When considering where to get my graduate degree in arts administration, I chose the Bolz Center and the University of Wisconsin for many reasons: the great admissions team, the lovely city of Madison, and the rigorous hands-on experience that the MA in Arts and Creative Enterprise Leadership offers. I knew it would be a busy semester with graduate level classes, working for an Applied Learning Placement, serving on a local nonprofit board, and consulting on an actual project, but I had no idea how exciting it would be. Case and point, I’m writing this blog post when I should be packing my bags to fly to New York City.
My Applied Learning Placement is with Write Out Loud, a musical theater songwriting contest co-founded by Tony Award nominee Taylor Louderman where I’ll be serving as the Marketing and Development Assistant. There might be nothing as surreal for a lifelong Broadway fan than listening to “One Perfect Moment” from the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Bring It On and getting an email from the person who sings it, but that’s just what happened this summer as I was moving up to Wisconsin from Louisiana. Now I’m on my way to New York to help put on the annual concert of the winners and finalists of the contest. My reaction has been very similar to the character who sings “One Perfect Moment”: “I’m not freaking out, I’m really okay. I’m totally chill or I will be someday.” I have only been working with Taylor and the team for a month, but it has already been so rewarding, especially when everyone is just as nice and welcoming as you’d hope. The Bolz Center pairs you with an organization that not only you’ll be a great fit for, but also an organization that wants you to grow as an arts administrator as much as the Center does.
Packing for New York tonight is only the second most exciting thing I’ve done today (9/22). Earlier this morning, I moderated an in-class discussion with Lauren Peterson, a fellow Badger and New York Times Best Seller who served as digital strategist and speechwriter with the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. The 2016 election was the first presidential election I was able to vote in and as a political junkie and someone who is passionate about staying well informed about all levels of politics, it was so moving to hear Lauren talk about her experiences and perspectives, especially about how you can use your arts management background to help you no matter what field you might find yourself in.
I’ve already gotten to have inspiring conversations with two people whom I immensely look up to in two wildly different career fields! And I’ve only been a Bolzie for a month! The hands-on experience you get in the Bolz Center is truly first-class. You never know whom you might get to work with next! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.