AADM STUDENTS ATTEND
ARTS ADVOCACY DAY
Photo courtesy of
AAGA BOARD PRESENTS
10TH ANNUAL ART AUCTION
Photo courtesy of Yue Su
DR. JEAN BRODY
DIRECTOR OF ONLINE PROGRAM
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR & RESEARCH DIRECTOR
ASSISTANT TEACHING PROFESSOR
JOIN THE AAGA
FACULTY, STUDENT, & ALUMNI NEWS
Adjunct faculty member and first-ever graduate of the online program
was named Executive Director of the
Jennifer Schick (2012)
has co-founded PHAIR,
Philadelphia's Open Air Market held at 23rd & Market St. The market features art, food, handmade items, fashion, antiques, and more! Open Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, May 18 to November 23, 2013.
Lucy Wang (2012)
is working as an administrative secretary at
OISTAT, an international service organization for scenographers and theatre architects and technicians.
BOBBIE CHEW BIGBY
pictured above with Moustache Brother Par Par Lay, is a Drexel Arts Administration graduate student who currently is in her third quarter term of the program.
Bobbie is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2009 with a BA in Chinese Language/Literature and Anthropology. During her undergraduate studies, Bobbie's passion for understanding indigenous cultural and arts traditions and how they were being used in the tourism market led her to southwestern China where she conducted research among the ethnic Naxi community.
Following graduation, she embarked on a research/work program through the Fulbright Fellowship in Cambodia where she studied the intersection of performing arts revival and tourism in a post-conflict context. Bobbie's passion for work and research are guided by her belief that arts and culture serve as transformative tools for indigenous, refugee and post-conflict communities.
Currently, she works at Catholic Charities in serving Tulsa, Oklahoma's growing Zomi-Burmese refugee community.
Lindsay Tucker So
For general inquiries firstname.lastname@example.org
PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF
THE BARTER THEATRE
Photo courtesy of Richard Rose
From the Editor
This week, I found myself waiting to give blood at a Red Cross drive. An hour and a half after my appointment time, I was still waiting to have my finger pricked. Armed with my laptop, my flexible schedule, and a deep conviction that one day I, too, may need a dose of O negative, I was in it for the long haul. An undergrad approached me to ask how long I'd been waiting. I told him, and added that the experience had been a train wreck so far. "Well," he reproached, "they are a nonprofit. You can't really expect them to be organized."
Oh, the look I gave him. It was withering. I'd been waiting for over an hour, remember--assigned a number, asked to move twice, had questions shouted at me, assigned yet another number. And I was one of the calm ones; the people who were really pissed off were putting needles into people's arms.
"Actually," I replied, "I think I can." I left it at that, knowing that my blood pressure would (hopefully) be taken soon. I didn't tell him how their nonprofit status means that as a financial (and physical) donor and a taxpayer, I actually hold this organization to a very high standard. Particularly now that I understand all of the ways this organization is beholden to me and to millions of other taxpayers, donors, and stakeholders.
As I compile this edition of Artsline, my final as Editor, I am struck by how much I have learned in the program so far, and how much work there is yet to do in improving the sector. Give them a break, he said; lower your expectations. They are just a nonprofit.
That's an unfortunate attitude, but that's also job security, friends. It is indicative of how badly the sector needs our work. So let's ask more of ourselves and of each other as we put our minds and spirits to our work. Best of luck to all of you.
Artsline Graduate Assistant
From the Program Directors
It's hard to believe we're approaching the end of Spring term and Commencement 2013! It's been a whirlwind of a year, and we're excited to see summer arrive.
Please join us in congratulating the winners of this year's Academic Excellence Award, given this year to Rebecca Brown, Laura Daily and Sara Qureshi. This award is given each Spring term to the three students in the online program with the highest GPA. Students must have completed a minimum of 24 credits and be active students to be eligible. Congratulations, Rebecca, Laura and Sara! Rebecca lives locally in Philadelphia, and both Laura and Sara live in the Washington, DC area. They join a distinguished group of students and alums in winning this award.
