Distinguished Speaker Series: Sitting Down with Hyperallergic

“Throughout the conversation, the speakers dispelled the myth of art administration being glamorous and aesthetic-driven frivolity. Rather, the founders of Hyperallergic are motivated by something more meaningful—social justice, freedom of expression, and nurturing an arts ecosystem that appeals to the average citizen.”

The ARAD program was recently featured on the Arts and Humanities website for the first Distinguished Speaker Series of the academic year. This talk, planned and facilitated by 2nd year ARAD student Meghana Karnik, featured Veken Gueyikian and Hrag Vartanian of Hyperallergic, an online arts publisher.

For the original post, please check out the Teachers College Arts and Humanities blog here.

Fall Internship Symposium Success!

ARAD students are definitely hard-working and passionate about their interests here at TC! In addition to their coursework, students take part in at least one internship during their time in the program.

This last fall, students in registered internships participated in a Symposium with a formal presentation of the internship experience. This semester-long, 320-hour commitment is set at an organization the student would like, in the visual or performing arts, or even other areas within the non-profit and for-profit sectors.The Symposium served as a platform for students to synthesize their internship engagements into a cohesive demonstration of their individual education objectives, providing a greater understanding of how the internship program enriches classroom academics and aids in professional development. Students, faculty, staff, and previous and potential internship supervisors attended and enjoyed the wonderful presentations.

Stay tuned for information about our upcoming Spring Symposium!

Holiday Party in Harlem

ARAD students, faculty, and staff came together to enjoy food, drinks, and great conversation for their annual holiday party. This year, the event took place in central Harlem, a New York neighborhood famed for its unique blend of arts, music, food, and culture. Taking advantage of this thriving arts and music scene located so close to Columbia, the party was held at Harlem Tavern, a restaurant and beer garden located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Those there were able to listen to live music while eating great food and engaging in lively discussion.

SAA Members Go To Washington

By Alyssa Foster

Current ARAD Student, Arts & Humanities Writer


On March 24th and 25th this semester five Arts Administration representatives from the Students for Arts Advocacy (SAA) group traveled together to Washington D.C. to attend the annual conference on arts rights and regulations. Hosted by Americans for the Arts, the conference known as National Arts Advocacy Day included two days of workshops and seminars on an array of topics from arts education policy to nonprofit tax benefits and charitable grant funding.

“I attended the 2014 Arts Advocacy Day as an observer and without pre-conceived expectations,” says Nana Lee, SAA member and first year MA student in the ARAD program. “The experience was eye-opening regarding advocacy preparation, training sessions and on-site advocacy improvisation.”

The conference provided an opportunity for students and current arts administrators to meet with politicians and learn the tools used by advocacy groups today. Not all of the speakers turned on their charm.

“The atmosphere of the advocates was as expected – active and sincere, but I was not satisfied with the politicians,” explains Xiaobei Jia, also an SAA member and first year ARAD student. “The advocates were friendly and devoted in the conference, but sometimes I felt they were more interested in promoting their own organizations, not advocating for the arts in a broader sense.”

On the first day of the conference, the SAA members attended a training called the Congressional Visit Role Demonstration during which the conference participants were asked to assume the role of politicians to simulate the conversations on Capitol Hill that they would facilitate with actual congressmen the following day. The following day, however, their role playing proved more substantive than the reality.

“Our team had been assigned seven congressmen,” recounts Xiaobei “only one congressman would meet us in person. . . He seemed in a hurry, so every time we spoke he showed impatience and stopped us several times. He was more interested in letting us know his achievements in advocating for the arts in New York, rather than listening to our opinions.”

The conference included a series of sessions at which key Capitol Hill staff members and high profile advocates complemented the statistical data presented with their anecdotal discussions.

“I would say the highlight was the evening at the Kennedy Center,” recalls Xiaobei. “The talks delivered by Maureen Dowd and Alec Baldwin were so interesting and witty, totally different from the daylong training.

“The most memorable session was the Legislative and Political Update,” reminisces Nana,” in which a staff member of Louise Slaughter gave an attitudinal profile and voting history analysis of the members on the hill and among the administration. The session provided behind-the-scenes information that gave the most up-to-date information.”

Since the conference was cosponsored by over 85 arts organizations from around the country, the students met with advocates from all corners of the United State which gave them a fuller perspective on the current state of arts funding and resources available.

“I feel the current state of the arts in the US now is developing on a healthy track,” says Xiaobei. “There are problems, for example, insufficient funding, not implementing art as part of the Common Core, tax issues with the artists and difficulties in cultural exchange. But I could see people are trying to solve the problems: the advocates coming from almost every state in the US, organized by Americans for the Arts, united to make their voices heard.”

