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. 

Continue reading “Catching Up With Alums Megan Zhang (ARAD ‘20) and Mari Takeda (ARAD ‘20)”

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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An Interview with GRAMMY Winner Eric Oberstein

By Blaire Townshend

Arts Administration Alumnus Eric Oberstein is a producer, musician, educator, and arts administrator—and now also a two-time GRAMMY winner. His work as producer on Arturo O’Farrill’s “The Afro Latin Jazz Suite” earned Oberstein and his creative team the award for Best Instrumental Composition at the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards this February. This win closely follows a win for The Offense of the Drum at last year’s ceremony—to read more about that award, click here. Oberstein currently serves as the Associate Director of Duke Performances, as well as co-chair for the recently established Alumni Committee of the Arts Administration Program here at Columbia University. For this interview, Oberstein was able to take time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions regarding his recent GRAMMY win, his administrative and creative philosophies, and his insights into the field of arts administration.

Eric 2
A screenshot of the team on stage at the GRAMMYs

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Alumni Event: Mentoring as Advocacy

Alumni and students enjoying the event. Photo courtesy of Alexis Yuen.

This February, the ARAD Alumni Committee launched a mentorship program for 2nd-year students. The goal is to build personal and professional connections that give ARAD students an advantage as they leave the program and enter the world of arts administration. Co-presented by the ARAD Alumni Committee, the ARAD Program, and Student Advocates for the Arts, the event Mentoring as Advocacy was the kick-off for the mentorship program where students, faculty, and alumni were able to meet and network.

Tuesday, February 9, 6-8:30PM
Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 E. 3rd Street, Manhattan

Current student Alyssa Yuen shares her reflection on the event here.

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Alumni Conversation: Daniel Gallant

By Gina Tribotti

Daniel Gallant Nuyorican Pic
Daniel Gallant Nuyorican Pic: photo by Samira Bouaou for Epoch Times

Daniel Gallant is a theatrical producer, playwright, director, teacher, actor, and executive director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Since 1973, the Cafe has operated as a multi-arts and multicultural non-profit organization, presenting poetry, music, hip hop, theater, and education events in New York City’s East Village. The Cafe’s history is chronicled in a new online exhibit from Google Cultural Institute.

Daniel has also recently been awarded a 2016 Eisenhower Fellowship for his work as an arts leader. Eisenhower Fellows travel abroad to meet with experts in their respective fields and deepen their engagement with a global network of leaders. In this interview, we speak with Daniel about the nimbleness of small organizations, the benefits of being an arts omnivore, and the delicate balancing act between artistic creation and arts management.

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Arts as a Catalyst of Social Change: an Interview with Yvonne Senouf

Be the Change
Be the Change an Inside Out Global Project. Photography Alex Kat

Yvonne Senouf (Class of 1991) has more than twenty years of experience in the art world, working in production, development, and communication. Venezuelan-born, Senouf has lived in France, Morocco, the U.S., Spain, and Greece. As a founder of Clinica Aesthetica, an experimental multidisciplinary space, she has produced more than twenty international projects. Currently based in Athens, Greece, Senouf is the co-founder and cultural producer of MELD, an interactive global art platform and collaborative catalyst that commissions, produces, and presents works of art on climate change. In 2015, MELD was nominated for the prestigious COAL Prize Art and Environment, which supports projects in contemporary art related to environmental concerns. ARAD sat down with Senouf recently to discuss ARAD, her current projects, and being an agent for social change.

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Worth the Risk: An Interview with Amanda White

Amanda White headshotAmanda White is a 2008 graduate of the Arts Administration program and member of ARAD’s inaugural Alumni Committee. She currently serves as the Managing Director of Mixed Blood Theatre Company in Minneapolis. At Mixed Blood, Amanda was the first director of the Radical Hospitality program, which provides no-cost access to all mainstage productions for any audience member, and erases economic barriers in pursuit of building a truly inclusive, global audience.

Amanda is also an actor (she holds an MFA in theatre performance) and Co-Artistic Director (of her company, DalekoArts). She has also done stints at The William Inge Center for the Arts, Lincoln Center, The Araca Group, and Theatre Development Fund.

We had five questions for Amanda, and she had answers.

Hannah Fenlon: What were some of your most formative, exciting or surprising experiences as a performer?

