Meet Nigel Finley, ARAD’s new Program Associate

ARAD is delighted to welcome Nigel Finley as our new Program Associate. Learn more about Nigel, his goals for his new role, and what he does outside of TC.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What was your undergraduate degree focused on?

I am originally from South Orange, New Jersey and graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. I earned my undergraduate degree at Rider University in Arts Administration with a theatre emphasis. 

What previous experiences have led you to your current role? 

Prior to Columbia University, I have worked at a multitude of arts and cultural institutions including the Harlem School of the Arts, State Theatre New Jersey, Artworks Trenton, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. In my most recent role as the Development Associate of the Harlem School of the Arts, I was a primary administrative support and frontline fundraiser working directly with senior staff to implement institutional fundraising strategy and goals.

How have those experiences informed your current professional path?

I actually originally entered my college career as a musical theatre major, however, after taking an Intro to Arts Administration class my freshman year, I decided I wanted to broaden my focus and learn how to make an impact both on and off the stage. In that class that I realized how entrenched my life had been in arts and cultural nonprofits and their essential influence on my educational growth. If it wasn’t for the many arts advocates, teachers, and particularly fundraisers in my community working to create access and diverse programming, than I would have missed out on a multitude of formative experiences. For that, I have found a passion for the support and advocacy of arts institutions and their programming.

What are you looking forward to in taking on this role?

I am most excited to be back in a collegiate setting! I think there is something special about the campus atmosphere that sparks inspiration, curiosity, and then discovery. I am excited to be a part of stewarding that experience for the current students at TC’s Arts Administration program. 

What do you do outside of your time at TC?

My interests span from walks in nature or reading random psychology articles, to creating an art piece or performing on stage. However, a large labor of love has been my participation as a founding team member of Aurway Repertory Theatre. Aurway is a network of emerging and professional ARTISTs based out of Newark, NJ, dedicated to the pursuit, presentation, and creation of culturally relevant art through the lens of black and brown people. Through community partnerships, educational workshops, and public performances we create a space for artists and viewers alike to engage in a dialogue on pressing social issues while experiencing an unconventional approach to artmaking and theatrical performance. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube!

Nigel Finley is a Harlem-based artist and arts administrator with a background in fundraising and marketing for major NYC and NJ arts and cultural organizations including the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA), State Theatre NJ, Artworks Trenton, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). He is also a founding team member at Aurway Inc., a Newark-based repertory theatre company. Nigel graduated from Rider University with a B.A. in Arts Administration with a Theatre emphasis.

Meet Joanna Calhoun, ARAD’s new Social Media Coordinator

ARAD is delighted to welcome Joanna Calhoun (ARAD ’23) as our new Social Media Manager. Learn more about Joanna, her goals for her new role, and what she does outside of TC.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What was your undergraduate degree focused on?

I am from West Monroe, Louisiana and I earned my undergraduate degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Composition and a Minor in Business Management.

What previous experiences have led you to your current role?

At Tulane University, I took classes in performing arts, visual arts, and business management, and I desired to pursue a career path that allowed me to combine all of these passions. During my undergraduate career, I worked with several arts organizations in Louisiana such as the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, Make Music NOLA, the New Orleans Jazz Museum, and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Each one of these roles helped me discover my love for arts administration and social media management.

How have those experiences informed your current professional path?

During my internships, I gained experience in writing blog posts and articles, conducting interviews, photographing events, creating digital content, and managing social media. I believe these experiences have properly prepared me for the position of Social Media Coordinator. I look forward to further developing my current skills as I am interested in pursuing a career in management, marketing, and social media at an arts organization when I graduate.

What are you looking forward to in taking on this role?

As an incoming student to the ARAD Program, I am very excited to get to know my cohort and collaborate with faculty, staff, and alumni! I am looking forward to using my experience and knowledge towards promoting and strengthening the ARAD program and community.

What do you do outside of your time at TC?

I have been a musician my entire life, and my primary instrument is the violin. You can most often find me playing the violin whether it be as a soloist, in a band, or in a symphony orchestra. My other hobbies include drawing and painting, thrifting, and photography. I also love exploring the city and going to new restaurants, museums, and concerts!

Joanna Calhoun is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Arts Administration at Teachers College, Columbia University. She graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2021 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Composition and a minor in Business Management. At Tulane University, she was a classical violinist in the Tulane Symphony Orchestra throughout all her semesters. Joanna’s professional interests center around marketing, communications, social media management, event programming, and arts education.

Lonnie Woods III on Transitioning to Faculty Position Leading ARAD’s Practicum in Arts Administration and Internship Courses

ARAD’s beloved Professional Development Coordinator, Lonnie Woods III, is transitioning to a new and exciting faculty position leading the Practicum in Arts Administration and then the Internship course. We spoke to Lonnie about the Practicum class that first-year ARAD students will be taking with him, including his vision for the course and the lessons he’d like students to walk away with. You can also learn more about Lonnie here!

