ARTSLine
News from Drexel's Arts Administration Graduate Program
 
                                           Spring 2015
In This Issue
Letters from the Editor and Program Directors 


 Carly Rapaport-Stein
 ArtsLine Editor

Editor's Letter

 

My grandmother, a dancer and a sculptor, held strong opinions on everything, art included. When I was a freshman in college, she took me to a series of modern art galleries on the lower east side of New York City, a few blocks from her apartment. While I looked at the exhibits with a vague non-comprehension, she walked around the galleries, studying. Her intense gaze as she charted her path around the art, leaning heavily on her cane and unwaveringly connected to the world, is imprinted in my mind's eye.

 

Later, over lunch, when I asked her what she found gripping about the art, she answered with an opinion that I've since unabashedly adopted. It isn't so much about beauty, she said, but rather, is it interesting? Does it make you think? Do you see the world differently?

 

At that moment, I did.

 

It was a comprehension of the "aha" moment, and I grasped it through a combination of the intellectual and the instinctual. I understood my grandmother's artistic "aha" moment, and, at a gut level, knew that it went beyond the artistic, that she was defining the transformative moment of change - that split second when you understand an idea, where it changes your perception of yourself or the world. The idea can be communicated through myriad media - writing, lectures, art, a class, a conversation - but the brain's lightbulb zings with a resonant pop when that change occurs.

 

My brain has been zinging nonstop since my arrival on campus, although I'm certain the "zing" has been helped by my exponentially increased consumption of coffee. Through classes, conversations, endless reading, and participation in the program-wide planning process (the much-mentioned Program Alignment and Review!), my outlook on the arts and, more broadly, on myself, has been wakened, stretched, and re-formed.

 

And so, for my final issue as the editor of ArtsLine, I decided to reflect on these past months by exploring change broadly - from "aha" moments, to transformative experiences, to forward-looking predictions. This issue contains a conversation with Michael Kaiser, thoughts on arts advocacy, the necessary changes required for music conservatories, ideas about how the arts world will change, and the changes our own students, alumni, and faculty have made as their professional lives soar.

 

I wish you a wonderful summer, and hope you'll join me in looking forward to welcoming the next editor of ArtsLine in Fall 2015!


 

Carly Rapaport-Stein

Graduate Assistant, ArtsLine

 

 


Arts Administration Faculty

Julie Hawkins,  Campus Program Director

Jean Brody, Online Program Director 
Neville Vakharia, Assistant Professor & Research Director

Andrew Zitcer, Assistant Teaching Professor & Thesis Director
Program Directors' Letter

Dear Artsline Readers:

 

Spring is always a time of change and anticipation, and we're looking forward to some exciting developments in the arts world and in our program. 

  • Our faculty, students and alumni continue to be active in advocating for the arts.  Recent and ongoing efforts locally, statewide, and nationally have seen energetic Drexel involvement, particularly including efforts to maintain funding for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, led by Julie Hawkins.  
  • Alum Maria Dietrich reports that  Emerging Arts Leaders: Philadelphia holds bi-monthly "What's Next Wednesdays" happy hours, along with field trips and cultural events. Follow them on Facebook to learn more.

Program News

A number of student awards were announced at this year's AAGA Auction, held on February 27, 2015.  

  • The 2015 winners for Best Thesis Award for theses completed in 2014 were Cara Scharf and Tom Fervoy.  Cara's thesis presents case studies of arts and healthcare programs run by four arts organizations, and Tom's thesis explores the evolving role of an organization's web presence.
  • 2015 winners of the Online Arts Administration Award for Academic Excellence are Adrienne Harding, Erika Atkins and Cristyn Johnson.  This honor is awarded each Spring term to the three online Arts Administration students with the highest GPA in the program. 
  • The Karen Murdoch Arts Administration Leadership Scholarship was awarded to Meg Wolensky. This award is given annually to a student who most closely models the qualities of leadership and promise that were important to Karen, a student in the program from 1997 to 1998. 

