Student Spotlight: Kristian Otten

kristian-ottenKristian Otten holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance (bassoon), and has worked in management and as a consultant for various off-Broadway and regional theater ventures in the greater NYC area in recent years. In addition to his arts administration work, he also sustains a position as Music and Worship Arts Director at the Covenant Church of Easton, CT, where he plans and leads services from the piano and guitar. On the side, Kristian enjoys collaborating on various projects as a keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist, including three studio albums with the Connecticut based progressive rock project entitled Digital Exile. He is pursuing a master’s degree in arts administration in order to further deepen his understanding of this dynamic field.

What attracted you to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia University?

I was initially attracted to the program at Teachers College by the caliber and experiences of the faculty as well as the diversity of experience and knowledge of the student cohorts. These two factors continue to impress and challenge me to grow in my understanding of arts administration as both a student and a practitioner.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

“Ambitious, agreeable, fun-loving.”

Who are your three favorite artists, in any medium?

Red Garland, Oscar Peterson, and Chick Corea – I’m a jazz fanatic!

Student Spotlight: Alexandra Tweedley

What attracted you to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia alexandra-tweedleyUniversity? 
I was attracted to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia University because of the incredible amount of resources available to students as well as the location in New York City, a culturally vibrant city with many opportunities in the arts. Additionally, being located within Teachers College allows students to explore the educational aspects of an arts organization, which I have gained a greater interest in through my time at TC.

Which courses have been the most eye-opening at Teachers College?

One of my favorite classes I have taken at Teachers College is Principles and Practices in the Performing Arts. In this class, we focused on many issues relating to the performing arts and discussed an array of different strategies and methods in which to work towards solutions to these issues, and we heard from various alumni about how they are currently working in the performing arts. This class was very eye-opening because it helped me gain a greater sense of issues which pertain specifically to my field of interest as well as hear alumni insights from the field.

Where have you interned while in the program?
During the program, I have interned at Juilliard Global Ventures, a department within The Juilliard School, as an operations assistant.

What was the most rewarding part of your internship experience?
During my internship experience, I was given several projects, including licensing digital assets for Juilliard Open Studios, an online arts educational app. However, one of the most rewarding experiences of my internship was my involvement in designing and implementing user testing of the Juilliard Open Studios app, which was integral to updates we made to the app a few weeks later and gave me a sense of how new technologies are facilitating performing arts education.

What have been some of your favorite cultural experiences in New York City?
Living near Lincoln Center has been a large bonus for me, because I often take advantage of student rush tickets to various performances there. Additionally, Juilliard has a very extensive performance calendar of great works for a very reasonable price.

Student Spotlight: Jessica Isgro

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Jessica is a Student Mentor for 2016-17

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 Lincoln Center, 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.

What attracted you to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia University? Initially, I was attracted to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia University for its strong, well-rounded curriculum. Additionally, as I interned with various arts organizations, I met many program graduates who passionately detailed the profound impact the program had on the development of their professional abilities.

How are your studies helping to advance your career goals? My studies in the ARAD program have helped me develop and fortify skills that are vital in the field while simultaneously allowing me to pursue my own interests. The strong curriculum makes room for self-directed learning pursuits, allowing ARAD students to develop skills that will allow them to become arts leaders.

Describe student life as a member of the ARAD community. There is never a dull moment for a student in the ARAD community, and our relationships as students extend well beyond the classroom. Within my first semester of the program, my peers and I attended music performances, art exhibitions, sporting events, Student Advocates for the Arts meetings, guest lectures, networking events, and countless restaurants. The ARAD community actively seeks varied and interesting experiences in New York City, both within and beyond the arts scene.

Student Spotlight: Kayli Callahan

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Kayli is a Student Mentor for 2016-17

Kayli Callahan is a 2015 graduate of Cornell University, where she earned a B.A. in the History of Art and minored in Law & Society and Studio Arts. While completing her studies at Cornell, Kayli worked as the Development & Special Events Intern at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. She is currently working at Teachers College as the Annual Fund Department intern in the Office of Development and External Affairs. Kayli plans to pursue her interests in both arts administration and law to work towards bridging the communication gap between arts administrators and governmental policy officials.

