Spreading Cheer: ARAD Holiday Service Project 2018

The Arts Administration Program (ARAD) held its annual Holiday Service Project on December 4th. The event included a joyous performance by Spark Notes, TC’s a cappella group, and included Mari Takeda (ARAD ’20), and together we created two dozen gift bags filled with art supplies for the Art Start children and another 15 for their mothers.

This was the first year that ARAD students managed the project, and we want to extend our gratitude to, and acknowledge the hard work and creativity of, the ARAD Service Corps – Nadine Baldasare, Tia Bangura, Monica Chen, Nicole Chen, Ulrike Figueroa Vilchis, Gaosong Heu, Carolina Ide, Sarah Lamade, Sarah Leary, Sunny Leerasanthanah, Jessica Liu, Carolina Luna, Ian Prince, Yuhe Ren, Morgan Sapp, Mari Takeda, Taffe Tang, Tingjun Wang, Melissa Weisberg, Camille Weisgant, Phoebe Yin, and Megan Zhang.

Through their efforts, we received in-kind donations from Target, Paper Source, and Janoff’s Stationery for Art Start, an organization that brings arts programming to at-risk youth living in city shelters, on the streets, or surviving with parents in crisis. We also received a keyboard stand and the shoe company Bloch donated 150+ ballet shoes for the National Dance Institute, which uses dance and music to engage public school children and their communities to motivate them to strive for their personal best. We also raised $500, which will be split between the two organizations.

Tia Bangura (ARAD ’20) served on the Partnership Development Committee and was responsible for choosing arts organizations and acquiring donations. The Partnership Development Committee chose Art Start and National Dance Institute (NDI).  As Tia describes, she contacted and established a relationship with Bloch, who donated dance shoes to NDI.

“From start to finish, I communicated with both of my contacts at Bloch and NDI to make sure everything went smoothly. When it came time to deliver the donations, I felt proud knowing that this project would have a positive effect on this arts organization. I know I couldn’t accomplish as much working on my own, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to build ties among many partners to maximize our impact.”

This was an opportunity for ARAD students to manage a multi-faceted project and build their professional skills. As Tia says, “During my first semester as an ARAD student, helping organize the Holiday Service Project was a valuable out-of-the-classroom learning opportunity. Initially, I wanted to volunteer to become more familiar with my classmates and the local neighborhood. though now I feel that I’ve accomplished so much more and walked away with some experience securing in-kind donations for nonprofit organizations. The Holiday Service Project, along with the Support Structures course, only confirmed my interests in fundraising and development. I look forward to learning more about this aspect of the art world and contributing my skills and insights.”

For those who attended, thank you for taking time from your busy schedules to help us bring some holiday cheer to those in our community in need.

 

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Interview with visiting scholar Léonie Hénaut

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Over the past few months, ARAD has enjoyed the company of visiting scholar Léonie Hénaut. Hénaut is an Associate Professor at the National Center for Scientific Research, and a member of the Center for the Sociology of Organizations at Sciences Po in Paris. She is also a permanent faculty member of Science Po’s Department of Sociology. Hénaut received a BA, MA, and PhD in Sociology from University Paris 8, and her BA in Art History from the Ecole du Louvre. Her personal webpage and publications are available here.


Hénaut studies work, occupations and organizations. Her primary focus is on professionalization and organizational rationalization, and how the two processes interact with each other and transform the division of labor. During her time with ARAD, she has been working on her book project on museums in the U.S., provisionally titled “The Rise of Pluri-Professionalism: Transforming the Division of Labor in American Museums.” The book documents the shift of museums toward an increasingly diverse set of knowledge-based occupations in addition to traditional curators.

Hénaut shared more details about her work with Sunny Leerasanthanah, ARAD 19.

Read the full interview transcript below!

Continue reading “Interview with visiting scholar Léonie Hénaut”

Thesis Feature: Blaire Townshend

Minding the Gap: Targeting Millennials to Ensure the Future of Opera 

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Metropolitan Opera 1937. Photo from Wikimedia Commmons

My thesis explores supplemental operatic programming that is catered to the interests and needs of the Millennial demographic—a population that I argue is key to the survival of opera. As opera’s current audience ages out of attendance, a replacement audience is called for—and programming that encourages Millennials to engage with opera on their terms is a vital ingredient to this process of replacement.