We anticipate changes to our program and our curriculum as one of many outcomes of this year's Program Alignment and Review (PAR).  Many thanks to all of you who have responded to surveys, participated in focus groups, and who spoke with our external reviewers. Their report to the Dean and the Provost was excellent, and also included a number of new ideas for us to consider implementing.  We have gathered and sifted through a lot of information over the past year, and are now formulating a strategic plan for the AADM programs.  Look for more information in future editions of ArtsLine! 

 

All of the AADM Faculty would particularly like to thank Carly Rapaport-Stein for her hard work and fantastic writing and organizational skills this year in support of the PAR process.  She has helped us to keep track of, and to analyze, the extensive research and numerous good ideas that have been part of this process.

 

Research and Community Engagement

Our biggest news is that we have been selected to host the 2016 conference of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, to be held here on campus June 2-4, 2016.  This international conference brings together teachers of arts administration from the U.S. and around the world.  Your Arts Admin faculty have been extremely active in this organization:  Julie Hawkins was recently elected to the AAAE Board; Jean Brody is a former board member and ran the 2009 conference; and all of your AADM faculty have presented at recent years' conferences.  Watch for more news about this and opportunities to get involved next year.

 

AADM faculty all continue to be active in research and practical work in our communities, including: 

  • Julie Hawkins' article on the thematic content of rebuttals created in the Artistic Rebuttal Project (founded and led by alum Amy Scheidegger) was selected for publication in the Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society (JAMLS)
  • Neville Vakharia was selected to present a paper at the International Conference on Arts & Cultural Management in Aix-en-Provence, France in June. He'll be presenting his research on organizational performance and knowledge-building through technology.
  • Andrew Zitcer will chair part of a design charrette for Drexel's Lindy Institute on Urban Innovation on creative placemaking along Bartram's Mile, an area of Schuylkill River coastline slated for renewal
  • Jean Brody helped to revise the Graduate Standards for the Association of Arts Administration Educators, which were recently approved by the AAAE's board and presented to the membership at the recent annual conference.

Upcoming Events

A number of special events planned during the month of May all feature trajectories of change, whether personal, professional, or societal. Please join us for these events if you can.

  • May 9 is Professional Development Day, with a focus on managing your career. Our guest facilitator for the day will be John Walp, who runs HR consulting firm Converje, and teaches the HR Management for the Arts course in the online program.  We are inviting students and alumni from Arts Administration campus and online programs, as well as Museum Leadership, and registration is available here.  Make it a day in Philadelphia and spend the evening with your fellow Dragons! 
  • On May 12, Dr. Charlotte Eyerman, Executive Director of the Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, CA will lecture on "Adventures in the Art World:  from Art History 101  to Museum Directorship." The reception is from 5:00-6:15, and the lecture follows from 6:30-7:30 in the URBN Annex
  • Also on May 12, Sarah Lutman will speak about her new report, "Like.  Link.  Share:  How Cultural Institutions are Embracing Digital Technology," funded by the Wyncote Foundation. The free event will be held at the ExCITe Center (3401 Market) from 6 pm - 7:30 pm, and will include a Q&A session moderated by Neville Vakharia. Register here!
  • Commencement will be held on Friday, June 12.  We will be holding a reception immediately following the ceremony for all graduating students in AADM, AADM Online, and Museum Leadership.  Watch for more info in the coming months!

Regards, 

Jean and Julie

 

Never Stop Learning: An Interview with Michael Kaiser, by Carly Rapaport-Stein

In February, Michael Kaiser, former President of the Kennedy Center and founder of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, came to Drexel's campus to speak with students and arts leaders about an array of arts-related topics. Before the lecture and reception, Mr. Kaiser set aside time to speak individually with students, and while speaking with me, agreed to have our conversation published in ArtsLine.


