Microgrant Recipient Sarah Lamade (ARAD ’20) Shares her Reflections and Lessons from the All-India Museum Summit 2019

Second year MA student Sarah Lamade (ARAD ’20) at the Teachers College (TC), Columbia University received a microgrant this past summer. She attended the All-India Museum Summit in 2019. Sarah shares her experience with us here:


Above: Sarah Lamade, this past summer in India.

I would first like to thank the ARAD department for granting me my second microgrant for professional development. I am grateful for this experience, and the juxtaposition between this conference and the conference I attended last year. I start with this not only out of gratitude, but also to position the conference I attended with this grant in stark contrast to the conference I attended with the microgrant I received last fall. This July, while I was conducting research in India for my Master’s Capstone Project, I attended the All-India Museums Summit 2019: India’s Museums in the New Millennium, held in New Delhi. Sponsored by the American Institute for Indian Studies and the United States Embassy, in partnership with the Indian Ministry of Culture, the conference was overwhelming guided by the bureaucratic structures of government institutions. On the other hand, CULTURE/SHIFT, the biennial conference of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, a grassroots activist organization, was participative, inclusive, and welcoming. While CULTURE/SHIFT centered around collaborative problem-solving, the Museum Summit centered around top-down sharing of best practices from already well-known success stories.

Continue reading “Microgrant Recipient Sarah Lamade (ARAD ’20) Shares her Reflections and Lessons from the All-India Museum Summit 2019”

Following Up with Spring 2019 Microgrant Winner, Gaosong Heu

Following Up with Spring 2019 Microgrant Winner, Gaosong Heu


                                            (Gaosong Heu taking notes during her layover in Portland, OR). 

Gaosong Heu is a Hmong American performance artist, published writer, arts educator, arts administrator and scholar of Hmong performance practices. She is a second year Master’s student in the Arts Administration (ARAD) program at Teachers College (TC), Columbia University. Her current studies are primarily focused on diversity within leadership, programming and evaluation in arts organizations. Gaosong’s work and career aspirations are informed by her passion for the arts, equity, access and social justice. In the future, she hopes to go back to get her Ph.D in Anthropology, American Studies, Feminist Studies or Music Ethnography with a focus on Hmong-American performance practices.

Continue reading “Following Up with Spring 2019 Microgrant Winner, Gaosong Heu”

Sarah Lamade, Fall 2018 Microgrant Recipient, reflects on the lessons learned during the CULTURE/SHIFT conference

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Funding from the ARAD Microgrant helped Sarah Lamade attend CULTURE/SHIFT, a conference for activists hosted by the U.S. Department of Art and Culture. Sarah shares the lessons learned and key takeaways from her experience.




Continue reading “Sarah Lamade, Fall 2018 Microgrant Recipient, reflects on the lessons learned during the CULTURE/SHIFT conference”

An Exciting Fall with ARAD Microgrant Recipient Student Advocates for the Arts

By Carolina Cambronero Varela

Student Advocates for the Arts (SAA), a Teachers College organization founded by Arts Administration students, brought together a number of partners for programming on campus this fall. Their partners included New York University’s Advocates for Cultural Engagement, Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE), Emerging Leaders of New York Arts, Friends of Japan, Global Citizen Club, Gottesman Libraries, National Art Education Association, Peace Education Network and Soul Haven Arts.

SAA was also awarded a Microgrant from the Arts Administration Program, which supported two components of a project that considered art and social justice issues: Brave Spaces: Where You, Me, and We Meet, a visual arts exhibition curated by Allison Peller and Briana Zimmerman at the Offit Gallery in Gottesman Library (October 4-31, 2018) and an interdisciplinary panel discussion, Liberating Imagination though Artistic Activism. The main objective was to unite people through the transformative power of art to raise awareness and activism for change.

Continue reading “An Exciting Fall with ARAD Microgrant Recipient Student Advocates for the Arts”

Catching up with Chad Rabago, Spring 2018 Microgrant Recipient.

