Student Spotlight: Matt Lenzi

mlenzi200Matt is a Long Island boy and a graduate of the theatre program at the College of William and Mary. Before joining the ARAD program he worked as an actor/director/writer in the downtown theatre world. He has performed and worked in numerous theatres throughout NYC and is a founding member and the Executive Director of the Blowout Theatre Company. He currently works as the Assistant Production Manager of an orchestra that performs at Lincoln Center and works for the Public Theater on several projects including Shakespeare in the Park. He is interesting in working in management and executive leadership for non-profit theatres and is a lifelong storyteller.

What attracted you to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia University?

The diversity. I was excited about the opportunity to work with so many talented and committed arts professionals from such a wide range of interests in both arts discipline and field. From students interested in museums and galleries to students interested in the various performing arts to students interested in arts consulting firms, the eclectic array of aspirations and experiences of those in the program provide opportunities that other programs cannot. Furthermore, the Arts Administration Program provides the important lesson that the arts world really is a small community and we will all have to work together to move forward in the future.

How are your studies helping to advance your career goals?

While understanding what kind of art speaks to me and what I want to work on are important discoveries, the truth is that there is so much more to producing a piece of art than just making a piece of art. Taking classes in accounting, marketing, management, and leadership have exposed me to the real world concepts that a practicing professional will need to know, as well as exposed me to concepts and debates that are at the forefront of redefining the growing field of Arts Administration.

Describe student life as a member of the ARAD community.

The ARAD community is a lot of things. It is inspiring, it is challenging, it is intelligent, and it is rewarding. But most of all it is welcoming. Everyone comes from such different backgrounds, be it professional or personal, and the free exchange of ideas that goes on has been the most rewarding experience of going back to school. The community is engaged with each other in formal ways (guest speaking lectures, panel sessions, workshops), but in informal ways as well (happy hours, holiday parties). The fingerprints of my cohort members are all over the art community and it is truly inspiring. Most of all though, the ARAD community continues beyond school. The people in your cohort become your colleagues.

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