk and comment, free to check our phones for everything from the score of the Orioles/Red Sox game to information on the opera itself, free to eat M&M’s and drink coffee, free to sit wherever we pleased, and free to enjoy the way we wanted to enjoy.  I didn’t have to pay for a ticket (although I would have happily paid up to $20 – it was chilly, outside, and the seats weren’t super comfy).  I’m sure thousands of others (for indeed, it was in the thousands) who attended would have paid as well; but we were not asked, nor were we solicited for donations.  Instead, we were simply expected to see and hear.

WNO brought the opera to the masses, in an old custom akin to the Opera Buffa days of Mozart.  People still love opera.  The current problem is the delivery system, but by focusing on social aspects rather than financial and puritanical artistic facets, opera succeeds.

Introducing the 2013 EALS Executive Committee

Every year the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium (EALS) is led by new group of American University Arts Management Students. This year the executive committee is made up of an exciting group of emerging arts leaders from across the nation. Their unique journeys and experiences are sure to be an asset as they prepare for the 2013 Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium.

Meet the 2013 Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium Executive Committee!:

A letter from the Chair

    As a professional actor for the better part of a decade, I had a chance to work with some wonderful arts organizations….and, unfortunately, some not so wonderful ones.  It seems that some institutions have gotten so caught up in “running the institution” that they have all but forgotten about the art and the artist.

   It is my not so private opinion that arts institutions should exist for the sole purpose of connecting the art with the community.  It was for this reason that I decided to return and earn my Master’s degree in Arts Management.

   When I was presented with the opportunity to serve on the EALS subcommittee last year, I jumped at the chance.  What better opportunity to get involved, right?  Well, I soon learned that the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium was so much more than a chance to “get involved.”  The professionals I have met, the chance to pick the minds of the thought leaders in the field of arts management, and — just as important — the chance to build relationships with other students who will be my future colleagues have all been invaluable pieces of my time with EALS.

   So it should come as no surprise that I was extremely excited to receive the appointment to Executive Chair for EALS 2013.  With the wonderful work of my fellow committee members, we are planning to have the biggest Symposium yet, and are  enthralled about our prospective speakers and panelists for the April 7 date.  We are also excited to provide young professionals and students with multiple engagement opportunities this year.

   I hope that you can make it to our events this year, and I truly look forward to meeting you.

– Steven Dawson
Executive Chair
Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium

 Steven Dawson (Executive Committee Chair)

Steven Dawson is in his final year in the arts management master’s program at American University.  After 8 successful years of performing in theatre, he has decided to hop onto the other side of the curtain.  From his time working in theatre companies in multiple states, Steven has seen the importance of good management in the arts. Specifically, Steven has seen the importance of true audience engagement and social media’s role in it, which he is studying in his capstone portfolio.

Steven joined the EALS subcommittee last year as the Auction Manager and Speaker Relations coordinator.  Through these activities, he realized the importance of EALS in the careers of young arts professionals, which fed his excitement when he was appointed the Executive Chair for EALS 2013.

Steven lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Ellie, and two pets, Pepper and Jack, and is excited to meet even more fellow emerging arts leaders in the coming months.

Katie Caruso

Katie Caruso is an emerging arts leader pursuing her MA in arts management from the American University in Washington, D.C. Most recently, Katie completed an internship working as assistant to the general manager for the Hawai’i Performing Arts Festival.  She has also enjoyed working in the Office of the Chief of Staff with the National Endowment for the Arts, administratively with the Fort Worth Community Arts Center and as company manager for the Trinity Shakespeare Festival.  Upon completing her coursework, Katie hopes to work closely with artists in an innovative and energized cross-disciplinary environment.

Jennifer Glinzak

An Arts Management Master’s Candidate at American University in Washington, D.C., Jennifer Glinzak is focused on arts education policy, implementation, and advocacy. Ms. Glinzak holds two bachelors of music in education and performance from the Conservatory of Music at Chapman University. She served as the General Manager of the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra and Irvine Young Concert Artists following completion of her degrees. Currently Ms. Glinzak is the Choral Manager at American University. She also sits on the Emerging Arts Leader Symposium Committee as Chief of Operations and is a Representative on the Graduate Student Council. Ms. Glinzak plans to continue her studies in policy to advance arts education throughout the country.

Raynel Frazier

Raynel Frazier is a talented young professional from greater Hartford, CT. She graduated from the University of Hartford in 2011 with a trombone performance degree in Jazz Studies and is currently an MA candidate for Arts Management at American University.  As a successful young musician Raynel has had the pleasure of opening for jazz masters Curtis Fuller, Randy Weston, and Hank Jones and performed with artist including Nat Reeves, Rene McLean, and Steve Davis.

Her work as a performer has added to her understanding of the arts community and is an asset to her work as an emerging arts leader. Raynel has held several jobs in the arts including, intern in the concert administration/programming department at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Administrative Assistant in the Performing Arts Division at the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Out Loud Assistant in the Arts Education Division of the National Endowment for the Arts, and co-founder/producer of the UMOJA Music Series (a seven week jazz series in Hartford, CT). In addition to being on the executive committee of EALS Raynel is currently the Jazz Programming intern at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Jazz and Symphonic Band manager at American University. Her passion for the arts has shaped her career so far and there is no limit to how far this emerging arts leader can go.

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