Chad Rabago attended Service Unites in Atlanta, GA this June with funding from the ARAD Spring 2018 Microgrant. We were eager to hear about his experiences! 


Service Unites is the largest service-related conference for non-profit, government, business, and civic leaders. Hosted by Points of Light, an organization dedicated to volunteer service and mobilization, Service Unites brings thousands together to collaborate and share knowledge, resources, and connections to awaken the power of people to change the world. I have wanted to attend the conference since learning about it during my year with AmeriCorps, and through a grant from the Arts Administration program I was fortunate to be able to attend for the first time!

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This year’s theme was “Igniting Civic Culture,” challenging attendees to cultivate a culture in which civic engagement is the norm, and every person is inspired, prepared, and mobilized to make a difference. Throughout the conference, I attended workshops on topics like branding through social media, engaging millennial volunteers, rethinking volunteer recognition and training, developing audiences without overspending, and forming college partnerships. I heard from professionals in various sectors, including higher education, consulting, museums, PR, and corporate philanthropy. At the conference’s opening assembly, we heard from various activists, politicians, artists, and celebrities, including Brooke Shields, Adam Rippon, Jesse Williams, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, theatre producer Alia Jones-Harvey, and students from Parkland, Florida.

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In addition to attending the workshops and learning from so many experienced professionals, part of what made the conference so great was being surrounded by people who were all interested in working with volunteers in so many different ways. I met and connected with students, current service members, and professionals from various fields, including non-profit management, corporate social responsibility, human resources, venue management, start-up businesses, arts administration, government, and policy, and I am looking forward to following up with people for informational interviews and thesis research! It was really humbling and thrilling to share stories and resources with people who have similar career experiences. Whether it was the house manager at a folk music venue in Michigan who works with volunteers every day, or a specialist with AARP who coordinates volunteers digitally all over northern California, their unique perspectives enlightened my own experience of working with volunteers, as well as the career possibilities in this field.


Being in Atlanta for the first time, I also had the opportunity to visit The Center for Civil and Human Rights, World of Coca-Cola, Mercedes Benz Stadium, and Fox Theatre. I also did a whirlwind tour of Montgomery, Alabama, where I saw the former homes turned museums of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Dr. King, Rosa Park’s bus stop, and the abandoned movie set of one of my favorite movies, Big Fish.

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It’s my hope that I will be able to attend future Service Unites conferences. Thank you to the ARAD Program for giving me this opportunity!

Following up with our Spring 2018 Microgrant Recipient, Beryl Ford.

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Our Spring 2018 Microgrant Recipient, Beryl Ford shared her reflections on Black Portraitures– BP IV: The Color of Silence, a conference she attended in Cambridge, Massachusetts with help from funding by the ARAD Microgrant.


It was such a rewarding experience to be able to use my ARAD micro-grant to
attend the fourth iteration of Black Portraitures– BP IV: The Color of Silence. As a
budding arts administrator, I found it truly inspiring to convene with the major players–
influencers, scholars, museum professionals—in the black art world who are thinking
critically about visual expression. This year’s conference theme– The Color of Silence–
was particularly compelling because it focused on the increasingly Diasporic nature of
the artists and ideas of the Black Portraitures community– finding its intellectual roots in
the African Diaspora as it is expressed throughout Latin America. As Henry Louis Gates
Jr. explained in his opening remarks, “The Color of SIlence refers to the visual
expressions of the national imaginaries prevalent throughout the African Diaspora, in
which political ideologies that negate racial differences render black subjects invisible.”

Each panel was thoughtfully organized to respond to and navigate this question
of invisibility. During the conference, I attended the following panels: The Curator, the
Artist, the Art Historian, and the Critic, Black Agency, Black Freedom: Portraits of
Survival in Word and Image, Portraits of Power: The Aesthetics of Resistance, and
Queer Identities. From each of these nuanced conversations, I gained a better
understanding of how the visual arts work to support activism and are deployed to shed
light on the experiences that are purposefully ignored and shrouded in darkness. As an
arts administrator, I believe that it is my responsibility to be aware of the barriers
precluding certain groups access to the visual arts! Given this, attending the BP IV
conference was invigorating because I felt as if I was part of a larger collective endeavor
that is working toward and is concerned with a similar goal.


