Sara Marie Arias

Sara Marie Arias.

Current Job:

  • Development Grant Writer, Foundations in North America, EARTH University, Costa Rica
  • Founder, General Manager, Crescendo Foundation, San Jose, Costa Rica

Job History:

  • Procter and Gamble, Costa Rica 2001-2003
  • Roblealto Child Care Association 2003-2006
  • Focus on the Family, Costa Rica 2007-2009
  • Comunidad el Camino, Costa Rica 2007-2014
  • EARTH University Costa Rica2013-Present
  • Crescendo Foundation 2007- Present

"My advisor really recommended UB for the quality of the school and the support they offer to their students  [...] a great relationship with the UB Arts Management Program in the past due to the quality and the curriculum."

What was your background before the UB Arts Management Program?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Major in Public Relations from the University of Costa Rica. I have worked in Communications and Fundraising for over ten years for non-profit organizations mainly in Costa Rica. I have also worked as an artist and mentor for youth over 20 years in faith-based organizations where I have focused on teaching voice and mentored youth in life skills and values. I am a vocalist and songwriter.

What made you decide to go to UB and the Arts Management Program?

I am a Fulbright Scholar from Costa Rica and my advisor really recommended UB for the quality of the school and the support they offer to their students. They also have always had a great relationship with the UB Arts Management Program in the past due to the quality and the curriculum, so they recommended that I take their offer.

What do you remember most about your time in the Program?

I remember the different field trips to different venues, the practical side to the program which really helped me to put things into perspective. I also really enjoyed our very distinguished guest speakers and professors who really helped us learn more about each side of the arts management world. I really enjoyed working alongside classmates from around the world and learning about their cultures and experiences. Also, my research for the final graduation project was one of the most important experiences for me. In my case it helped me immensely to define my current Foundation. It gave me a great perspective about the importance of community centers as vital spaces for arts and culture in at risk communities in Buffalo and helped to see the incredible role of Arts Managers in these communities and how youth really need these communal spaces in order to thrive and be exposed to arts, intergenerational knowledge and values. It also gave me the knowledge of how urban planning affects access to arts in communities and how at risk youth are affected by the current layout of facilities in our cities today. I really appreciate the guidance of my professors at the time, Laura McGough and Dr. Miriam Paeslack who are excellent assets to the program. I also really cherish all the mentoring I received from the recently retired Professor Patrick Fagan whose one on one supervision made all the difference in the world.

Describe your current job (i.e.: what do you do)?

At EARTH University, I am part of the Development and Fundraising in North America Team. I work as grant writer for major foundations in the United States and other Foundations in Europe. My duties also include donor communications, donor relations on campus, donor stewardship projects, donor events coordination and support. Also, I am a writer and editor for development projects and events with our Latin America and the Caribbean team. Because I am bilingual, I also have duties as translator in English and Spanish. As part of my event management duties, I have had to coordinate many artistic events and activities both on campus and outside of campus and coordinate artistic events with the University’s Artistic Affairs Commission. I am also the Assistant to the Director of Grants and Foundations in North America for EARTH University Foundation. Because of my background in arts and culture, I was chose to lead the MasterCard Foundation’s Intercultural Committee that seeks to promote intercultural understanding on campus in order to promote diversity and intercultural understanding among our more than 40 different cultures present on campus.

As the Founder and Manager of the Crescendo Foundation in the city of San Jose, I continue my work promoting arts among underprivileged, at-risk youth in a very poor area of San Jose called La Carpio. I have been working with them now for 6 years. I am very proud to say that 7 of the young men and women that are part of the program have graduated high school and have been accepted to College and continue their music education privately. I am looking forward to expand the scope of the Foundation and obtain further sponsorship so many other youth are able to have access to arts and higher education.

"[The Program] challenged our thinking and exposed us to different ways of thinking and scenarios from all around the world that enriched our knowledge and culture."

How did the Program help prepare you for your career?

The UB Arts Management Program was great because it opened my eyes to all the possibilities within arts management, not just the administrative side of things. It didn’t focus only on one discipline, yet it gave us a broad perspective of all the areas that are part of the arts management field. It also exposed us to the realities and challenges that we would face as arts managers and helped us to look for answers and solve the issues at hand. It also challenged our thinking and exposed us to different ways of thinking and scenarios from all around the world that enriched our knowledge and culture. It helped us to work as teams and also grow as individuals. It helped me grow as an entrepreneur but also maintain my integrity as an artist.

What advice would you give to current and/or prospective students?

To understand that the master’s program is a marvelous tool and once in a lifetime opportunity but that it will give you only an idea of what you need to do. You need to work hard, build on those ideas, and keep learning and make the best of it applying it in the workplace and creating networks and most importantly continue giving back to others and mentor fellow students to help build up future artists and managers.