I posted my first blog as a Bolzie nine months ago, in September 2018. In it, I spoke about my transition from Colorado to Wisconsin to begin my graduate degree and shared my experience working with the Wisconsin Historical Society and Circus World Museum on an archival project that summer. Now, to bookend my action-packed first year as a Wisconsin MBA, I would like to share some of my insights and my growth over the last year.
Over the past two semesters, I experienced many firsts and discovered a multitude of new vectors of knowledge and opportunity. I took my first business classes (ever) and – despite initial nervousness – found the transition from the arts and humanities to the world of business relatively smooth. I was helped along the way by incredibly supportive faculty and staff, and thanks to the collaborative nature of our program have made friendships with classmates from different specializations, many of which I hope will last a lifetime.
Now that my first year as an MBA has come to a close, I find myself in Minneapolis interning at the Hennepin Theatre Trust. This dynamic arts organization is the keystone of the historic Hennepin Theatre District, which is currently undergoing a period of transformation and revitalization. The City of Minneapolis Department of Public Works has a “building face to building face”, three-year reconstruction of Hennepin Avenue underway. This upheaval along the city’s celebrated cultural corridor represents a valuable opportunity for the Trust to use its leadership position in the district to guide the redesign of the avenue and ensure the cultural and economic vitality of the district for its community partners, hospitality partners, and the citizens and government of Minneapolis.
So far, my internship is shaping up to be the perfect embodiment of the Bolz Center education – combining the business skills I have been acquiring at WSB with the arts and cultural work I care passionately about. Officially, my role at the Hennepin Theatre Trust is Graduate Research Intern in the Trust’s Public Art and Placemaking Department. My work primarily concerns the theatre district reconstruction and the Trust’s response to this transition period. One of the main projects I am undertaking is an economic impact analysis of the Trust’s effect on the business ecology of the theatre district. Bringing me full circle to my work from last summer, I am also working to synthesize archival materials gathered over the last two years about the history of Hennepin Ave. Hopefully, the resulting confluence of data-centric analysis and historical narrative will illustrate from all angles the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s legacy and its indispensable role in the district.
Although I have only been working at the Trust for two weeks now, I can already tell that this is going to be a remarkable opportunity for growth and professional development. Every opportunity is what you make of it, and I am here to make the most of my time in Minneapolis. I am surrounded and supported by arts professionals ready to share their knowledge, including the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s CEO and President Mark Nerenhausen, both an alumnus of the Bolz Center and a member of the advisory board. I plan to take full advantage of this support and look forward to seeing where the rest of this summer takes me.