This year has seen some great developments in our programs. New faculty member Andrew Zitcer is now Dr.Andrew Zitcer. Andrew's dissertation was approved March 12, and two weeks later, on March 29, his daughter Liat Bela Newberg Zitcer was born. His dissertation, "Honest Weights and Measures: Practicing Moral Consumption and Participatory Democracy in Urban Food Co-ops" is a case study of two consumer food co-ops in Philadelphia that have both undergone major changes to their structure and scale over the last 10 years. To read Andrew's dissertation, click here.
In addition, Andrew has been working on improving the Seminar through thesis process, has built the AADM Thesis Community in Bb Learn, and is shepherding close to 100 students through the thesis process in both the campus and online programs.
Assistant Professor and Research Director Neville Vakharia
has been selected to present at the International Conference on Arts & Cultural Management in Bogotá, Colombia in late June. This prestigious conference brings together researchers and social scientists from around the world to address arts management challenges from a scientific perspective. Neville will be presenting a paper titled "The Knowledge-Centric Arts Organization: Practices, Processes, and the Path Forward" which he co-wrote with alumnus Divya Janardhan (Class of 2010). Their paper explores the challenges facing small and mid-sized arts organizations in a fast-paced, data-driven society and provides new context and recommendations towards improved sustainability.
Our collaborative and community-based efforts will extend even further through a Drexel-supported research project this year. Faculty members Julie Hawkins, Neville Vakharia, and Andrew Zitcer recently received a grant through Drexel's Community Development and Research program. The project seeks to undertake a comprehensive assessment and analysis of the arts, cultural, and creative needs of Mantua and Powelton Village.
Through a collaborative and community-driven approach, this project will undertake the necessary research, analysis, and reporting required to develop arts, cultural, and creative programs and initiatives that align with the community's needs and Drexel's institutional goals. The project will culminate in the creation of a viable cultural plan that strengthens the community's ability to understand how arts, cultural, and creative enterprises and activities can serve the community's needs and ultimately improve the quality of life for its residents.
To support this work, the faculty will be engaging students as research assistants and will also be seeking a research coordinator to assist in managing certain elements of the project. The research assistant positions are part-time (10 hours per week) for 12 weeks through the summer quarter. The research coordinator position is also part-time (10 hours per week) but is for 24 weeks through the summer and fall quarters. Full descriptions and an online application for each position can be found at the following links:
Questions about these positions can be directed to Danielle Swan.
Throughout this year, Julie Hawkins and Jean Brody have been working to bring the campus and online programs closer together, coordinating course offerings and aligning the needs of students in both programs. This has included joint extra-curricular offerings such as our welcome reception this fall, a recent Faculty Retreat for faculty in both programs, and our upcoming Professional Development Day, to be held on campus this May 18. In addition, all of our full-time faculty are dipping their toes into teaching in the other program: Julie Hawkins is currently teaching Arts Administration Seminar both online and on-campus; Neville Vakharia will teach Arts Entrepreneurship online this summer; and Jean Brody will teach Leadership in the Arts on campus this summer. Andrew Zitcer continues to teach both online and campus students. We're all excited to get to know more of our combined student body, and become more familiar with teaching outside of our own personal comfort zone.
We're also excited about the addition to our department of the new Museum Leadership program. Developed by Jean Brody and an interdisciplinary Task Force of faculty from around the university, this new program will prepare museum leaders from all disciplines, including not only art museums but history, science, children's museums, zoos, aquaria, etc., including historic sites and houses. A search is currently underway for a Director for this program, and we hope that many of you will attend the classes that will be set up as part of this interview process so you can help us to select the best possible person to lead this new program. The new Museum Leadership program will build on the Arts Administration programs, as well as our existing partnership with the Academy of Natural Sciences, and create further links to our region's museums community.
Everyone should have received an invitation for Professional Development Day
, to be held this year on Saturday, May 18 from 10 am to 3 pm. This year we'll focus on networking and interviewing skills, so put this on your calendars! Please come that day with your resume and business cards, and wear clothes that are professional but also allow you to move. We guarantee you won't be warming up your chairs! Please respond to the Eventbrite invitation so we know how many people to expect. If you haven't received the invitation, please contact Lina Berardi.
