Alumni Event: Mentoring as Advocacy

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Alumni and students enjoying the event. Photo courtesy of Alexis Yuen.

This February, the ARAD Alumni Committee launched a mentorship program for 2nd-year students. The goal is to build personal and professional connections that give ARAD students an advantage as they leave the program and enter the world of arts administration. Co-presented by the ARAD Alumni Committee, the ARAD Program, and Student Advocates for the Arts, the event Mentoring as Advocacy was the kick-off for the mentorship program where students, faculty, and alumni were able to meet and network.

MENTORING AS ADVOCACY: LAUNCH OF THE ARAD MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
Tuesday, February 9, 6-8:30PM
Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 E. 3rd Street, Manhattan

Current student Alyssa Yuen shares her reflection on the event here.

This event was held at the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe on the Lower East Side. As a current ARAD student myself, I know our classes keep us in our “Upper West Side/Morningside Heights” bubble, so it was a great change of scenery to head to the historic Nuyorican.  

To kick off the event, the Nuyorican’s Executive Director and ARAD alum, Daniel Gallant, serving as unofficial MC, welcomed everyone to the sacred grounds of spoken word and slam poetry. He also introduced the ARAD Alumni Committee. Next up were Student Advocates for the Arts (SAA) co-presidents, Blaire Townshend and Jade Ong. They introduced the new officers for the year and informed the crowd of SAA’s upcoming events for the semester.  Sarah Barnett, ARAD alum, was last to speak, elaborating on the newly launched Mentoring Program.

After the speakers, the guests were transported to the world of spoken word with poems by Advocate of Wordz and La Bruja (aka Caridad de la Luz). The first act, Advocate of Wordz, painted a picture of him playing with his son and having imaginary laser beams fights. The following act, La Bruja, showed us her sassy side with the piece Keep it Movin Like, that captivated us with its catchy melody and powerful message. The last act was two first year ARAD students, Blaire Townshend and Jessica Isgro, singing Get Happy/Happy Days are Here Again, immortalized by Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand. Blaire and Jessica’s a capella rendition of the song was the perfect combination of beautiful and inspirational; a great way to finish the program.

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Jessica Isgro and Blaire Townshend after their performance. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Patten.

The 40 or so guests returned to mingling and exchanging stories about their time in the program, the battle with the Masters Thesis, or goofy work stories. The Mentors left the second years with words of encouragement, reigniting their fire to finish the semester with a bang.

There are numerous people I would like to thank who made this launch of the Mentoring Program a reality. Many thanks to the Eric Oberstein and Priya Sircar, the co-chairs of the ARAD Alumni Committee, and the other members of the ARAD Alumni Committee; this event would not be able to happen without your leadership and dedication to ARAD. Also thank you to Daniel Gallant for offering the Nuyorican as our venue and helping with logistics and planning. Thanks to SAA and the two current co-presidents, Blaire Townshend and Jade Ong, for all the help with logistics and execution of the event. We would also like to thank Rosella Garcia and the TC Alumni Relations for their support to strengthen our ARAD family. Last off, many thanks to Dr. Lena, Juliana, and ARAD. Without you all, this family would not be possible, so thank you for bringing us all together. I look forward to the future when I can contribute back to the family.

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Arts Administration (ARAD) Program, Teachers College, Columbia University
For almost four decades, the Arts Administration (ARAD) program at Teachers College, Columbia University has educated the next generation of arts leaders. The program’s graduates work in diverse arts organizations around the globe. ARAD offers a comprehensive, two year, 60-credit Master’s degree informed by both research and professional practice, and it welcomes students training to work in all artistic traditions and aesthetic styles, in for the for- and non-profit sectors, both in the U.S. and abroad.

ARAD Alumni Committee
The ARAD Alumni Committee is an organization established in 2014 that encourages and nurtures a life-long bond among ARAD alumni worldwide. The Committee engages a diverse group of ARAD graduates through programs, services, and partnerships that address the professional and artistic needs and interests of its members, contributing to their success and the success of current ARAD students who will one day be ARAD alumni.

Student Advocates for the Arts
Founded in 2002 by graduate students in the Arts Administration program at Teachers College, Columbia University, Student Advocates for the Arts (SAA) engages students in hands-on lobbying, workshops on advocacy and cultural policy, and discussions on the American system for funding the arts. Today, SAA has grown to encompass multiple student groups across the country that continue the work of the original chapter members

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