CRS: This quarter, my classmates and I have read about your focus on marketing and programming as dual drivers for organizational success. What experiences led you to those two focal points?

MK: A lot of my work is with organizations that are sick and troubled, and I was trying to figure out why they were sick or troubled. What I realized was that in most cases


Michael Kaiser

they didn't have a large enough "family." When I talk about "family," I don't mean the internal group of people. I'm talking about the people around the organization who do stuff for it or give them money, like the audience, the volunteers, the donors, and the board members, none of whom have an obligation to be part of the family. You have to woo them, you have to make them want to be a part of your organization. I've studied a lot about what makes people want to be a part of an organization or help an organization. The two things that really make them want to be part of an organization are, one, that the art is really exciting and surprising and stimulating and wonderful, and two, that the organization markets itself in a way that makes it feel exciting and fun to be a part of. That's why I focus on those two areas.


CRS: Was there a specific instance that gave you an "aha" moment of recognizing those areas?

MK: I can't say that, no. I worked for a series of troubled organizations - Kansas City Ballet, Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theater - and I would say that over a period of 10 years, this started to make sense to me. But I can't say that there was a moment or a teacher - this is a young field, arts management, and we don't have a long history of theory and study and of experimentation. It's been fun to have been a part of the early years.


Also, I have always taught, and teaching exposes what you don't know as a teacher. As I would talk to my students, I would realize what I didn't know, what didn't make sense or wasn't logical - and I'm a logical person. It forced me over time to start thinking about what was really going on - it's a very uncomfortable thing to be standing in front of a group of students and not really know what you're talking about!


CRS: I noticed that a lot of the organizations you mentioned were larger organizations. Is there a way that this can be applied to smaller organizations?

MK: The work I do is really not about the size of the organization. Sometimes, some smaller organizations might hear an example I give and feel, "well, that can't be for me because I'm so tiny." But, it's not true from my experience. The logic that I talk about applies to huge organizations and tiny organizations, and I see great examples every day of that.


CRS: Could you share an example of a small organization that was able to apply these principles and really run with them?

MK: Gosh, there are so many! I teach, literally, hundreds and hundreds of organizations every year, so it's very hard for me to pick out one or two examples. I work with a little organization in Honolulu called Pa'i that teaches and performs the hula - the serious side of hula, not the "Disney" side of hula. We've been working with them on building their donor base, their physical and staff infrastructures, and their impact.


CRS: 
Switching gears a little, you mentioned teaching a moment ago. I know that you've been at the center of the creation of the DeVos Institute for Arts Management. When you see five or ten years down the line, what's your vision for the DeVos Institute?

MK: We do four things - my vision is limited to those four things right now. One, we teach people who are in the field, practitioners, and we do that across the world in programs that are typically two years in length and have a teaching and consulting component to them. The second is that we consult for organizations that are facing challenges, usually challenges related to change. Third, we do fellowships where we bring people to us to study. And the fourth, which is the new area for us, is teaching students - those that might be undergraduates or graduate students at the university [the Institute recently moved to the University of Maryland]. We're actually now working on creating a master's program at the university, and we're also creating a MOOC (massive open online course) on arts management to be put up on Coursera, hopefully by September.

As part of that, I write a lot. I just finished another book, Curtains?, and I write a blog every week for the Huffington Post. I'm constantly challenging myself for what is the truth, what really makes a difference, and it's still a young field, so we're still learning a lot. We still make mistakes, say things that a year later, we think might be wrong - and that's the nature of learning.


CRS: I've felt that keenly this year. Being in student mode, I've absorbed a ton, and I can't begin to describe the number of shifts in thinking that I've had.

MK: And as you live through your life, you'll find more. You can never be finished learning. And certainly in this field - there's a lot we don't know, and the world is still changing, so our answers are going to change over time. Ten years ago, we weren't Tweeting or "Facebook-ing," and social media was not a "thing." Now, maybe, people have gone overboard thinking it's a panacea, which it isn't, but it's a real vehicle for us to use. The world, technology, and the way people get their entertainment and information is going to change, and all of this means that the way we intersect with people will change.


