If you went back in time and told Aaron Deets four years ago that after graduating with a BFA in Musical Theatre & Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, he would be enrolled in graduate studies at the Wisconsin School of Business, I think he would look confused. “What happened to the plan??”
I’ve been a planner my whole life, always thinking ten steps ahead. When the Covid-19 pandemic started, I was in the middle of my junior year at UWSP. I still had the tunnel vision dream of moving to NYC after graduation and being on Broadway. While that dream is still very much alive in me, I’ve been discovering the business side of the arts and where I fit into that picture. The good thing with dreams is that they can grow and change, which is a good thing because otherwise, I’d still be trying to be a dolphin trainer like I thought I wanted when I was a child.
What I’ve discovered this year already is that I don’t have just one dream. I’ve always used the term artist when describing what I do because I feel it’s an all-encompassing term for being a singer, dancer, actor, etc. That’s why the Bolz Center’s Master of Arts-Business: Arts and Creative Enterprise Leadership program resonated with me when I first discovered it. It’s a place where I don’t have to fit into a box and just become a performer. Instead, the Bolz Center truly fosters a place where multipotentialites like myself can thrive, bridging my desire to stay in the arts while also allowing me to leverage my love of excel spreadsheets and business operations.
Now a month into the academic year, every day confirms that I am in the right place. I’ve always approached the business of “the business” like a business. I never wanted to fulfill the stereotype of the starving artist, and this year I’m gaining those skills to become a more business-savvy individual. Every day whether I’m in the classroom, in a meeting, or working at my applied learning placement with the UW Community Arts Collaboratory, I’m developing the skills, experience, and connections to make my goals and aspirations a reality.
This year’s bonus is that come May 2022, I’ll be able to say that I earned a master’s degree from the Wisconsin School of Business Bolz Center for Arts Administration. I think my 19 year old self would be proudly surprised.