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Student Spotlight: Mari Ogino

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Mari is a Student Mentor for 2016-17

Mari Ogino graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. Following graduation, she held positions at a contemporary art gallery in Los Angeles, the FIDM Museum, and the Wildwoods Foundation. Additionally, she volunteered with Oakgrove as the event and site coordinator. Mari is researching visible and invisible barriers that prevent some children from accessing arts education. She also advocates to make arts education accessible to all children. Arts accessibility is the driving force behind her decision to pursue an M.A. in Arts Administration; she wants to ensure that arts programs are fully funded and sustainable.

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Student Spotlight: Jade Ong

Jade Ong
Jade is a Student Mentor for 2016-17

Jade Ong graduated from Tufts University with B.A.s in Clinical Psychology and Art History. In her undergraduate years, she worked in neurology research at Massachusetts General Hospital, and studied the neuropsychological basis of creativity at Harvard. Prior to joining the Arts Administration program, she worked at Christie’s doing auction consignments and sales, lot evaluation, research, and events planning. She currently serves as the co-president of Student Advocates for the Arts at Columbia, and is a member of the Acquisitions Committee at the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum. Jade is originally from Singapore, and is fluent in both Mandarin and English.

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Student Spotlight: Kelly Olshan

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Kelly Olshan is a Student Mentor for 2016-17

Kelly Olshan graduated Valedictorian from UNC Asheville, where she received her BFA in Painting and a minor in business management. Her thesis, a solo exhibition and associated research paper, received national recognition. As an undergraduate, she served as President of the University’s arts organization, where she managed student exhibitions, coordinated guest speakers, and organized other arts-related events. Before enrolling in the Arts Administration program, she served as the Local Arts Advancement intern for Americans for the Arts. As both an arts administrator and practicing artist, Kelly owns and manages her own fine art business. After graduation, she is invested in establishing more fiscal and educational resources for contemporary artists.

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Student Spotlight: Sara Smigen

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Sara is a Student Mentor for 2016-17

Sara Smigen is a 2012 cum laude graduate of Gettysburg College with a Bachelor of Music in Performance (Voice) and a business minor. After college she worked for Proctors and Capital Repertory Theatre in Schenectady and Albany, New York where she worked her way up from intern to Marketing Account Manager. While there some of her favorite duties were designing and coordinating commercial and video shoots, season brochures, and managing subscription campaigns. With her performance background in opera and voice, Sara is particularly interested in building a stronger bridge between opera and musical theatre audiences. She hopes to work in management and season planning for a multidisciplinary performing arts organization.

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Student Spotlight: Mary Angelo

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Mary is a Student Mentor for 2016-17

Mary Angelo is a graduate of Idyllwild Arts and holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University. Mary served as Resident Choreographer for the Red House Arts Center in Syracuse and received a Gregory Award Nomination for her work on HAIR! at Arts West Playhouse in Seattle. Her company, Angelo Dance Project has performed in Dumbo Dance Festival, Young Choreographers Festival and Dancing Under the Stars Festival. As an administrator she has worked with organization including Creative Outlet Dance Theater, Art Directors Club, Citi Habitats, and Red Bull North America. Mary is currently interning at New York City Center in the Programming office.

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Student Spotlight: Lu Meng

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Lu is a Student Mentor 2016-17

Originally from China, Lu Meng is a 2015 graduate of University of California, Berkeley. She was the Art Practice Undergraduate Honors Studio awardee. Prior to joining the Arts Administration M.A. program at Columbia, Lu held internships with Art Front Gallery in Singapore, Today Art Museum in Beijing and China Guardian Auctions in Beijing. She also volunteered at Asian Art Museum at San Francisco. Lu is interested in the managerial side of visual arts and online art trading platform. She also has great enthusiasm for East Asian Art and Ceramics.

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