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Spinning vinyl

03/26/2014

Students come to MCLA for a myriad of reasons; including the small class sizes and personal attention they receive from their professors, but Ryan Walters '15 of Collinsville, Conn., just needed one - our arts management program.

"No school in Connecticut offers arts management, so I get in-state tuition here, which is nice. Also, I love the downtown art scene. Another very important thing was how beautiful the Berkshires are. My hometown is similar and I wanted to be in an area like this," he said.

Although the arts management major - who's also completing a minor in philosophy - isn't certain yet exactly what profession he'll choose, arts management is "absolutely the career" he wants to pursue.

"I'm interested in all aspects of art and its presentation, so it seems like a good fit for me," he said.

Walters, who presents "The Vinyl Show" on the College's radio station, WJJW, on Tuesday nights from 9 p.m. to midnight, also is the station manager. He joined the radio station - which actually is a campus club - as a freshman, halfway through his first semester at MCLA.

"I have a huge vinyl record collection - about 700 albums - and I brought a few milk crates' worth with me, and only use those during my show," he explained. "Radio, although it seems to be dying out, is still a vital part of the entertainment business in my mind. It has taught me a lot about what it would take to run a station and all the small things that need to be done on a day-to-day basis."

His favorite part of being at WJJW is "just listening to good music with my friends."

"I always have somebody there with me just hanging out, and chatting the whole time. It's all about sharing music with people."

In addition to his responsibilities at WJJW, Walters is a student ambassador for the Admissions Office. As such, he takes prospective students on tours throughout the campus.

He also runs on the College's cross country team, and recently completed an internship for a class in grants and fundraising at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), where he hopes to serve another internship this summer.

While everything he's done on campus has had a "huge impact" on him, Walters also values his experiences in the North Adams community. He frequently can be found at The Parlor Café, located next to the campus on Ashland Street, where he participates in poetry and open mic nights every Thursday and Friday.

"I've performed music with a number of people and close friends that I look up to a great deal, and also I have two paintings of mine hanging there," he explained.

"There's a lot of inspiration in the air. Also, by going there I've become part of a small artist collective called Common Folk which, although it's still small, has an incredible amount of potential. It's made up of MCLA students and graduates in North Adams, all working together. We hope that, as a group, we can better get our art into the world."