CRS: Speaking of change, what are two or three of the issues that you think are going to affect us in the next few years?

MK: Well, this is the first time in the last 150 years that we now have a generation of 20 year olds who didn't have arts education in their schooling. This is a new phenomenon, so we have to figure out what it means. The rise of technology in terms of a substitute for forms of entertainment that didn't exist ten years ago that do now - how does that affect the interests of the population to intersect with us as arts organizations? And thirdly, related but different - we now have a new form of distribution of the arts: things were initially shown through movie theaters, but I believe that it will be shown on our home computers. So what will be the impact on the mid-size arts organization that charges $50-$100 a ticket when someone can watch the Metropolitan Opera or the Royal Shakespeare Company for $5 at home, on-demand? I think that's going to have a huge impact on our arts ecology. It gives a severe advantage to the most famous artists and arts organizations, though the fact that something is on the Internet does not necessarily mean people are going to look at it. What will draw people to a particular production will be the names of the artists. If there's a production with a great famous artist, and one with a non-recognizable name, you're going to watch the famous artist. That's going to have an impact on which arts organizations are going to thrive.


There are many others, of course, but I think those three are the ones that will have a big impact.


CRS: And continuing that forward gaze, what do you look for in dynamite emerging arts leaders?

MK: Someone who's smart, passionate, creative, and has their own personal style. I don't believe there's one way of being a good arts manager or that there's one way of being a good fundraiser. I think it's about people being comfortable in their own skin, and having the capability of thinking creatively, of risking, of questioning, and of having the intelligence to do it well.


CRS: Thank you so much for your time!

MK: Absolutely. Thank you!


 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Carly Rapaport-Stein is the editor of ArtsLine and a first year graduate student in the Arts Administration program.
Insights: The Changing Arts Field


 

As a student in Professor Neville Vakharia's Arts Entrepreneurship class this quarter, my classmates and I have engaged in several passionate group discussions about trends and directions visible in the arts world. I asked Professor Vakharia and alum Larry Passmore to reflect on questions regarding change, and their responses are below.


What's the biggest change you have seen within the field in the past year?


Neville Vakharia
I think that our field is more clearly seeing the value of data-driven decision making. Arts and cultural organizations want to understand their operating environment and be more strategic in serving their missions. However, some of the common challenges from years past still remain. Many organizations are not able to collect and compile the data they need nor are they able to synthesize it into collective knowledge. Data is only useful if it serves to generate knowledge that advances organizational goals.

What's the biggest change you predict we will see over the next few years?
In the years ahead, I see the arts and cultural sector embracing the idea of knowledge-centricity, where organizations view knowledge as an asset, something to be accumulated and grown. Ultimately, a sector that is knowledge-centric is a sustainable and relevant sector. With our students entering the field as leaders, I see a bright future ahead.

-- Neville Vakharia

What are the biggest changes in the field that you have noticed in the past few years, and what changes do you predict for the future?
The biggest shift I've seen in the past few years is the roller coaster of change in funder priorities and programs - it seems like there has been more change in that regard in the last 5 years than in all of the preceding 20!  Over the past 25 years that I've worked in the grants realm for Philadelphia arts organizations, the single most notable change is the shift away from foundations offering general operating support.  Thankfully, many arts organizations in Philadelphia can still get unrestricted support from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Philadelphia Cultural Fund, but unrestricted foundation support is very hard to come by. Looking ahead, I believe this trend away from unrestricted support will continue, and we will need to be ever-vigilant to threats to cut government funding of the arts at all three levels of government.

