MCLA Students Get Hands-On Experience in the Arts Industry Gaining Knowledge and Know-How in NYC


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Nine undergraduate students from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) last week traveled to Manhattan in New York City to participate in the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference, Jan. 8-14.

The APAP conference is a five-day event for arts professionals where presenters, agents and artists have the chance to network, conduct business, discover new artists and share knowledge pertaining to the industry.

The trip, funded by the Alice Shaver Foundation, provides an opportunity for arts management and fine and performing arts students to explore the field of arts management through a vigorous schedule of professional development seminars, artist showcases and cultural experiences. Participants gain a clearer understanding of the arts industry, while they expand potential career horizons and are aided in the transition from student to young professional. 

"Overall, APAP was amazing! I made connections, saw amazing performances at the HERE Arts Center, and spent a week living like an arts manager. It was an experience that could further my future professional career," said arts management student Alexander Butfilowski '15.

The overall project and mission of the trip was for students to apply their skills to assemble and book a 2014-215 MCLA Presents! performance season, as assigned by faculty and staff who accompanied them on the trip: Jonathan Secor, director of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC); Dr. Lisa Donovan, associate professor of arts management; and Melanie Mowinski, assistant professor of visual art, as well as by BCRC Coordinator Jennifer Crowell.

According to Donovan, "Each year we select a group of top-notch students to participate through a competitive process. It's an experience that provides an immersion in the performing arts. Students hear from thought leaders and experience theater, dance and music in cutting-edge work. We talk about what they've seen in relationship to what they are learning in class. By the end of the week we are a bonded, cohesive group that is transformed by what we've experienced."

"My experience at APAP was unparalleled, and cemented what I've always believed - that working in the arts is where I belong," said Mary Rose Petrozola '14, a fine and performing arts student.

Highlights of the trip included new work such as the Prototype Festival's "Thumbprint," a contemporary opera addressing social injustice, as well as known favorites including "King Lear" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


If you would like more on this topic or to schedule an interview, contact Veronica Gibson at 413-374-8605 or

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Please credit images to Alex Butfilowski, who took all of the photos posted to this page.