What makes you passionate about professional development? 

Believe it or not, editing resumes for myself and my friends in college sparked my love for professional development. As a trained visual artist, I see constructive critique, creating, editing and formatting as an artform; those same principles apply to professional development. I am passionate about professional development because so much of it is about discovering who you are and making room for new versions of yourself. The professional work that we do is often a reflection of who we are (at least I think it should be that way). Each time we make a career change, we are making a life change, which translates to this exciting opportunity to curate and repackage yourself. I find the repackaging process exhilarating but I realize that it makes many people nervous. I get to be the person who helps students to calm those nerves and put their dreams into a plan.

What can students expect from the 8-session practicum they’ll be taking with you in their first semester of the program?

Students can expect to learn the tools and resources needed to create and execute a personal career plan in the arts. Students can expect to learn about essential career related topics such as professional relationship building, negotiation, job search techniques, personal branding, and career options within the arts field.

How does your class dovetail with the internship component of the ARAD curriculum?

In this course, students apply what they learn in their other ARAD courses to their individual career goals. Practicum in Arts Administration will prepare students for the internship search and hiring process as well as give them the tools and resources needed to equip and empower them to choose the internship and career path that will best align with their goals. 

What are you most looking forward to in starting this position?

I am looking forward to meeting the new students! The main reason that I work in academia is because I genuinely enjoy supporting students. I also look forward to sharing space with the future generation of folks who will go on to impact the arts industry in a powerful way. I look forward to helping students streamline their visions and dreams into a plan that they can execute and update throughout their time in the program and beyond.

What are the biggest lessons you’d like students to take away from your class?

  1. Choose collaboration over competition; network across as well as up. Your success does not always surround your ability to climb the ladder. Your success partner may be sitting right next to you in class.
  2. Your career plan is your own. You have the ability to edit, re-write or completely change your career story at any given time.

BIO

Professor Lonnie Woods III is a student affairs administrator, educator, and professional development practitioner whose research examines the career competencies of college students studying arts related majors. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Fine Art Photography from Towson University and a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from New York University (NYU).  Lonnie serves as an Arts Career Consultant, College Readiness Specialist and Teaching Artist  and has collaborated with world renowned arts organizations such as: The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Whitney Museum of American Art, The Smithsonian Museum of American History, The Studio Museum of Harlem and Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Catching Up With Alums Megan Zhang (ARAD ‘20) and Mari Takeda (ARAD ‘20)

Megan Zhang (ARAD ‘20) and Mari Takeda (ARAD ‘20) are recent TC graduates. Megan is currently the Administrative Manager at Juilliard Preparatory Division, and Mari Takeda is currently the Donor Relationships Manager at Baltimore Center Stage. For this blog, they caught up with each other on what they’ve been up to since graduation. 

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Meet Melissa Weisberg, ARAD’s New Social Media Manager

ARAD is delighted to welcome Melissa Weisberg (ARAD ’20) as our new Social Media Manager. Learn more about Melissa, her goals for her new role, and what she’s been up to since graduation.

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Alumni Spotlight on Nicole Chen: Post Sale Administrator at Sotheby’s

Nicole Chen (ARAD ’20) currently is a Post Sale Administrator at Sotheby’s. As a recent graduate, we spoke with Nicole about her experience in the ARAD program and starting a new position in the midst of the pandemic. 

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Internship Spotlight: Natalie Burrows

Last Spring, -ARAD student Natalie Burrows (ARAD ’21) completed an internship with the Metropolitan Opera in the Artistic Department. Specifically, she worked with the National Council Auditions, one of the world’s foremost opera competitions designed to discover and develop promising young opera singers on the precipice of their careers. We spoke with Natalie about her experience and the transition from in-person to virtual work.

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Love in Quarantine: A web series amid the Pandemic

How is the landscape of love changing now that we’re all trapped in our bedrooms? “Love In Quarantine” is a six-episode web series that follows the story of Susie and Jon, a new couple that decides to quarantine together rather than risk their nascent relationship. The result: an entertaining recount of how self-isolating proves difficult in the age of social media. We interviewed ARAD student Richard Mayer, who plays Jon, to learn more about his experience being part of this project.

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Meet ARAD’s Social Coordinator, Liliana Guerrero


Liliana Guerrero Delgado studied Business Administration at Los Andes University in Bogotá Colombia. After graduation, Liliana worked as a research assistant in the university and later joined the Alternative Contents division in Cine Colombia, her country’s largest cinema exhibitor and distributor. In this role, she distributed live events in cinemas such as New York’s Metropolitan Opera, London’s National Theatre productions and Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet amongst others. Liliana aims to work in the public sector in order to promote the strengthening of artistic endeavors by demonstrating the socioeconomic impact of this industry, making the cultural sector a key-contributor to Colombia’s development.

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