We look forward to celebrating Commencement with those of you who are finishing up this term, and to a warm and rewarding summer.
Dr. Jean Brody, online program director
Julie Hawkins, campus program director
|The Moustache Brothers of Burma|
by Bobbie Chew Bigby
As the sticky twilight heat began to fade, the city streets of Mandalay turned dark rapidly. Power outages plagued this city, as well as most places throughout the country of Burma, for the majority of the day and night. The pitch black was accompanied by a steady hum of generator motors attempting to awaken the electricity. Lights along the road and in storefronts would flicker on and off with an eerie, fluorescent glow piercing the darkness.
I found myself in a place called Mandalay, a city in central Burma (also called Myanmar, located in Southeast Asia and wedged between India and China) that had served as the country's
last royal capital and now is one if its primary hubs for traditional performing arts, including puppetry, comedy troupes, dance, recited poetry and instrumental music. It was May 2010 and the country was still waiting, watching and hoping in hushed whispers about some sort of change that would transform their nation from one governed by authoritarian military rule to one attempting to resemble a democracy. The leading advocate of democracy, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, still remained under house arrest, the few visiting tourists had to remain vigilant of any pictures or videos taken, and most Burmese moved about in fear, carefully avoiding the chance that their words or actions could be interpreted by soldiers and spies as political and anti-military.
Taking a break from my work and research assignment in Cambodia, I had to be creative in how I informed my parents that this trip to neighboring Burma was not a terribly absurd, dangerous or just downright bad idea.
Amidst the darkness and generator humming, I began to hear to whispers as I sat in a chair outside of my guesthouse. Distinct voices echoed one another in hushed calls as different men called out from their cars, "Moustache Brothers... Moustache Brothers.... We'll show you the way... Anyone wanting to see the Moustache Brothers tonight?" Certain that this was the proper cue, I followed one of the voices, hopped into the back of his vehicle alongside a
Swiss couple and kept my eyes focused on the road we would be taking to get to see these Moustache Brothers.
The notorious Moustache Brothers of Burma are a comedy/performance trio that has long presented Burma's traditional arts to the small number of tourists that filter into the country. Yet this troupe is really best known for their comedy that directly pokes fun at the Burmese military government. Their fearless efforts to express criticism and hate of authoritarian rule
through jokes and performances have come with severe consequences, particularly for two of the trio members, Par Par Lay and Lu Zaw. Since 1996, these brothers have both been punished with various prison sentences and hard labor.
Nevertheless, none of these threats have stood in the way of the troupe's commitment to using comedy and performance arts as conduits for political activism, education, optimism and hope-even as they remain restricted by the government to deliver their performances from their home living room and to a strictly non-
Our vehicle pulled in front of a home illuminated by dim lights. The drivers cautioned us that they could not enter the home, but would wait for us across the street at a small tea shop and would promptly be waiting to escort us home as soon as the show ended. Ducking under a small curtain, I sat down alongside eight other tourists with our backs against the walls and waited for what was next as each person handed 10,000 kyat or around $10 US dollars to a young man making hand signs for '10' and 'money'. The trio of family members came out from their back rooms with an ancient, hand-held microphone set. Immediately, Lu Maw, the only brother who speaks English, took control as the show's MC. Brief lessons on Burmese history and jokes about the ruling military junta's incompetence were interspersed with lightning-fast dance moves and new family members that would come from the shadows fully decked in traditional garb and wearing masks. Marionette puppets tacked along the back walls suddenly came to life, dancing and flying in front of us while Lu Maw spoke of the back-breaking hard labor his brothers endured while they stood behind him modeling their handcuffs. The break-neck speed of the performance and variety of arts we were witnessing left most of my other travelers resigned to just watching in awe without using a lens to capture any of this unique evening.
In what had felt like five minutes, yet was actually about one hour and a half, the family troupe took their bows, posed for pictures with guests and quickly paired us off with our respective
drivers, each eagerly waiting at the doorway with their engines running. Seated again in the backseat of the car, my mind finally felt as though I could think again and began to process this mad evening. Another night in Mandalay became another night to witness the surreal.