-- Larry Passmore

Ms. Rankin Goes to Washington, by Stephanie Rankin


 

Arts Advocacy Day is the most talked about event for first year students in Drexel's Arts Administration program.  It's highlighted on Drexel's Arts Administration page, it was mentioned during my entrance interview, it was talked about at meet and greets, and it was featured in our classes.  And with a months-long lead-up like that, how could I not go? 

 

Although I may not know much about politics, I do know about art.  The arts are consistently cut, underfunded, and undervalued. But what should an advocate say, and will it make a difference? Haven't the Washington leaders heard these arguments before? Arts Advocacy Day was my chance to find out.

 


Drexel Students at Arts Advocacy Day 

The first day of the conference was long: we started out at 7am and didn't get back to our hotel until 11pm.  The day began with a jam-packed info session covering facts, figures, and positions to present to our representatives. The afternoon session, a fun and informative role-playing session demonstrating "good" asking techniques, calmed my nerves about talking to Congress members and their staff. The afternoon ended and all of the participants were bussed to the Kennedy Center for the Nancy Hanks Lecture Series. 

 

I wasn't initially excited about the lecture, but Norman Lear, the keynote speaker, was incredible and inspiring - and you can watch his awesome speech here.  We'd been out and about for 12 hours at this point, but Drexel arts administrators are super-energized, so we kept going for a few hours more to have a rewarding networking session with arts administration students from American University.

Back at the hotel, I was still a little panicked about my contribution to the next day's meetings with congressional staff. I did some research and saw that two NEA grants had been awarded to my district - and I'd participated in both of them! I now officially had things to talk about!

 

Day two started with kick off speeches from senators, representatives, NEA Chairwoman Jane Chu, and actress and Philadelphia native Holland Taylor.  After


Stephanie and Arts Advocacy Director, Cara Scarf, before meeting with Rep. Fitzpatrick

eating the most glorious breakfast quiche, I went to meet with Representative Fitzpatrick's office.  Our AAGA Advocacy Director, Cara, and Maud Lyon and Nicole Allen from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance were in the meeting with me, and it was great to have seasoned advocates to boost the ask. We started with the big ask: funding of $155 million for the NEA.  Cara and I told personal stories about the arts' impact on our lives, and I connected with an aide about Art Mobile, an NEA grant recipient.  After about 25 minutes of talking about the arts, arts education, and the impact on the economy, we shook hands and left.  I had a positive experience, and met with an interested, engaged aide - I got lucky, as others from our AAGA group met with aides who were not as engaged.

 

My takeaway: advocacy is easy!  It comes naturally to us arts lovers to speak about art and its impact on our communities, and having the numbers on art's impact is a powerful tool for advocacy. Being there and advocating for my beliefs felt important, relevant, and necessary: keeping our lawmakers informed about the arts is the only way to empower and bolster our community and influence the changes in arts funding that we want to see.  Advocacy Day got me fired up for the arts, and confident of the difference a voice can make - I'm looking forward to going to Harrisburg on May 12th to do it again!


 

Stephanie Rankin is a first year student in the Arts Administration program.


Thesis Research: Changing the Educational Standards in Music Conservatories, by Ann Marie Kawai

 

Music lessons had been a part of my life since I was very little. I'd started piano lessons at age four, and then double bass when I turned nine. During high school, I'd chosen to go to a music conservatory so that I could double major in double bass and music education.

 

When I stepped into the professional music realm after college graduation, I found major gaps between my education and the reality of all that being a professional musician entails. My performance skills were in great shape. My other skills were not. Being a professional musician requires the ability to run your musician-self as a business, and I had no relevant educational experiences to start down that entrepreneurial path.

 

Currently, there are more students obtaining performance degrees than there are actual performance jobs.  A percentage of performers who graduate will not even follow the path of a performance career, and this topic is gaining relevance as we look at college education increasingly as a steppingstone to a career path.  The question then arises: are performance degrees applicable to our modern society? Can students take their degree and transfer it to another sector or type of job if necessary?

