Music has always been a significant part of my life. From running rampant through my Dad’s CD collection at age 3 to playing shows with my band in sweaty basements as recently as last week, I’ve felt the need to stay involved with music no matter what. I started piano at age 7 and made the switch to guitar at 11. After starting guitar, I became more involved with performance, both through school and various camps I attended. Once I started high school, I became active in Madison’s local music scene, attending some of the many Do-it-yourself (DIY) venues in town. Seeing a community of artists that all had genuine interest in each other’s work was immensely inspiring. It wasn’t long before I started putting together my own events wherever I could, by any means necessary. Originally starting school as a Journalism student, I switched my major to Arts Management when Bolz Center alum Jim O’Connell from UW-Stevens Point (UWSP) gave a presentation on the program promising to teach us the business end of working in the arts while making sure we’re able to pursue our own art simultaneously.
After graduating from UWSP in Fall 2019, I became a substitute teacher for Madison Metropolitan School District. Because most places weren’t hiring due to the pandemic in 2020, I had heard from a former teacher that Madison, as well as every district in the country, was in dire need of substitutes. When things began to open back up in 2021, I decided I needed to get back into the arts as soon as possible. My band had just started practicing again and we were beginning to talk about getting shows together with other artists in the area. That summer I started State Street Jams, which produced 14 shows at UW Library Mall that summer. This experience was possibly the most fun I had as an event coordinator as I got to work with my friends to bring music back to the downtown Madison area after too long a hiatus. While these were extremely informal, we had good turnouts at each show and I realized that working on these kinds of projects is something I could turn into a career. The next summer, I started working as an Event Manager at the Overture Center for the Arts which gave me the chance to work outside of the music production field with various private events. Later that summer I got the opportunity to work with Frank Productions as a hospitality runner for their Madison venues: The Sylvee, The Orpheum Theater, Majestic, and High Noon Saloon. While I may only be working on the hospitality end of things, I’ve been able to observe my bosses at their jobs as production managers and see what goes into putting on massive-scale productions in the music industry.
I’m excited for what this year with the Bolz Center has in store for me and the opportunity to build my skills in the arts administration field. After graduation, I plan to apply what I learn here to my current independent projects to support local artists and make sure they always have the opportunity to pursue their work. Employment-wise, I’m very interested in working in development with an arts organization and emphasizing my experience as an event coordinator. I’m certain I’ll be learning a lot between now and May, not just from my classes but from the other students in the cohort as well.