Graduating Class (Year): 2011
What you are up to now?
Since 2014, I have overseen the international grantmaking portfolio at Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, a nonprofit funding and arts service organization based in Baltimore, MD. Mid Atlantic is one of the six Regional Arts Organizations that work in tandem with public funding entities such as the State Arts Agencies and the National Endowment for the Arts to make the United States a more vibrant place for the arts.
As Program Officer, International, I currently manage the award of more than $1 million annually to support U.S. artists' performances abroad at career-changing festivals and to bring international artists to tour in communities across the United States. I am fortunate to manage programs that are artist-centric and require frequent dialogue with performing artists, agents, and presenters both domestically and internationally. I continue to learn and be humbled by the incredible talent and collaborative spirit within the industry.
What led you into arts management?
After completing a double major in theatre and Spanish, I opted to pivot and move abroad, not only to become more fluent in Spanish, but also to challenge myself and learn more about the world around me. Fast forward a few years and I found myself hungry to synthesize my skills and find my niche in the arts. The Arts Management program at UB offered an arts management program filtered through an international lens, where the focus was not on churning out administrators, but rather nurturing thinkers, creators and problem solvers.
Most memorable experience in the Program?
For my fieldwork, I collaborated with a classmate to develop a market research study with and for The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada. Our presentation of the findings analysis was attended by a large number of staff at The Shaw Festival, and resulted in a few immediate changes at the theatre, whose budget at the time was upwards of $20 million. It was an incredible opportunity with high enough stakes to make any grad student nervous. The experience sealed my desire to work in a service capacity and taught me the power of data.
What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
Sometimes it only takes one: one person, one question, one challenge, one ask, one collaborator, one risk, one failure, one success. Sometimes it only takes one to catalyze change.
Advice for current/prospective students?
I write this in May 2020, still under stay at home orders settling in to three months in a post-COVID world. It's deeply distressing to see the massive threat the coronavirus poses to the arts field, particularly the performing arts. Each day I talk to artists who aren't sure when they will be able to safely perform again together and presenters who are laying off their staffs. It's a dark time, to say the least. There is a great deal of creativity and optimism emerging simultaneously which gives me hope.
For current and prospective students, my advice at this time would be to stay nimble. Everyone is more resourceful and creative than they realize and resilience is critical. If you have to change course, that's ok. The world will never go back "to normal," and it should not be mourned. "Normal" in the United States, and in many other countries, was largely built on systemic inequities and the marginalization of many. This is a time to adapt in order to survive and create in order to build a more equitable future for all. Let's build a new normal.
The Arts Management program at UB offered an arts management program filtered through an international lens, where the focus was not on churning out administrators, but rather nurturing thinkers, creators and problem solvers.