“My impression is that funding for the art is deeply associated with budget appropriation and authorization,” describes Nana, “which is beyond the mere attitudinal question of being ‘supportive’ or not. It is a mixture of rather complicated political concerns, especially when the impact of any law or bill will effect more than just the arts.”

The National Arts Advocacy Day conference has given the participants fresh ideas for the future of their own SAA group, and also on how the conference itself could better serve the needs of advocates nationally.

“Very little information was provided in the conference on the methodology of how the annual asks for the Advocacy Day were formulated,” muses Nana. “As art administrators, and in the hope of becoming more effective advocates, it is important to know the mechanism behind how the asks were compiled each year. What SAA can do on a regular basis is to provide a transparent conversation channel with the Americans for the Arts before the actual Advocacy Day to provide a more comprehensive picture of the advocacy currently at work.”

“I hope our SAA group will actively reach out to make connections with other student organizations, collaborate with school departments, and even city, state, and federal-level organizations related to the arts,”says Xiaboei. “The different subcommittees of the SAA are working on this to promote our group, and try to make our voice heard.

“It was definitely a precious journey,” concludes Nana about the conference, “that gave first-hand experience on how regular, long-term dialogue and monitoring mechanisms are enabled by advocacy groups.”

“I also hope the SAA group is actively involved in the Arts Advocacy Day every year,” adds Xiaobei,” that would be a precious experience for future arts administrators.”


By Alyssa Foster

Arts & Humanities Writer

ARAD Extraordinaire: Juliana Driever

By Alyssa Foster

Current ARAD student, A&H Staff Writer


Adjunct faculty member for The City University of New York, writer, curator, and alumna of Columbia University’s Department of Art History and Archaeology, Juliana Driever has joined the staff of TC this semester as the new Internship Coordinator for the Arts Administration (ARAD) program. Most departments at TC require their students to gain experience by teaching in schools throughout the city. In comparison, ARAD students are required to spend at least one semester working within an arts organization of their choosing. Whether pursuing a development position with a philharmonic society or a marketing job at a museum, Juliana’s role is to guide the ARAD students in finding educational internships that will mutually benefit both their needs and those of the organization. Juliana’s rich experience working in commercial and nonprofit art sectors since graduating from Columbia make her an ideal counsellor for aspiring arts administrators. Especially as she continues to curate exhibitions to extend her research and passion.

Last Fall Juliana curated the “About, With & For” exhibition at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA). The exhibition held in the Mills Gallery was a highly inclusive event for the artists and visitors, and focused on the theme of social engagement by featuring participatory art: art with a practical, sometimes utilitarian purpose. Much more than a standard gallery viewing, the exhibition was accompanied by a series of performances that included the contributions of musicians, visual artists, puppeteers, builders and fixers.

This Mills Gallery exhibition tried Howard Becker’s theories on separating art from craft, while inciting a reversal of Boston’s cultural progression as outlined by Paul DiMaggio. But these tenets of arts administration were indirectly challenged to the betterment of Boston’s once highly elite Brahmin society. Juliana emphasizes that she looks beyond binaries such as the insider/outsider, or high/low-brow art, to design exhibitions that are expansive. “It’s true,” she states, “that some of the works in the exhibition might not fit the traditional ways of thinking about high-toned ‘art,’ though common everyday objects and imagery have been making their way into canonical, western art history for decades.” While not intended to challenge the community’s ideas about what should or even does constitute art, undertones alluding to the current elasticity of how art is defined echo throughout the gallery.

When asked about her creative inspiration over the two years of preparation for the BCA’s “About, With & For”, Juliana mentions that “the process of designing the programming grew out of the works themselves.” Complementary events held over the course of the exhibition, such as “Fixing Sessions with the Fixers Collective,” and “Singing Pictures with Clare Dolan” were scheduled as a means to more fully bring components of the collaborative displays to life. Encouraging community participation and collective interaction, the exhibition was successful in nurturing artistic engagement in ways that many organizations strive for yet fall short of accomplishing. Juliana firmly believes that “the job of artists, curators, and any cultural producer is to hold a mirror up to the public their work engages.” She was very pleased that the exhibition succeeded in being a true reflection of the Boston community.

As an arts administrator, Juliana describes herself as hopping “from project to project,” which can prevent anyone from being “really engrained in the cultures of the organizations that you work with.” Some administrators aspire to bond with and dedicate themselves to the mission of a single organization, whether a start-up that exemplifies their vision or an established multi-disciplinary behemoth. But getting a taste of multiple artistic organizations can enrich the professional perspective of all administrators.


– More information about Juliana’s “About, With & For” exhibition can be found in the archives of the BCA.