Thanks for sharing your reflections with us Beryl, we are so proud to be watching you bloom!



Congratulations to our Spring 2018 Microgrant Recipients!

The Arts Administration Program (ARAD) at Teachers College, Columbia University is pleased to announce recipients of the Spring 2018 Microgrants for Student Professionalization.

Through the Microgrant Program and with generous support from the Arts and Humanities Department at Teachers College, ARAD proudly supports student professionalization activities on campus and beyond. This award champions special projects proposed by Teachers College student groups (with ARAD student membership), as well as conference attendance for individual students in the ARAD program. Applications were invited through an open call process, and selected by ARAD faculty.

Please join us in congratulating the following recipients on their Spring 2018 awards:


Hsun-Fang_Profile PictureEmerson Chang graduated in 2016 from National Chengchi University in Taiwan with double majors in Business Administration and Accounting as well as a minor in Japanese. Her ambition to become an arts manager stemmed from an unwavering passion for the performing arts. She conducted the university choir, co-curated a music festival on campus, and participated in productions of the internationally award-winning Taipei Chamber Singers. Prior to joining ARAD, Hsun-Fang worked at Trees Music & Art as an album field researcher, programming assistant, and marketing coordinator for the label’s Migration Music Festival and New Narratives Film Festival. She enjoys connecting with new audience, and looks forward to gaining practical experiences in audience and fiscal development of art events at ARAD.

Funding from the ARAD Microgrant will support Emerson’s participation in the upcoming TEDxBroadway conference, whose speakers include successful practitioners in the performing arts field, including performers and administrators on Broadway. TEDxBroadway will enable her to compare the principles and practices pertaining to performing arts that she has been learning in the program with actual practices in the field.


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Beryl Briane Ford recently graduated from Smith College in Northampton, MA with high honors in Art History, a concentration certificate in Museum Studies, and a research fellowship from the Mellon Mays Undergraduate foundation. Prior to being admitted to the Arts Administration program, Beryl Briane interned at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. in the summer of 2016 and winter of 2017. Once there, she discovered her passion for Arts Administration and the possibility of pursuing a graduate degree that supported her intersecting interests in public programming, education, and administration. During her time in the ARAD program, Beryl Briane intends on demonstrating how a career that engages rather than siloes her aforementioned interests is possible and sustainable. She is also interested in eagerly exploring how art museums address issues of community engagement and inclusion as they relate to audience development.

The ARAD Microgrant will support Beryl’s attendance at the Black Portraitures IV: The Color of Silence conference where she will have the opportunity to be exposed to new scholarship and network with academics, and museum and art professionals interested in the work of Black visual and performing artists.


Chad_RabagoChad Rabago is a graduate of Chapman University where he studied Integrated Educational Studies and Organizational Leadership. He moved to the DC area to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA at KID Museum, and following his service year worked as the Office & Volunteer Coordinator at ArtStream, Inc., a disability services arts non-profit. He has been involved in various areas of volunteer management, community outreach, and audience services at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Discovery Cube Orange County, the National Postal Museum, and Shakespeare Theatre Company. With a passion for working with volunteers, Chad is interested in civic engagement and service in the arts.

The ARAD Microgrant will support Chad’s attendance at the Service Unites Conference to develop his knowledge and resources of volunteers at an individual, organizational, communal, and corporate level, and learn how arts organizations can engage community members to affect positive change through service.

Chatting with Jodi Mikesell, Fall 2017 Microgrant Recipient


We caught up with our Fall 2017 Microgrant Recipient, Jodi Mikesell.Mikesell

Funding from the ARAD Microgrant supported Jodi’s participation in the Brooklyn Conference at The Brooklyn Museum.


