Student Spotlight: Blaire Townshend

Blaire TownshendBlaire Townshend recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Specialist in English, Music, and Drama. She has an extracurricular background in both journalism and student theatre, having acted as Editor in Chief of her school newspaper and Executive Producer of a student dramatic society. She spent the past year interning in the Canadian Opera Company’s Education Department, where she helped to produce and promote operatic programming for youth audiences. Blaire’s ultimate objective is to work for musical performing arts organizations in marketing or production, in order to bring the experience of art to as wide an audience as possible.

What attracted you to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia University? I was immediately drawn to the program’s emphasis on variety and breadth of knowledge. As someone with a highly literary and theoretical undergraduate degree, I appreciated that the Arts Administration program simultaneously offers both practical and philosophical courses—thus ensuring that its students develop a range of applicable skills and methodologies. I was eager to take advantage of the more technical courses such as entertainment law and accounting, but appreciated that I would still have the opportunity to reflect on my career path in a more philosophical manner in other courses.

How are your studies helping to advance your career goals? The program has delivered on the promise of varied programming, and I am already feeling the benefits of this variety in my increased familiarity with the workings of the local art world. Having recently returned to the States from Canada, I appreciate that my knowledge of the arts in New York City is limited. However, my current coursework is encouraging me to throw myself into the local arts community, both in person and through research. By using New York as a sort of overarching case study, my classes are pointing out relevant local examples of principles we discuss in the classroom. This interactive learning model is well-suited to my academic style, and is helping me to envision the differing methods I might use to insert myself into the local art world upon graduation.

Describe student life as a member of the ARAD community. I am currently surrounded by some of the most engaged and passionate people I know. My fellow students are clearly as enthusiastic about promoting the arts as I am, and bring this enthusiasm into the classroom. On top of this, each of my peers has a unique background in the arts, and shares that perspective in class discussion. I am very happy to be in a program where students share a love of art, but express that love in differing ways, and hope to follow a variety of career paths to promote it. I can already see that my peers will be future leaders of the arts world, and am so glad to be building friendships with such inspirational people.

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