Making It In The Arts (MIITA) series, is an informational and networking initiative to connect current St. Olaf students—as well as alumni—with prominent graduates working in the field of arts management.
MIITA will consist of four relevant themes, each consisting of a facilitated conversation and networking reception on engaging topics that arts-oriented students might face during their careers.
Prominent alumni and friends of the college working in arts management, will be invited to share their experience in a facilitated conversation, Q & A with the audience, followed by an opportunity for students to talk with the invited guests in a more informal post-event networking session.
Making it in the Arts is a collaboration between the Piper Center for Vocation and Career, Fine Arts Departments, and Arts Management Faculty.
Registration is not required but strongly encouraged. Register in Handshake by following the links below.
Making It In a Down Economy
Wednesday, September 9, 2020 | 6:00-7:30 p.m. | Via Zoom
How do creative people hustle when it’s hard to find work? How do they seek out ways to pay the rent while also progressing with their artistic aspirations? Our first MIITA conversation brings together two Chicago performers who built solo careers from the ground up, while also pursuing missions in education and advocacy. Coming from the fields of music and theatre, we discuss the challenges of working independently during times of economic hardship. How do artists find day jobs, while also deepening their involvement in the local creative scene? How do they self-market and create their own opportunities? And, amid all this, how do artists develop a work/life balance and habits of self-care?
- Paul Whitehouse (Chicago-based actor and theatre educator)
- Bassel Almadani (musician with Bassel and the Supernaturals
Making Structural Change in and through the Arts: Anti-Racist Activism and Advocacy
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 | 6:00-7:30 p.m. | Via Zoom
Listen to the Recording (Access Passcode: N*smey9V)
Our second MIITA conversation opens a dialogue about the ways professional artists build careers dedicated to bringing about social change. How does one develop a creative philosophy that locates racial, gender, and sexual oppression as central facets of their making? How do they seek out (or even invent) organizations to help them advance their cause? How do they collaborate, or solicit community involvement? Today, arts organizations throughout the country are struggling to reimagine their social role—especially as the Black Lives Matter movement amplifies longstanding calls for diversity, equity, and anti-racism in the creative sector. In this complicated moment, our speakers are forging careers working at the intersection of visual and performing arts, community development, and civic advocacy. We will discuss what it means to build a professional career while also negotiating the tensions that arise when that work has political, ethical, and material stakes in the fight for social justice.
- Tia Simone-Gardner | Juxtaposition Arts
- Jose Richard Aviles ’13 | Urban planner, social worker, and internationally touring performance artist
Where do we go from here? Making a Post-COVID Art World
Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 6:00-7:30 p.m. | Via Zoom
Within weeks, the sudden onset of COVID-19 hobbled the entire entertainment industry, shuttering workplaces, closing down production, and forcing artists to imagine alternative approaches to their craft. How have creative professionals adapted to sudden changes to their entire field? What practices have helped them ride out the storm, and to what extent have they been forced to pivot from business as usual? Working in TV & Film, and music composition, our speakers discuss how creative professionals try to stay motivated and productive during times of sudden change, but also how they continue to look forward and imagine the creative landscape in its newly changed form. What will the arts world look like post-COVID? How will it need to change to address these new circumstances? And what do you do when circumstances beyond your control force you to take a detour from a rigorous professional life?
Making a Career from the Ground Up
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 | 6:00-7:30 p.m. | Via Zoom
Whatever your professional path in the arts, the only certainty is change. How do creative professionals make moves between different arts organizations, different job descriptions, or even different cities? How do they begin to climb the institutional ladder? What kinds of opportunities and drawbacks are there to being part of a major institution, and how do you learn where exactly your own skillset fits in? Our speakers discuss what it means to establish a career within the complex non-profit world, and shed light on the daily “behind-the-scenes” work it takes to acquire the resources to bring elaborate creative projects to light. While many institutions place a firm division between “Creative” and “Administrative” positions, our speakers discuss the art of bringing these sides together to build professional-quality creative experiences.
- Sarah Rasmussen ’01 | Artistic Director, McCarter Theatre (Princeton, NJ)
- Vicki Anton ’14 | Assistant Director of Development, University of Chicago Library
Whose Responsibility is it?: Race and Diversity in the Arts
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 | 6:00pm – 7:30pm CST | Via Zoom
- Dyeemah Simmons, Whitney Museum of American Art- New York, NY
- Diane Sikes, Women & Their Work – Austin, Texas
- Mary Anne Quiroz, Indigenous Roots – St. Paul, MN
“How to Build a Startup Ensemble”: Professional Planning for Avid Music Makers
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 | 6-7:30 p.m. | Via Zoom
Among the many strengths of the St. Olaf musical community is the ability for student musicians to band together and create their own small groups outside of the college’s main ensembles. One particular past instance of this at St. Olaf gave rise to Cantus, one of two current full-time professional male vocal ensembles nationwide.
- Erick Lichte ’98
- Michael Hanawalt ’00