"Art and culture are one of the same - they create each other," according to Marli LaGrone '14 of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. A visual arts major with minors in arts management and anthropology, LaGrone, who aspires to work in arts or dance administration, is particularly interested in the creative economy.
Last summer, she attended a two-day conference at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the "Creative Communities Exchange," which was co-hosted by the Berkshire Creative Economy Council and the New England Foundation for the Arts. Attendees gathered from six New England states to hear about dozens of programs from those working in the creative economy.
"I was definitely the youngest person there, but it was great exposure to the fields that I am studying," she said. "I think it's important to expose yourself to everything possible."
The conference introduced LaGrone to many different art-based companies and organizations in New England. "It enhanced my education. Now I have a better idea of how applicable what I learn in my classes is."
During the fall semester, she studied "Intro to Design" and "The Concrete Poem," as well as "Dance Creation and Presentation," "Great Monuments of Art I" and "French I."
"I absolutely love my art classes and the dance/arts management class. They have been a great challenge, but I've learned a lot and increased my interest in both areas," LaGrone said.
She became involved in MCLA's Dance Company during the first semester of her freshman year. "I just fell in love with it. It's the largest club on campus so I immediately had tons of new friends. It's an exciting experience to work on something for months and then get to perform it in front of all your friends, family and sometimes even teachers."
LaGrone chose MCLA because of the passion she saw in other students and faculty members for their chosen fields. And, "I think it's great that if there's something that you want to do the people here will help you do it," she explained. "Next semester I will be taking beginner ballet at Williams College, and it was a great feeling to have my teachers and advisors help me make that happen. I also am really interested in studying abroad and MCLA has a lot to offer in that area."
She decided to major in visual art because she wants to learn as much as possible about how to create art.
"MCLA's art program is quickly developing and I find it exciting to watch all the possibilities unfold. I minor in arts management because I find the topic of how to use art in the world very interesting and useful."
LaGrone looks forward to participating in "high impact" activities throughout her MCLA experience. In addition to plans to study abroad in London during the spring of her junior year, this January she will travel to New York City to attend the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference.
"It's a five-day conference at the Hilton Hotel in New York City that is a showcasing and networking event for artists and arts presenters from around the world," she said. "I expect this to have a huge effect on my education and my life in general. I just can't wait to expose myself to all the new and different thing, people, foods and careers."