Describe the opportunity you participated in and how it aligns with your career aspirations.

The event I attended was The Brooklyn Conference at The Brooklyn Museum. This three-day event centered around inspiring social change through a confluence of art, artists, politics, and social justice. Over three days, many issues were discussed, but of particular interest to me was the topic of shifting institutional priorities- specifically the museum space as a catalyst for social change. The Arts Administration program helped to shape the path of my career by highlighting the important role that museums play in shaping the cultural values of our society. The Brooklyn Conference aligned with those aspirations by providing an in situ experience of how we as administrators can champion and foster social change through the institutional power of the museum.

What were the most important takeaways from your experience?

The biggest takeaway of the conference was the ability to directly align the lessons I had learned in ARAD with their practical, real-life applications within the museum setting. I was also able to attend talks which were both personally fulfilling and beneficial to informing my thesis research, which I am writing on women and museum leadership. Another takeaway was in exploring the role of the artist within society with the artists who strive to create impact and learning strategies we can use to create inclusive and dynamic cultural communities.

How has the microgrant helped to enrich you professionally? 

Over three days and dozens of speakers, I have learned and grown tremendously. Over the weekend I was able to personally engage and network with other socially-minded people within the art world and was able to make new contacts with NYU faculty, independent curators, art teachers, and social activists- all of with whom I have remained in contact. Working toward social change is exhausting and at times, the emotional fatigue can make a person question whether they are up for the challenge- especially during a time of such political contention. Surrounding oneself with people who are actively working toward a common good is profoundly empowering. Knowing that we are all present for the same cause creates an unspoken bond of purpose and opens up channels of communication. I left The Brooklyn Conference feeling a renewed sense of vigor and recharged in my commitment to the work I want to do.


Catching up with Gillian Jakab, Fall 2017 Microgrant Recipient

We caught up with our Fall 2017 Microgrant Recipient, Gillian Jakab.Gillian Jakab Resized

Funding from the ARAD Microgrant supported Gillian’s participation in “Transmissions and Traces: Rendering Dance”, a joint conference held by the Congress on Research in Dance and Society of Dance History Scholars at The Ohio State University.


Describe the opportunity you participated in and how it aligns with your career aspirations.

I presented a paper at the Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) and Congress in Research on Dance (CORD) joint conference “Transmissions and Traces: Rendering Dance,” marking the merger of the two renowned academic organizations into the Dance Studies Association (DSA). The conference was held at The Ohio State University and brought together hundreds of dance scholars from dozens of nations for a three-day event representing the largest gathering of its kind in the field.  The conference was an extraordinary opportunity to share my research on cultural diplomacy during the Cold War.  My research sprung from work I had begun last year as Professor Victoria Phillips’ student in the course “Cold War Public Diplomacy” within Columbia University’s History Department.  I examined the U.S. State Department’s repeated decisions declining the applications of avant-garde choreographer Merce Cunningham to become part of its overseas Cultural Presentations program in the 1950s and ’60s.  I analyzed the source materials, including the minutes of the State Department Dance Panel, as well as contemporaneous media accounts, and historical treatments to conclude that just as the State Department used the Dance Panel to further its hegemony in the world, so the Dance Panel members used the State Department to maintain their hegemony in the dance world.

More valuable than my own experience presenting as part of a panel, however, was the access to the three days of panels, talks, and workshops with leading scholars and professionals discussing critical issues and new pathways in the field.  The chance to spend quality time with those I know well—Professor Clare Croft of the University of Michigan as well as my colleagues from dance historian Lynn Garafola’s Columbia Dance Studies seminar—was surpassed only by the chance to meet and learn from so many new thinkers and doers.  Scholars and arts organizations have much to learn from one another and I hope to help facilitate that dialogue during my career .


GJakab- conf2What were the most important takeaways from your experience?

