The arts have been an integral part of my life. When I was eight my father gave me something that changed my life: a pair of drumsticks. Some of my best days were spent analyzing rhythms and rudiments and drumming on anything that was in front of me. From this young experience, I knew a career in the arts was possible.
After four years of high school with drumsticks in hand, I enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where I found even more opportunities in the arts including modern dance and theater. My desire however became less about being on stage and more about gathering artists and audiences around an experience of art and community. In 2020, I became Co-Festival Director for Eau Claire Jazz, Inc. This nonprofit organization runs the Eau Claire Jazz Festival, the largest student-run music festival in the world. In this position, I co-supervised a seven-member intern team and served as head liaison for the Board of Directors. Through this experience, I realized that I was passionate about arts leadership and in the Fall of 2022 found my way to the Bolz Center for Arts Administration.
During my first semester of graduate study, I became interested in the intersection of best practices in arts management and the process of planning, creating, and discovering new knowledge to advance the field. I have also begun to look at the arts through a lens of inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility. I have always believed in these principles, but I am now interested in considering how my field of study could be better and more equitable. Through my current applied learning placement with Hennepin Theatre Trust, I have been able to put this lens along with my classroom learnings into practice.
Every day the Trust works to foster community connections through the arts across Minnesota. Annually, the Trust serves more than 8,000 high school students statewide and brings nearly 600,000 people to the Hennepin Theatre District to experience art on the street and stage. Through my position as Spotlight Education Arts Management Fellow, I assist with Spotlight Showcase program planning, project management and issue management within Spotlight Education, and I track essential education program details for the Trust and its grant reporting efforts.
When I graduate in May 2023 with my graduate business degree, I would like to continue focusing on community engagement in the arts and cultural sector. My philosophy is that the work we do in the arts should be in and with the community. I want to continue doing that work and creating spaces where inclusivity, accessibility, equity, and diversity are at the center of our artmaking. I have found that pursuing the field of arts administration has been an incredible journey. The arts can be a powerful agent of community change to celebrate, create, and preserve places and stories, and to lift the people who live, work, and play in them.