Walking the Talk:
Entrepreneurialism and community focus at
Virginia's Barter Theatre
by Morgan Gengo
Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to re-acquaint myself with an arts leader I met early in my career. Richard Rose, Producing Artistic Director of the Barter Theatre
and I sat down to visit and discuss art in rural America.
The Barter Theatre was founded in 1933 and is located in the Appalachian Mountains of far southwestern Virginia. Actor and Abingdon native Robert Porterfield founded the Barter at the height of the Great Depression. Porterfield had hungry actors, and the community was hungry for a good story. The Barter is named for its unique (now defunct) practice of allowing patrons to barter for their admission. Today, Barter is the State Theatre of VA, and one of the few remaining year-round repertory theatres in the country. The theatre's unique history ingrained in the organization two critical values: community focus and entrepreneurialism. These characteristics continue to be crucial to the Barter's success.
Nobody understands this better than Producing Artistic Director Richard Rose. Raised in Wisconsin, Rick holds an MFA in Theatre Directing and Design from the University of California at Davis and a BA from St. Norbert College, DePere, Wisconsin. This, the 2012-13 season marks Rose's 20th year with the company.
Much of Rose's early experience was with theatres that were having problems. "Usually fiscal problems," Rick adds, "But the fiscal problems were always a result of lack of connection with the community."
The Barter's model, however, has been centered around serving its community base since its inception: four out of five patrons during the Depression bartered for their admission price. How's that for addressing an audience's barriers? This patron-centric economic model laid the groundwork for a revenue mix that continues to be unique in the world of theatre: Rose estimates that the 2012-13 numbers will break down to around 72% earned (yes, I said earned) and 28% contributed income.
Part of this revenue mix is built into the theatre's programming, and part of it is born out of economic realities of the community. As a year-round, true repertory theatre with two stages, a playwriting festival, theatre for young audiences, and an active touring component, the Barter has the ability to maximize earned revenue by behaving entrepreneurially. "We'll adjust quickly," says Rose, "If I've got a show that fails, it kills us. If you see the trend and you can change it, then why not?" In one such move, the theatre replaced a show called Swamp Gas and Shallow Feelings with The Glass Menagerie in its 2011 season. Rose suggested that entrepreneurial moves such as these can be a challenge for staff and board alike, but sees actions such as these thorough the lens of Barter's community: "This is an entrepreneurial area, so they understand entrepreneurial moves." Likewise, when they have a hit on their hands, Barter has the ability to extend the run, tour the show, even sell original cast recordings, taking full advantage of success when it arises.
Another unique feature of the Barter organization is Richard Rose's title: Producing Artistic Director. Richard Rose is both the artistic and the business head of the organization. This is a management structure that has been in place since Robert Porterfield founded the theatre. For that reason, Rose is only the third leader in the theatre's 77+year history. Though Porterfield was heavily invested in founding TCG, which espouses a dual model-separating the duties of Artistic and Managing Director-his own theatre has never run that way. Rose argues that while there have been some successful dual partnerships, one of the two leaders usually has the favor of the board. Rose's long tenure at Barter is evidence enough that he, at least, prefers this organizational arrangement. It should be noted, however, that he does not operate in a vacuum: Rose has extremely dedicated and brilliant people in senior artistic and administrative roles in the organization and is further supported by a large Board of Trustees.
When I turned the conversation toward the differences between organizations in rural and urban areas, a few ideas rose to the top. Barter's reliance on earned revenue, for example, is born out of necessity. "You can't identify that kind of money in this region that's going to give to the arts," Rose says. Additionally, rural arts and culture organizations have more of a mandate to collaborate with one another. In rural America, as Rose says, "All ships rise and sink together," while in an urban area, a larger population brings a larger support base, so the sector may not feel the failure of a single organization as keenly. Finally, Rose acknowledged that it may prove more difficult to maneuver as entrepreneurially in an urban area, speculating that replacing a show in your season, for example, would bring more scrutiny from the media in urban America.
