Hozier, Wasteland, Baby!
This album surprised even me, an avid Hozier fan. After his release of the Nina Cried Power EP which earned "honorable mention" last quarter, I was unsure how the full length album would fall together. It turns out that Wasteland, Baby! met and exceeded my expectations and it quickly became the soundtrack to the latter half of the winter quarter. Hozier combines witty, poetry and mythology based lyrics with extremely catchy, dark beats and twangy guitar riffs while singing about love and the end of the world. This long (long!) awaited album was a reliving addition to my subway commute and neighborhood wanderings.
Toni Eisman is a student in Drexel's Creative Arts Therapies program. I asked her to write about being a practicing artist in the traditionally non-artistic health field.
Her Masters thesis is on promoting workplace self-care by combining mindfulness and art therapy based practices for oncology nurses.
I’ve always had an interest in the arts- my mom is a creator, her mother was, my paternal grandfather was. When I was younger and fearful of my own perception of my artistic abilities in the long run, a peer of mine introduced me to the idea of art therapy. Just by title alone, it seemed like a blend of things I was interested in- art and the helping professions. I chose my undergraduate alma mater based on the ability to combine these realms of interest into one course of study. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into Mason Gross School of the Arts as a painting major, and was able to develop my craft through my four years there. I double majored in psychology to prepare myself for graduate school, but knew that textbook learning would barely graze the knowledge I would gain in the field someday.
Getting into Drexel’s Creative Arts Therapy program felt like a dream. It has allowed me to develop my clinical and interpersonal skills while still allowing me to maintain my own artistic practice. I currently am completing my clinical internship at a cancer center, where I work with patients, families, and hospital staff involved in the medical treatment. I have previously gained experience working in a community mental health-based practice, an intensive outpatient program for clients with dual diagnoses (substance use, intellectual disabilities, psychosis, etc.), and a developmental disabilities center for individuals with moderate to severe Autism Spectrum Disorder. While we are often required to respond artistically to our clinical experiences and cases, I try to keep my own artistic processes up to date. Lately I have been working more on drawings and smaller scale paintings, but that seems to be reflective of the time I can allot to outside factors that aren’t related to my thesis (which I will have done hopefully by the end of May!). Hopefully I will be able to continue my arts practices more fluently and frequently once I graduate and find a steady position in the art therapy field. I certainly miss exhibiting work with more frequency! With all of this beings said, I don’t think I would trade the experiences I’ve gotten here as an art therapy student for anything.
Molly McGuire is pursuing her master’s in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership at Drexel University. While she works toward her degree, she works part time at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as Projects Manager for ceramicist Ryan Greenheck, and as part of the Work Exchange program at The Clay Studio. In between all of that, she tries to make some pottery, too!
Coming from an arts background, it can be difficult to find time to go to school, work, and also find time to create work. I feel lucky to be a part of the Work Exchange program at The Clay Studio, as it allows me access to both the studio and the ceramics community there. While I’m working toward my degree, I have had to slow down and understand that I cannot do everything I want to. My production has slowed down, but I try to create work whenever I can, knowing that creativity ebbs and flows and you just kind of have to ride the waves.
My work is focused on texture and creating a tactile experience in everyday objects such as mugs, cups, and lamps. The textures are created methodically and evenly spaced, yet each piece is unique. The entire process - from creating the form, to decorating the surface, to sharing it with others - is both meditative and energizing. I love to watch people interact with my work because at first, they are unsure if these spiked mugs and cups are meant to be touched at all. When they pick them up, they realize the texture feels quite satisfying. I can see the viewer thinking about how the cup was made and being surprised by these small dots or large spikes I have placed on the surface. There is an interesting interaction between playful and intimidating.
Caitlin Bellet and Amanda Matta are students in the Arts Administration & Museum Leadership program.
Was this your first time to Washington, D.C.? Did you have any advocacy experience/ knowledge before the trip? This was my second time visiting Washington, D.C.! This trip and my previous visit were very quick - so I fully intend to go back for a longer amount of time. In regards to having advocacy experience/knowledge prior to attending Museum Advocacy Day, I have only ever learned about and discussed advocacy, its effectiveness, and value to the arts while taking courses in the Arts Administration & Museum Leadership program. It was a great experience to take what I have been learning about, advocacy for the arts, and applying those skills at a conference that is specific to advocating for museums.
What ultimately made you decide to take this trip? I chose to attend Museums Advocacy Day because I am passionate about museums and their cultural and economic impacts across America. As an emerging arts professional, I think it is important for the next generation of arts/culture leaders to be on the front lines in Washington, D.C. meeting with politicians and expressing the significance that museums have to ALL of their constituents. I also chose to take this trip in part because Drexel’s Arts Administration & Museum Leadership program is a big supporter of sending its graduate students to valuable conferences such as Museums Advocacy Day in order to gain practical administrative experience.
What was your favorite part of the trip, overall? My favorite part of Museums Advocacy Day overall was getting to network and connect with other museum professionals/advocates from all across the country, and learn about their advocacy experiences over the years. I also really enjoyed getting to visit the various congressional offices and meet with representatives and staff who were also very passionate about the importance of the arts and museums.