One panel I attended titled “Developing American Audiences” extended the concepts of the institutionalization of high culture that ARAD’s Dr. Gemma Mangione introduced in the course “Arts in Context.”  On this panel, Caroline Clark presented her paper “Highbrow Versus Lowbrow: Dance Transmission through Social Agendas in the United States.” Clark drew on the literature we had read of Paul DiMaggio and Lawrence Levine, framing the formation of aesthetic hierarchies within the specific context of dance, as did Judith Hamera in her keynote address “Rehearsal Problems: Gus Giordano’s The Rehearsal, Canonicity, and the Place of the Local in Dance Studies.” I was left with a more nuanced understanding of the ways in which classifications of taste have shaped the dance cannon we generally accept, study, and present.

Another presentation that resonated with my thesis research and topics I’ve encountered through my work at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy was Karima Borni’s paper “From Street to Studio: Muslimness and Masculinity in Moroccan Contemporary Dance Workshops.” In this presentation, Borni sifted through the layers of identity formation in contemporary Moroccan dance and illuminated the power dynamics between local dancers and the predominantly European choreographers who circulate through official performance channels.

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How has the microgrant helped to enrich you professionally? 

The ARAD microgrant helped me participate in an invaluable weekend of conversations surrounding the theme of “transmitting dance”—a topic that spawned a wealth of presentations and workshops connected to my academic and professional interests.  As an aspiring arts professional, I valued the opportunity to meet and hear from others in the field and discuss the challenges of presenting and documenting dance and its history. The conference panels and workshops explored wide-ranging topics in relation to dance such as intellectual property and copyright, authorship/spectatorship, archival projects, education and audience engagement, as well as topics of identity and social justice in dance history and theory.

Follow up with Lauren Williams, Fall 2017 Microgrant Recipient

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We followed up with our Fall 2017 Microgrant Recipient, Lauren Williams.

Funding from the ARAD Microgrant supported Lauren’s participation in the American Institute of Graphic Art’s AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Describe the opportunity you participated in and how it aligns with your career aspirations.

On October 13-14, 2017 I had the opportunity to attend the American Institute of Graphic Art’s AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During the conference I attended general sessions along with 2,000 fellow designers and symposia with enlightening guest speakers. This year’s theme was Connect and according to Tina Essmake, 2017 Conference Chair, this theme was chosen because “we’re all in search of meaningful connections to the work we do—and ultimately, to each other.”

The conference allowed me to create new connections and expand my professional network, which provides access to future opportunities within the design industry. The speakers also helped me to create meaningful connections between ideas and projects they were presenting to ideas that I plan on pursuing in the realm of social design and the arts in the future.

I attended symposia including Type in the City and Design for Business Impact. In addition to symposia I also gained inspiration from speakers including:

Rhea Combs, Museum curator, photography and film, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

Joe Gebbia, Chief product officer and cofounder, Airbnb

Ian Spalter, Head of design, Instagram

Elise Roy, Inclusive design strategist, Elise Roy & Associates

Annie Atkins, Graphic designer for film


What were the most important takeaways from your experience?

Each year the conference touches upon inclusive design. I found the talk given by Elise Roy, Inclusive Design Strategist at Elise Roy & Associates, most intriguing. Roy discussed how designing for extreme users, like people with disabilities, benefits us all. A major takeaway from her talk is that we can’t continue to make design for people with disabilities an afterthought or an element that is incorporated in phase 2.0 or 3.0. It has to influence the original design. As arts administrators and designers we must commit to universal design strategies.


How has the microgrant helped to enrich you professionally? 

The connections made via the microgrant such as networking opportunities, increased awareness of resources, and links to new ideas from speakers have enriched me professionally. I believe that in order to effectively grow it is important to remain involved in the communities in which I am interested in operating in. The micogrant supported me by providing access to a space of like-minded individuals who are tackling innovative projects and concepts that have an impact on society. It also allowed me to enter into a space that emphasized the importance of responsible design, not only supporting my professional development, but also those within communities that interact with my work.