Student Spotlight: Harris Cabrera


harriscabrera-aradHarris Cabrera graduated from Northwestern University cum laude in 2011 with a B.A. in Theatre and comes to the Arts Administration program after five years in Chicago as a freelance actress and musical performer. During her time in the Chicagoland area, she worked extensively with children, both as an artist and a caregiver. As an administrator, exposing young audiences and under-served communities to professional theatre and its educational potential are the focus of her pursuits as she continues her education and career at Teachers College.

What are the three things you need to have on you at all times?

Highlighters, my personal planner, and a water bottle.

Describe student life as a member of the ARAD community.

The range of professional and academic backgrounds the members of my cohort bring to the program have given me the opportunity to learn so much about the arts world outside of the classroom, especially as we get to know each other while we explore the neighborhood for post-class drinks and dinner.

What have been some of your favorite cultural experiences in New York City?

I grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey, about an hour outside the city, so my favorites are long-standing institutions: the Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I recently had the chance to take my six-year-old niece to the the Museum of Natural History for the first time, and it was thrilling to see how excited she was by many of the same exhibits I remembered loving as a child, as well as new additions and experiences that have been added over the years.

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!