 As an opera lover myself, I am deeply invested in the future of the art form—yet rarely see my peers represented in the audience when I attend performances. I have also attended supplemental operatic programming catered to the Millennial demographic, and have not only enjoyed these experiences myself, but have watched as people my age begin to engage with opera. This is something that I want to support and encourage, as I feel that the more that we do to introduce Millennials such as myself to these programs, the larger our numbers in future audiences will be.

My thesis is meant to act as a sort of best practices document for opera companies looking to further engage the Millennial demographic. The hope is that the research and interviews that I have compiled would serve as a resource for such efforts, and will help to shed light on the relationship between opera and young audiences.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people above and beyond the administrators that fit your requirements! I talked with someone who had been involved in the implementation of a Millennial-focused grant outside of the operatic world, and that conversation was very helpful in framing my thoughts. Cross-disciplinary discussion can be so useful, and is a nexus where we can learn a great deal about best practices. Additionally, I personally think it is important to focus on programs/organizations that are somewhat different from one another. Obviously, choosing programs that are entirely unrelated isn’t helpful, but it is in those points of difference that you can really make some headway in determining successful and unsuccessful models.

Millennials don’t always want something crazy and new! Often, they are looking for that classic, grand operatic experience—because that, in fact, is new to them. In other words, I learned not to assume that a certain demographic holds a particular interest. It is so very important to survey potential participants and audience members to determine their actual interests and needs, rather than projecting your assumptions onto them.

Opera is currently under threat—in the form of dwindling and increasingly aging audiences. Enticing a younger demographic—specifically Millennials—to become the next generation of operagoers is thus vital to the sustainability of opera as an art form. To achieve this, opera companies must look to the interests and needs of this demographic and craft their supplemental programming accordingly. Ensuring that such programming increases awareness, encourages relatability, and promotes accessibility will be key to transforming opera from a form that is often perceived as outdated to one that speaks directly to the Millennial demographic. With this in mind, what programs are opera companies implementing to attract Millennial audiences? What are the greatest challenges that administrators of these programs face? How do the administrators of these programs evaluate success? And finally, how are these programs integrated into the larger audience development initiatives of their respective companies? The answers to these questions will help to demystify opera’s current relationship with Millennial audiences and to determine where this relationship could be improved for the benefit of both Millennial operagoers and opera administrators alike.

ARAD Works: “ART MUSEUM CAPITAL PROJECTS IN NEW YORK CITY”

Having recently completed her master’s thesis, Alexis Yuen shares some insight into her topic and her writing process.

ART MUSEUM CAPITAL PROJECTS IN NEW YORK CITY: THE DUAL ROLE OF ART MUSEUMS AS ECONOMIC DRIVERS AND COMMUNITY ANCHORS

By Alexis Yuen

Alexis Yuen Thesis Photo (The Whitney)
View from the roof of The Whitney Museum

Abstract: Following the success of Guggenheim Bilbao in northern Spain, cities around the world established new cultural centers as a means of economic improvement. Meanwhile, directors of New York City art museums invested in high-budget capital projects in order to accommodate to the changing role of museums and respond to increasing international competition. In this thesis, I will provide a comprehensive critique surrounding the capital projects of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Queens Museum; and Whitney Museum of American Art. Leaders of these museums have stated serving and engaging their communities as one of their capital projects’ goals. Through examining each museum’s stipulated goals, defined communities, level of engagement with their communities in relation to their capital projects, and project outcomes, I argue that there is an overall mismatch between the stipulated goals of art museum capital projects and their project outcomes. This mismatch illustrates the widening gap between the dual role of art museums as economic drivers and community anchors. As museum directors seek to manage the multiple and often conflicting roles of art museums, I make recommendations on how they can be more strategic in their goals, realistic in their outcomes, and creative in their funding and engagement models.

What is your thesis about? A comprehensive critique surrounding decisions made by leaders of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, Queens Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art during their capital projects from 2013-2015; and how these decisions reflect on art museums’ dual roles as economic drivers and community anchors today.

What inspired you to research and write about this topic? I’ve always been fascinated by museum architecture, particularly in the way it changes the art-seeing experience for museum visitors and non-visitors. When the new Whitney first opened in 2015, I was intrigued by the museum’s stipulated goals in community engagement in Meatpacking, Chelsea, and Greenwich Village. However, I was skeptical of the project’s effectiveness and therefore began speaking to community members to get their perspectives on the Whitney’s move.