Organizational charts and issues of rural economy aside, you'd be hard-pressed to argue that whatever Richard Rose and his team is doing at Barter isn't working. In his tenure, Rose has overseen capital improvements which have increased audience attendance, spearheaded a playwriting festival to further serve Barter's community, and brought the organization's brand of theatre to the international stage with touring productions. While many characteristics of the Barter organization are unique to them, the takeaways of the Barter story-adaptability and relevance to the community you serve-are core values from which any organization can benefit.
- The 10th annual Art Auction was held Friday, Feb. 22nd at the URBN Center. With donations ranging from Mummer's costumes to gift certificates and a pair of Tom's shoes with a custom design, there were plenty of reasons to bid high for the arts! The AAGA raised $5,500 for Arts Advocacy Day.
First year student Rachael Olenick was awarded the Karen Murdoch Arts Administration Leadership Scholarship for leadership and promise. Alumnae Amy Gibbs and Jordan Shue were also recognized for their exemplary Masters Theses. The event featured live entertainment by Drexel student Lucy Stone, and a special appearance by members of the Fralinger String Band. Thanks to the AAGA Board and everyone who attended and volunteered for making it another successful event!
- AAGA Board Elections: As of April 29th, elections are open for the 2013-14 Arts Administration Graduate Association Board.
Open positions: President, Vice President, Special Events Director, Advocacy Director, & Communications Director. Nominations should be sent to email@example.com. Nominations will be posted to the AAGA blog and seconds should be posted under the comments section. Nominations close May 10th at 5:00 PM. Candidates will then email platforms to firstname.lastname@example.org. Platforms will be posted to drexelaaga.com May 12th at 7:00 PM. Voting will take place from May 13th at 8:00 AM to May 17th at 5:00 PM. The new Board will be announced May 18th by 1:00 PM.
- Speaker Event: On May 2, the AAGA presented the final speaker panel of the 2012-13 academic year.
Hosted in conjunction with Emerging Arts Leaders: Philadelphia, the evening's topic was "New Models For Sustainability." AAGA Vice-president Lindsay Tucker So led the discussion, framed around the issues that have spurred the evolution of the cultural sector, and the new business models organizations are adapting as a response. The panel featured:
Alice Richardson Antonelli, Senior Consultant (Nonprofit Finance Fund)
Sara Hertz, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives (Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University)
Thaddeus Squire, Founder & Managing Director (CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia)
by Morgan Gengo
As a student who had a few years' experience in the field and is now immersed in graduate school full time, I often have to take a step back from best practices and remind myself that the concepts I'm learning in the classroom, which often seem intuitive sitting in the URBN Center, are easily (and so often) lost in translation.
It's useful, then, that the AADM program is so deliberately engaged in seeking out opportunities for students to apply classwork to real-world organizations. This quarter, on-campus students in Neville Vakharia's Strategic Planning course are getting the opportunity to take part in a planning process for a music education organization, Musicopia. The 40+ year-old organization is at the end of a three-year strategic plan, and recently took on Dancing Classrooms Philly (a national dance education franchise) as an affiliate. Consultant Diane Mataraza and Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly ED Denise Kinney are working closely with Vakharia to include students in the planning process. So far, students have attended stakeholder and board meetings, and have been invited to participate in informational conference calls with other Dancing Classrooms affiliates. The class has been broken into three teams who will end the term by presenting research on organizations similar to Musicopia, organizations similar to Dancing Classrooms Philly, and exploring possible solutions for integrating the two organizations.
Last quarter, on-campus students in Julie Hawkins' Advocacy class entered into a similar partnership with PhillyCAM. They created advocacy campaigns for the organization to use in convincing City Council to continue funding the PhillyCAM organization. As reported in the letter from the Program Directors, the department was also recently awarded a grant to complete an assessment and analysis of the arts, cultural, and creative needs of Mantua and Powelton Village. That project is slated to begin next quarter.
Experiences such as these are so important in a professional program such as ours. Especially for students who may not be working in the sector, these are not only valuable networking opportunities, but they also add invaluable real-world context to the concepts taught in the classroom.