 

In my experience, that transference is looked at skeptically. While I was trying to start my own musical career, I was also attempting to make supplemental income through entry-level jobs.  Through multiple job interviews, it became quickly apparent that my degree was lacking in the eyes of other sectors - while it exemplified my performance skills, I had little else that was considered an employable skill.

 

So how do we bridge that skills gap - the gap between what is learned in a conservatory and what is germane to our shifting world, both in becoming a modern musician and well-rounded job candidate?

 

I believe the change must stem from major changes to current music conservatory curricula, particularly in adding classes that strengthen the student as both a performer and a businessperson. While research on curricula adjustment has increased in the past few years, it is only recently being discussed and implemented in music conservatories. Many conservatories in the United States are bringing this topic to the forefront of discussion and are trying to decide what needs to be adjusted in curricula. Classes like marketing, law, accounting, and entrepreneurship would aid students immeasurably in making a career as a performer, or in finding other career paths. Curtis Institute of Music has already implemented Career Studies courses to their curricula for performance majors, which helps transition students into a professional career in the twenty-first century. I hope that these budding changes lead eventually to a larger, systemic change that is more compatible with the skills and capabilities required by students exiting school and entering the world.

 

In the future, I hope to work in a music conservatory and help our future artists reach their fullest potential, both as performers and as fully rounded, capable human beings. Through my thesis research, I hope to gain insight into curriculum development, and be a part of the changing tide surrounding educational and career needs of musicians in the twenty-first century.  


 

 Ann Marie Kawai is a first year student in the Arts Administration program.

 

 

Arts Happenings on Drexel's Campus
Drexel Performances
Philadelphia is rich with artistic and cultural activities, but so is Drexel's campus! In addition to the numerous special lectures and screenings held at the university, Westphal holds an active performance calendar. Click here for a complete listing of events or here to follow the Performing Arts at Drexel.
Student and Alumni News

 

Michele Blazer was named Vice President of External Affairs of the Independence Seaport Museum.

 

Moriah Shtull began work as the Marketing Manager of the Morgan Library & Museum.


Whitney Prendergast was selected to participate in the Getty Leadership Institute's NextGen 2015 program.

Rhonda Mauk Hudak is now the Director of Advancement for Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading and Berks County.

Jennifer Schick consulted on the 2015 Art Unleashed Exhibition at the University of the Arts, an event that helps to raise money to support the University's Promising Young Artists Scholarship Fund.

Leila Ibrahim was named Executive Director of Florence Little Theatre in Florence, SC.

Suhee You began work as a Development/Special Events Assistant at the Philadelphia Art Alliance.

Tanesha M. Ford was hired as the Visiting Services Assistant/Membership Coordinator at Philadelphia Art Alliance.

In May, Meg Wolensky will join the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a Visitor Services Associate.

We would love to share your good news! To update us over the summer with news for the Fall edition of ArtsLine, please contact Carly Rapaport-Stein.
Arts Administration Graduate Association News

The outgoing Arts Administration Graduate Association Board would like to congratulate the 2015-2016 leaders!

Starting in June, the AAGA will be led by:

Carly Rapaport-Stein, President
Hannah Rechtschaffen, Vice President
Clare Lowry, Events Director
Meg Wolensky, Advocacy Director
Dorian Volpe-Banks, Communications Director


Please look for the candidates' platforms on the AAGA website starting on Monday, May 3rd!




2014-2015 AAGA Board


Brittnie Knight
Mike Tanis

Vice President

Naima Murphy

Events Director

 

Cara Scharf

Advocacy Director

Carly Rapaport-Stein

Hannah Rechtschaffen
Leah Appleton
Clare Lowry
Suhee You

 

Drexel University Arts Administration | artsline@drexel.edu
3501 Market Street, Suite 210
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Please use the email above to send any ideas for articles or news items. ArtsLine invites alumni and students to contribute relevant articles for future issues.