How do you hope your research will contribute to the arts administration field? I hope that as arts administrators think about museum buildings creatively, they will also push boundaries in thinking about museum programming and funding models creatively to reflect the changing role of art museums.

What advice would you give to ARAD students just beginning the process of writing their theses? Conduct preliminary interviews and share your ideas before drafting your proposals.

For access to the full paper, please contact the ARAD program at aradassistant@tc.columbia.edu.

 

ARAD Works: “Gentrification and Art in Seoul”

Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 3.10.50 AMHaving recently completed her master’s thesis, Erica Hyeyeon Chang shares some insight into her topic and her writing process.

Gentrification and Art in Seoul: the End of Neighborhood-Specific Arts Ecology
By Erica Hyeyeon Chang

What is your thesis about? My thesis is on gentrification and art in Seoul, South Korea and how arts administrators strategize around the gentrification processes.

Continue reading “ARAD Works: “Gentrification and Art in Seoul””

ARAD Works: “For the Love of Fashion”

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Cecil Beaton: A Fashion Anthology, from left to right: Vionnet, Chanel and Givenchy at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1971

Having recently completed her master’s thesis, Hannah Fagadau shares some insight into her topic and her writing process.

For the Love of Fashion: The Success of Fashion inside Today’s Museum
By Hannah Fagadau

What is your thesis about? The growing presence and increasing demand of fashion exhibitions in encyclopedic museums.

Continue reading “ARAD Works: “For the Love of Fashion””

ARAD Works: “China’s Cultural Diplomacy as the Means of Soft Power Through the Lens of the Confucius Institute”

Having recently completed her master’s thesis, Lynn Fu shares some insight into her topic and her writing process.
Lynn Fu

“China’s Cultural Diplomacy as the means of Soft Power through the lens of the Confucius Institute: A Comparative Study with the British Council and the Japan Foundation”
By Lynn Fu

What is your thesis about? China’s cultural diplomacy as the means of soft power through the lens of the Confucius Institute – a comparative study with the British Council and Japan Foundation

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Op-Ed Piece by Jessica Isgro

This is the first article in our series of short pieces written by current students in the Arts Administration Program.

IMG_1285Jessica Isgro wrote this Op-Ed as a student in Principles and Practices of Arts Administration, for an assignment on a critical issue of personal interest within the arts. It appears here in abbreviated form.

Jessica Isgro graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Bucknell University in 2015 where she majored in Music Education and minored in Creative Writing. Jessica has worked in the marketing, publicity, and editorial fields, holding internships with the West Branch Literary Magazine, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 21C Media Group, and The Princeton Festival. Most recently, she worked as a voice teacher and a freelance publicity writer.

From the desk of...option 2One of the most critical issues in the arts today is the need to find funding for music education programs in public schools. Budget cuts, financial crises, and perception of value have rendered some music education programs extinct, while others struggle to endure. Potential solutions to these issues lie in the realm of advocacy and assessment. Advocacy can allow a school’s community to vocalize the necessity of funding for music education programs while assessment can provide a statistical framework to bolster advocates’ claims, improving both funding for, and perceptions of, the arts. Continue reading “Op-Ed Piece by Jessica Isgro”

ARAD Works: “Dancing Inside the Institution: Examining Labor Rights Within Major Dance Companies”

(Taken from the NY Times: Constance Stamatiou, third from left, and other members of the Alvin Ailey company in “Festa Barocca.” Choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti, it is a suite set to familiar arias by Handel.)
(Taken from the NY Times: Constance Stamatiou, third from left, and other members of the Alvin Ailey company in “Festa Barocca.” Choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti, it is a suite set to familiar arias by Handel.)

Donald Borror, recent ARAD graduate and 2015 Management Fellow at Dunch Arts, LLC, ponders the following research questions about unionized dance companies’ impact on a dancer’s career in his masters thesis:

Many dancers believe that unionized dance companies will provide them with the most consistent work and contractual safeguards to support their pursuit of such a challenging artistic career. How do the administrative structures and procedures of these “dream companies” facilitate or frustrate the optimization of dancers’ creative capacities? How do Company Managers navigate the complex protocols of union contracts in relation to the needs of both performers and organizational leaders? How do dance professionals envision the evolution of labor relations within this sector?

Continue reading “ARAD Works: “Dancing Inside the Institution: Examining Labor Rights Within Major Dance Companies””