Hadia Mawlawi, AADM Online ‘13, is a board member at the Arab American Cultural & Community Center in Houston and chair of the cultural committee. She has curated Heritage Month since its inception in 2014, and over the years the festival has grown in scope and impact. Her first festival focused on an exhibition Hadia curated for local Arab artists. She says she had around 12 artists who participated - some were established in their careers, and others were emerging. In 2015, the festival’s focus was on the refugee crisis, so she hosted a panel discussion around that topic and repeated it again in November that year during Houston's annual Citizenship Month. In 2016, Hadia curated another exhibition, but this time for emerging artists and mostly refugees (from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, and other countries).
Hadia says this year was a leap forward with the ACC’s partnership with the Smithsonian Affiliate museum AANM in Dearborn, MI. They have since asked her to chair their new Houston Chapter of the Friends of the Museum group, where her role will be to raise awareness of the Museum as well as fundraise so that they can create more collaborative programming with Houston.
In addition to her volunteer role at the ACC, Hadia is a research associate with NALAC (National Association for Latino Arts & Culture) where she is working on a report about Houston's Latino arts ecosystem. Hadia credits Drexel's wonderful arts administration program for her success and endeavors in the arts in Houston. She says the program was really comprehensive and lead her to meet instrumental people in her career.
Cathy Hernandez, AADM Online ‘09, shares her recent experience exploring and learning about arts administration in the United Arab Emirates.
Two years ago, I had the opportunity to travel for a one-week study on London's presenting industry, where I studied three major presenters: The Royal Opera House, The Mayor's Office and The Royal Albert Hall where I met its CEO, Jasper Hope. In my conversation with Jasper, he informed me he was leaving The Albert Hall to become the new CEO of the Dubai Opera. He was so excited about the project, since he was beginning at the Opera's formative stages with plenty of planning to do before ground was broken for construction. He could essentially plan and build the hall of his dreams with the huge resources being afforded this new venue, which was meant to be the jewel of Dubai's growing arts district. From there, Andrew Zitcer was kind enough to introduce me to Bill Bragan at NYU Abu Dhabi who invited me to study their growing arts venue. A Fulbright Specialist project consisting of a two-week (November 6 – 19) study on the cultural sector of the United Arab Emirates grew from these initial contacts / venues, so I applied and was subsequently awarded the grant.
Dr. Andrew Zitcer, Assistant Professor and Thesis Director for the Arts Administration program, is embarking on a new adventure. Starting this fall, he’ll be splitting his time at Drexel between Arts Administration and his new role as the inaugural Program Director of Westphal’s new Urban Strategy masters program. I caught up with Andrew to learn more about his role in developing the program, what his favorite part about starting a new endeavor is, and what advice he has for others who are about to launch something new.