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Arts management student: 'I will be prepared'

06/11/2014

As a high school student, Rhea Werner '15 of Rowley, Mass., envisioned a career in the performing arts where she could work behind the scenes, instead of in front of the scenery on stage. Once she learned about the arts management field, she knew she'd found the perfect major to do just that.

On her first visit to MCLA, she realized she'd found the right place to pursue her Bachelor of Arts degree.

"I knew from the moment that I stepped on campus that this was the school for me. I loved the small town; I didn't want to be in a city. The price was perfect. I knew that when I left school I wouldn't be leaving with a huge debt," Werner said.

"I knew that, with this major and a liberal arts education, I would be prepared for the future," she continued. At MCLA, "I am learning so many different aspects of the arts, whether that's grant writing or curating an exhibit. I also know that when I graduate I will be prepared for any art-related field I want to go into."

In addition to serving as a residence hall advisor, Werner was the National Communications Coordinator for MCLA. In this position, she served as the liaison between MCLA and the Northeast Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (NEACURH) region.

As such, she prepared delegates to attend conferences all over the United States, including those held at universities in Boulder, Colo., and Boston, Mass. "This position taught me a lot about communication and how to work with people - not only from MCLA, but from across the region."

Executive board positions she held provided additional opportunities for Werner to travel. And, she's traveled with MCLA professors to Ireland and England as she and her classmates studied abroad.

"More recently, I was able to go to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival," she said. "These traveling experiences have really opened my eyes. I feel way more prepared for my future because I went on these trips."

About to begin her senior year, Werner is thinking about attending graduate school for arts administration after she graduates next year - perhaps at the University of Denver in Colorado.

"Classes at MCLA are great," she said. "The class sizes, for me, have never exceeded 30. If I needed help on a project or paper, my professors have always been there to help me - no matter what it is. I know that any class I go into I can get that help."

So far, her favorite class has been "Museum Studies."

"In this class, I was able to work alongside my peers to curate an exhibit at MCLA Gallery 51. I learned about the process of picking artists, advertising, marketing, and even how to work with other people."

What's the best part of being an MCLA student? Werner says it's all the clubs she's joined and the people she's met here.

"I also love that the North Adams offers a lot to the students - like free admission to various events, and discounts.  It's very rewarding. MCLA has so much to offer its students outside of the classrooms," she said. "It is really easy to find something that you would like and enjoy."