Drexel Arts Administration is proud to not only welcome students from all over the globe but also to have alumni and faculty take their experiences and continue their arts & cultural journey abroad.
Amy Scheidegger, Class of '10 & online adjunct professor for Entertainment Arts Management, currently lives in Quito, Ecuador and has graciously shared with us
what the arts & cultural scene there looks like.
Infographic Design by: @rockandroarcreative
In April, I was honored to be part of a group of Arts Administrators from all over the country selected to partake in a professional development program hosted by Lincoln Center's "The Big Umbrella Festival". This is a theatre festival for children on the autism spectrum and their families. After four eye-opening days of symposiums, breakout sessions, deconstructed performances as well as ones with audiences and more, I'm back in Philly and feeling so energized. Not only was I surrounded by inspired professionals, but also by amazing theatrical pieces from three different countries (UK, USA & Australia), all made for and with children on the autism spectrum.
How do we help students with autism accomplish their therapeutic and academic goals in a social and creative way? We addressed multi-sensory and interactive storytelling to excite kids with autism, as well as using stepping stones to build up narratives. More examples of this were activities prior to and during performances playing in water, on trampolines, and using different textured materials and props or essentially, "stepping into their world."
At the end of each day, we reviewed what we'd observed, how we'd dealt with this in our own organizations and more importantly, how we could build more sustainable and special needs audience friendly programming. It's not about the product when it comes to an audience like this, but rather asking them if they enjoyed themselves, analyzing whether or not they were able to work closer towards their individual goal, and most importantly, if they were indeed proud of themselves. With people on the spectrum, behavior is a part of their communication. Each moment in a play exists as a meaningful experience on its own. How can we, as arts administrators, cultivate that?
In addition to taking the audience into consideration, we also have to consider the schools, organizations and parents of these students. How do we navigate the different beliefs held by each of these partners? Or even with the actors, how we provide structure for the students throughout the course of a show but still do the artistic things we want to do?
This might seem like more questions than answers but personally, it opened up my way of thinking. It made me realize there were questions there I had no solid or verified answer to. It also made me realize that there were questions I hadn't even conceived. Now, thanks to this professional development program, the amazing networking I did and connections I made, I know there's things I have to consider, who I can ask for advice and where the work is being done.
A huge thanks to Lincoln Center for opening my eyes to a really critical arts education and management area of need.
As a student liaison serving on the volunteer working board of Emerging Arts Leaders Philadelphia, I felt so lucky to be given this valuable chance to work with a diverse group of talented person who are the leading actors in arts and culture sector.
It was on a chilly Sunday morning in April that I went to attend my very first executive board meeting. Unlike what I have imagined that there would be people wearing exquisite formal suits sitting around the table discussing issues, the meeting was hold in a rather relaxed and lively atmosphere. Everybody looked so nice and friendly. One thing that caught my eye immediately was when one of the board member talked about his plan in pursuing a Master Degree in another city after the termination of his board term. As a prospective arts manager, I admire such attitude toward “never stop learning”. Although people like him has already done great job in the field, there is still a need for them to continuously expand vision in a broader format. I think one of the reason why EAL: P hosts annual Creative Conversation to gather and explore pressing issues in the arts is that they encourage the pursuit of knowledge and hope to see more emerging and growing arts leaders in Philadelphia.
It was really interesting and helpful to determine my responsibilities as a member
of the member service working committee. My primary role is to build connection with college students in arts-related majors who want to gain practice and meaningful experience in Philadelphia and attract them to join EAL: P as a student liaison. To be honest, as an international student, I'm really not the type of person who can easily start a conversation with people I don’t know so well. Things like language barrier and missing of common topics always prohibit me from saying the very first word. But by the time I joined the board, I kept telling myself to directly face my fear to networking and try my best to cultivate relationships with students from diverse background. It’s tough but I believe this unique experience would become my lifetime treasure.
Alumni & Faculty Collaboration: Presenting "Creative Right to the City" at the 2018 Urban Affairs Conference by Salina M. Almanzar
This past April I attended and presented alongside Dr. Andrew Zitcer at the Urban Affairs Association Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Presenting at the conference was made possible by generous support from Drexel University Arts Administration and Franklin and Marshall College. Dr. Zitcer and I have been working on a paper that examines current or recent events around art in the public realm and how these events have been informed by cultural representation, theories around Creative Placemaking and/or Placekeeping, and most importantly the idea or the right to the city. This collaboration grew out of conversations in Dr. Zitcer’s Creative Placemaking course in the summer of 2017 where myself and my classmates were thinking about who art in the public realm is for and how to deal or discuss monuments that exclude or offend. After graduation, Dr. Zitcer expressed interest in continuing the conversation through writing a collaborative paper that synthesized my personal experiences as an artist and Latinx community organizer and our mutual interest in scholarship around the right to the city, public space, and art in the public realm. Through the process of conversing, writing, reading, re-writing, reading and talking some more, and drawing, we came up with a rubric that we feel can help guide both conversations around why some pieces of public art might age out, be inappropriate/problematic, or are exemplary. Our conversations led us to consider presenting our findings to others that might find value in embracing dynamic and informed discourse around art in the public realm and what we ultimately have settled on as the creative right to the city. And so, the proposal was submitted to the Urban Affairs Association and accepted and we plugged away at refining our ideas, trying to stay up to date on current events around cultural representation, appropriation, and incidents involving art in the public realm.
At the conference we presented our findings alongside two other panelists where we all discussed Cultural Life in Neighborhoods. Our paper, titled Cultural Representation and the Expressive Right to the City, was well received and resonated with many of the sessions around similar ideas. We are continuing to work on the paper and rubric and hoping to possibly publish it in a relevant journal or scholarly magazine soon. The experience of presenting work, especially work that was created collaboratively and independent of coursework was extremely gratifying. Outside of the presentation session we had scheduled I made sure to attend as many sessions as possible choosing to focus primarily on education, the arts, and justice issues. Since graduating from the Arts Administration program, I’ve continued working by day at Franklin and Marshall College as a photography technician and professor’s assistant while also serving on the School District of Lancaster School Board (an elected position). I have continued to work with community groups and organize community art making opportunities especially within the Latinx community as I build on the work I started with my thesis. I also am now Chair of the Public Art Advisory Board where I feel I can draw on the knowledge and resources the Arts Administration program and all of my professors shared. The opportunity to attend the UAA Conference is definitely a highlight of what I consider a lasting relationship with Drexel University and I am still processing all of the information I managed to glean in those three days.