Distinguished Speaker Series: ARAD Reflections

By Alyssa Foster

Current ARAD student,  Arts & Humanities Writer


The Distinguished Speaker series was piloted by Dr. Lena in the Arts Administration (ARAD) program to integrate a higher level of practical experience into the research-based curriculum. Begun as a guest speaker series for the Principles and Practices course in Fall of 2013, the first round of visiting administrators included alumnae of the program such Carolyn Charpie Fagan, current Education Programs Manager at the New Victory Theatre, and executive directors such as Helene Blieberg of Ballet Hispanico.

“I feel that the Distinguished Speaker series acts as a bridge between the theoretical knowledge acquired in class and the practical experiences we brought into the program and gain from our internships,” remarks Veronica Fischmann, Masters-candidate in the ARAD program. “I also personally like the exposure to professions I may not be personally interested in but may professionally interact with in the future.”

“The Distinguished Speaker series plays an important role in connecting our cohort with the art world in New York and in creating a network with the professionals that work in that field,” agrees Pilar Riofrio, also an ARAD Masters-candidate. “Listening to their first-hand experiences, the things that worked for them, the development of their careers, the choices they made and the challenges that they have to face nowadays are great insights and references for our future careers.”

Under the coordination of Dr. Lena and now Jess Wilkinson, the ARAD Program Manager, students nominate and invite speakers of their choosing to participate in the series. “Each student who nominated a visitor worked as an ambassador during their visit,” explains Dr. Lena. “I think the correspondence and informal conversations between guests and students has resulted in the birth of quite a few mentorship relationships.”

In addition to providing opportunities to forge mentorships, the series also provides an informal atmosphere for the students to better learn the nuances of administrative life, from organization policies to comical anecdotes. The series is intended to be mutually beneficial for the speakers – a platform that venerates their diligent efforts.

“The Distinguished Speaker series offers a context where arts experts can give a presentation to our students that delves deeply into their particular arena of influence, their daily concerns, and their career trajectories,” Dr. Lena states. “I think the daily life of most arts administrators (or policy experts) is so demanding that they rarely have the opportunity to take a step back and assess their progress, personal goals, the lessons they learned (or hope to). They’re also doing amazing work, and our series is a great moment for them to celebrate their achievements.”

The series has already hosted arts administrators from a wide breadth of arts backgrounds. Last November, Ed Woodham, Director of Art in Odd Places, presented on the challenges for presenting in unconventional public spaces. Just the month before Assistant Curator at The Kitchen, Lumi Tan, visited to discuss the path which led to her career as a curator. Each new guest lends insights that speak directly to what the students long to learn.

“I learned several things from all of them,” remarks Pilar, but I particularly remember Alaine Arnott, Senior Administrator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have always seen how people in the arts are so passionate, but she showed me how that passion turns into energy and motivation to take on big challenges. This passion, with training and leadership, are key factors for having a successful career.”

Though each speaker has an idiosyncratic insight and impact, Dr. Lena has noticed several recurring factors that ignite particular interest: “Students respond enthusiastically when we talk about the nuts and bolts of administrative work,” she reflects. “I watched in amazement as our students asked Alaine Arnott (Met) eight questions in a row about administrative re-organization and task management software! But there was an equal amount of buzz when Ed Woodham (Art in Odd Places) led us in a discussion of the role of art in defining public spaces and our rights and responsibilities in using it. I’m impressed that our students get excited about philosophical and ethical questions, but also about strategy and management.”

Though the pilot series was created as a component of the first-year curriculum, the course is now open to all students. Upcoming guests include Cynthia Round, Senior Vice President of Marketing and External Relations at the Met, and Arthur Cohen, CEO at LaPlaca Cohen.

“I value the different perspectives and the insight into different roles in the field,” Veronica remarks about the breadth of Distinguished Speakers in the queue. “It gives me a fuller understanding of the landscape of the art world . . . The Speaker series is a really great augmentation to the program’s existing curriculum.”

As part of the Academic Festival this weekend, the ARAD department is hosting a panel of program alumni who will discuss the future of Arts Administration. Moderated by second year student Pearl Kermani, the panelists will discuss current practices in their organizations and stratagem for students preparing to start their careers. The panel, titled “Envisioning the Future of Arts Administration,” will be held at 3:30 PM on Saturday, April 12th, in Grace Dodge 179. We welcome the return of our alumni speakers: Morgan Arenson (’12), Daniel Gallant (’04), Vasso Giannopoulos (’11) and Eugenia Han (’12).

Also coming up soon, the ARAD program will host speakers from the Urban Bush Women (UBW) on April 30th at 5:30 PM in Russel 305! UBW is a Brooklyn-based dance company who seeks to bring the stories of the disenfranchised to light.  We hope you’ll join us!