It has been quite the busy month for Student Advocates for the Arts. Those of us in our first year with the group have gone through a graduation of sorts—we have been transformed from arts enthusiasts to true arts advocates with practical experience under our belts. When we hosted a lobbying workshop with Ann Marie Miller of ArtPride at the beginning of the month, our questions ranged from “how do you make an effective ask?” to “what are the buzzwords that legislators pay attention to?” This was a crash course of sorts, and Ann Marie was wonderfully patient with us as we attempted to sort out the building blocks of arts advocacy.
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.
Through the newly-initiated Microgrant Program, 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 vetted by an ARAD faculty and staff selection committee.
ARAD congratulates the following student groups and individuals on their 2015-16 academic year awards:
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.
In early February, ARAD program coordinator and professor Dr. Steven Dubin was able to take a break from the cold and dreary New York weather to take part in a TEDx event held in Caserta, Italy. The theme, Global Contamination, brought together a wide variety of speakers from Italy, Sicily, the US, Portugal, and Belarus who presented on topics as diverse as their backgrounds. The mastermind behind this event was none other than ARAD alum Valerio Borgianelli Spina, who graduated from the program in 2007! Continue reading “Faculty News: Prof. Steven Dubin talks “Global Contamination” at TEDxCaserta”
Eric 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.
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,http://ericoberstein.com/#all.
–Originally posted on TC Alumni News
The ARAD program congratulates our faculty member, Dr. Jennifer Lena, on a new book series she will be co-editing!
The series, Culture and Economic Life, acts as a forum for discussing the evolution, creation, and consequences of commerce and culture. Current theoretical and empirical debates span a wide variety of topics, and this series seeks to advance and stimulate discussions across these disciplines to provide an interdisciplinary look at how culture and economic life intersect. The series also informs a larger audience of policy and public debates in the for- and not-for-profit sectors.
This great news comes just after Dr. Lena’s book, Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music, was released as a paperback earlier this month.
Congratulations on these achievements, Dr. Lena!
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.com
By Alyssa Foster
Current ARAD Student, Arts & Humanities Writer
Dr. Jennifer Lena: Scholarly Muse
At the start of the Fall semester, Teachers College proudly welcomed Dr. Jennifer Lena as Associate Professor of Arts Administration. After receiving both her Masters and Ph.D. of Sociology at Columbia University, Dr. Lena ventured beyond New York for myriad academic pursuits around the country. Currently an active researcher and participant in many remarkable arts projects, Dr. Lena says she was beckoned back to Teachers College by “the prestige and wide spectrum of learning opportunities that an Ivy League school located in a world-renowned city offers.” Impressed by the wealth of knowledge and the boundless possibilities she encountered herself as a sociology student, Dr. Lena is enthusiastic that returning as a professor will allow her to positively influence the next generation of arts leaders.
The arts have always been intertwined with Dr. Lena’s academic interests since childhood. Growing up she was influenced by her uncle Benny Andrews, one of the African American artists and leaders in the Black Arts Cultural Coalition, and his efforts towards the inclusion of black curators in shows at the MET and the Whitney. Further influenced by the work of her sociologist father, Dr. Lena quickly became interested in studying the privileges that racial status can either provide or withhold. The inspiration for her research was later shaped by the mentorship of scholars she worked with as a graduate student, such as Peter Bearman and Harrison White.
As recent as 2010, Dr. Lena worked in collaboration with College of Charleston Professor Jonathan Neufeld to become the first sociologist to have commissioned a Grammy-nominated album. A collection of ensemble pieces by composer Gabriela Lena Frank, the album titled “Hilos” was the product of a $50,000 research grant made available to Vanderbilt faculty. At the time Dr. Lena applied for the grant, her co-commissioner, philosopher of aesthetics Professor Neufeld, had been reviewing the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and the ALIAS Chamber Orchestra. ALIAS, an admirable chamber group of volunteer musicians donating their revenue to charities, was currently working with Frank to prepare music that would later be part of “Hilos.” Receipt of the grant provided Dr. Lena and Professor Neufeld the opportunity to finance Frank’s CD, as well as to benefit the charitable work of ALIAS. The Schubert Club soon decided to co-sponsor the album and Naxos Records was then involved to handle the formal recording process. Dr. Lena’s role in the MAC project is a quintessential example of how financial and academic support can benefit the artistic ventures of others.
While an arts patron, active researcher, academic advisor, and sociologist, Dr. Lena is also a prolific author. Her new book, Banding Together, was published in 2012 and examines in-depth how musical styles gain popularity along with the creative collaboration which permits it. As stated on her book jacket, Dr. Lena finds commonalities amongst 60 styles of American popular music to provide “a rare analysis of how music communities operate.” While conducting her research, primary and secondary sources were referenced to investigate the international music scenes of China, Nigeria, Serbia and Chile, in order to juxtapose their genres with those of the United States. Ultimately, Dr. Lena investigates the concept of what constitutes a genre from a sociological lens, positing that her definition is applicable not just to music but to the most inclusive spectrum of arts: from social movements to academia.
Dr. Lena is devoted to enriching the learning process through her dedication to her students and to her continuous socio-artistic research. Her passion is already felt and cherished as an invaluable presence within the Arts Administration department.