Amanda White: I’ve had the true privilege of lots of exciting and surprising moments as a performer, both on stage and in rehearsal. My first time on stage was at Miss Andrews’ Preschool, in a three-act play called The Silver Thread.  My family came to see it, and they brought Wesley, the little twerp red-haired 5-year-old guy who lived next door.  It was dreamlike, and I was hooked. Continue reading “Worth the Risk: An Interview with Amanda White”

Alumni News: Eric Oberstein (M.A. ’09) Wins GRAMMY for Best Latin Jazz Album

Eric_Oberstein_GRAMMY_3Eric Oberstein (M.A. ’09) is an arts administrator, musician, educator, consultant, and co-chair of the inaugural Alumni Committee for the Program in Arts Administration at Teachers College. And now, he can add GRAMMY and Latin-GRAMMY winner to his list.

Oberstein, who currently works as Associate Director of Duke Performances, his undergraduate alma mater’s professional performing arts presenting organization, just received a GRAMMY award at the 57th Grammy’s for producing “The Offense of the Drum.” Oberstein also won a Latin GRAMMY award in November for producing “Final Night at Birdland,” which won Best Instrumental Album. Both winning albums are from Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Oberstein has produced five albums for Arturo O’Farrill after serving as Executive Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, the New York-based non-profit that supports the work the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO). These albums include 2011’s “40 Acres and a Burro,” which was also nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.grammy580

To read more about Eric Oberstein, his recent GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY Award and his continued contributions to arts and arts administration, please visit his website,

–Originally posted on TC Alumni News

Alumni News: Eric Oberstein’s Latin Grammy Win

Final Night at Birdland_Latin GRAMMY

The ARAD program is pleased to congratulate our alum, Eric Oberstein, on his Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album!

Oberstein served as Producer on Final Night at Birdland,the live album on Zoho Music featuring Arturo O’Farrill and the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra’s final performance at Birdland. The recording took place in New York City following a 15-year Sunday night residency, recorded on June 26, 2011 and released on August 13, 2013.

In 2010, Oberstein produced the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra’s tour to Cuba, returning legendary Cuban composer and arranger Chico O’Farrill’s musicians (an 18-piece Latin jazz big band, directed by Chico’s son, pianist Arturo) to his homeland for headlining performances at the 26th edition of the Havana International Jazz Plaza Festival.

Oberstein served as Executive Director of Arturo O’Farrill’s New York-based non-profit, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, before returning to his undergraduate alma mater, Duke, to serve as Associate Director of Duke Performances, Duke’s performing arts presenting organization. He has produced five albums with O’Farrill to date, including the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s newest album, The Offense of the Drum.

For more information about Oberstein and his current projects, check out his site: ericoberstein.comzoho_arturtobirdland_8pnl booklet__new2.qxt:8PAN_INSERT.qxd

Introducing the ARAD Alumni Committee!

With great pleasure, the ARAD Program and Alumni Committee Co-Chairs announce the inaugural ARAD Alumni Committee! We were thrilled to have received many strong applications for this initiative, including several outstanding candidates for the role of Co-Chair.

The first step in assembling the Committee was determining the second Co-Chair to assist with the selection of the nine remaining committee members. After careful consideration, 2011 graduate Priya Sircar has been appointed to this role. As a senior consultant at Lord Cultural Resources, Priya works nationally on cultural policy and planning initiatives, and she is looking forward to collaborating with ARAD to enrich the experiences of both alumni and current ARAD students.

Together, Co-Chairs Eric, Priya, and Program Manager, Jess reviewed the Committee applications and were gratified to see the dedication and care reflected in these submissions. Assembling an 11-member Committee reflecting the geographic, ethnic, and professional diversity of alumni, inclusive of graduates spanning the 34 years of the Program, was both an honor and a challenge. The resulting committee represents a passionate team, eager to serve the alumni community. The members of the inaugural 2014 Committee are:

                                                                    Shagorica Basu, 2002, California
                                                               Sarah Bolson Barnett, 2008, New York
                                                              Carolyn Charpie Fagan, 2012, New York
                                                                     Daniel Gallant, 2004, New York
                                                       Javier Iturralde de Bracamonte, 2010, New York
                                                                     Alison Kaplan, 1992, New York
                                                          Co-Chair: Eric Oberstein, 2009, North Carolina
                                                                      Yvonne Senouf, 1991, Greece
                                                           Michiko Simanjuntak Grasso, 2001, New York
                                                                 Co-Chair: Priya Sircar, 2011, New York
                                                                Amanda White Thietje, 2008, Minnesota

Please join us in congratulating this talented group of alumni on their new role with the ARAD Program. We welcome their participation and leadership in helping to steer the Program and community towards new heights in the years ahead.
       The Committee looks forward to getting started in service to ARAD alumni and students!