What is your favorite learning experience from the trip? My favorite learning experience from this trip was being able to participate in a conversation about the post-midterm election climate on Capitol Hill and hearing from current politicians and congressional staff that the political climate in both the House and the Senate are not as awful as the media makes it seem. It was very empowering to learn that a majority of the newly elected politicians on Capitol Hill are eager to listen to constituents and participate in advocating for issues that the American people find significant.
What will you take away from your advocacy experience and apply to the future? This experience taught me that having conversations and taking action really go a long way in expressing the importance of the arts to all Americans. After attending Museums Advocacy Day, I have learned that I can always be an advocate for museums and the arts industry regardless of where I am!
Was this your first time to Washington, D.C.? Did you have any advocacy experience/ knowledge before the trip? This wasn’t my first time to D.C. but it was my first time advocating for anything.
What ultimately made you decide to take this trip? I decided to go to Museums Advocacy Day because I wanted to be part of the action and learn from people who have a real grasp on the issues we’re facing in the field. I also couldn’t pass up the chance to spend time with my very talented classmates who are all going to be changemakers in the field someday soon.
What was your favorite part of the trip, overall? I remember thinking as we walked to Capitol Hill, “I can see how people would get addicted to this.” There’s something powerful in going to the center of power in this country and making your voice heard. I thought that this would be something way out of my depth, but I’m so glad that I’ve had this experience.
We also saw Joe Kennedy III in a coffee shop first thing on Tuesday morning and it really set the stage for what would become a great day on the Hill.
What is your favorite learning experience from the trip? Before going to meet with our representatives, we discussed some very real problems that museums and nonprofits are facing. I learned that there are also very real solutions to be found, but somebody needs to bring those issues to our lawmakers before we can see any improvements.
In addition, simply learning how to have these conversations was a great addition to my toolkit as a future museum leader. We learned to ask for what you want and lay out your rationale in a concise and convincing way.
What will you take away from your advocacy experience and apply to the future? I am definitely going to use some of those conversational tactics when talking to my managers and directors. I have also already become more in tune with how the legislative system is operating, not just in regards to museums but on the whole.
A lot has happened this quarter. The Arts Administration & Museums Leadership program sent two groups of students to Washington, D.C. for Museums Advocacy Day and the National Arts Action Summit, to advocate to our representatives for NEA funding, tax reform, and more. It snowed, a few times. I learned how to make risotto. I visited different coffee shops, new art galleries, and new museums in order to thoroughly explore and give thought to the busy city I’ve come to reside in. And as I traveled to New York City for my second consecutive year at the Chamber Music America conference, I realized two themes I'd like to highlight this quarter: Vulnerability and Inspiration.
It was at that conference in the beginning of 2018 where I formally submitted my application to Drexel after a particularly inspirational career coaching session from a woman I’ve come to admire greatly. This was also my first year coming as an independent young professional (albeit one who forgot her business cards at home!), thankful for my manager the previous year who saw the potential in me as an arts manager and recommended the conference in the first place.
Allowing myself to feel vulnerable this quarter was a challenge. Winters can be inherently a time for thought, as we use cozy time spent indoors under heated blankets to think about our past, present, and future. This winter I felt particularly motivated to do more- in addition to Chamber Music America, I also attended the National Arts Action Summit (formerly Arts Advocacy Day) for the second time. I’ve learned that second times can bring more room for introspection than the first. How have I grown since I was last standing here? What have I overcome in the year in between? Going somewhere for the first time is thrilling, activating personal motivation and growth, but having a comparison point from where you are and where you used to be is incomparable. I feel on track in my journey to full-fledged arts administrator.
We all have the choice to break out of our comfort zones to try new things, go to new places, and meet new people. Find what inspires you and pursue it. Allow yourself to feel scared, eager, a little bit wacky for wearing a skirt to the art gallery when it’s snowing outside. It’s all part of the process of growth, and the arts will be there for you along the way if you choose to include them. Especially if you’ve spoken to your Congressperson about them!
In short, never give up an opportunity to do something you’re passionate about. Your future self will be glad you took the chance to experience more.
My winter favorites:
Vegan meatball hoagie from Green Line Café Powelton Village. How did I go an entire quarter without knowing this café was right around the corner on 37th? They also have Dottie’s Donuts, because we know I can’t say no to a vegan donut.
First Friday- I braved the cold twice, in February and March, to experience the night of free galleries. I took part in the "Taste of Shabbos" traditional meal at the Old City Jewish Art Center, saw a friend’s art displayed at Colorspace Labs to kick off National Women’s Month, and enjoyed some craft beer and seitan tacos at Evil Genius Brewing right around the corner.
Joe Coffee- The theme of this issue is vulnerability, but the theme of my life is Vegan Baked Goods. I found out that Joe Coffee sells cookies from Crust Vegan Bakery and I was sold.
A Career Guide for Misfits- My mom gifted me the book “Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits” by Jennifer Romolini, and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I picked it up a few weeks later and read halfway through in one sitting. It’s the reason I chose to emphasize vulnerability here- sometimes life doesn’t go as planned, and it’s okay. It’s okay to make mistakes, to be weird, to be anxious about the future, especially as a young adult in the big bad job market. Jennifer is frank, honest, and helpful; she writes smoothly and personably as if you were talking directly to her. I highly recommend picking this one up if, like me, your fears of the future and your ambition are stuck in gridlock and you need something that will whack you into action.
ArtsLine editor 2018-2019