Art in New York


Nine MCLA arts management students will play a role in helping local cultural organizations plan their upcoming performing arts seasons after participating in the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference, held Jan. 7-12. An annual New York City event, the conference is the world's largest marketplace for the performing arts, and the top destination for arts administrators who want to experience the very latest in artistic performances from around the globe.


On Friday, Jan. 29, the students will present their suggestions for what they think the 2010-11 MCLA Presents! season should look like to the series' advisors and collaborators. Attendees at the presentation to be held at MCLA Gallery 51 will include representatives from Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and the Railway Café music series.  

The APAP trip offered a true immersion into the world of performing arts management. Along with Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA, and Jessica Conzo, program coordinator at MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, the students viewed art at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoMA); attended four shows at the Under the Radar Festival, produced by the Public Theatre in New York; five contemporary dance pieces at the Japan Society; four works-in-progress at the HERE Arts Center; a Samuel Beckett play, the After Party cabaret hosted by Brandon Cutrell, 12 performances at GlobalFest, as well as six talks and talkbacks, including those with Tony Micocci - the author of their performing arts textbook - National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman, and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis. 

 "While most people were at home enjoying their first cup of coffee, I was admiring the actual painting of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" at the Museum of Modern Art," says Vanessa Leikvoll '12, of Hinsdale, MA. "This, of course, was in addition to pieces by Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali, Picasso, and the Tim Burton exhibit. I had never been to the MoMA, so I was truly thankful to have been able to go."

The conference is a global endeavor. APAP allowed the students to experience Irish theater and Japanese and Korean dance. Other APAP performers included those from England, France, Africa, Turkey, Columbia and Senegal. At GlobalFest, the conference's major world music event, students heard from dozens of artists.

"The band Caravan Palace, a jazzy, funky, techno French band, was what many in the group were excited to see," says Leikvoll. "I was looking forward to hearing Namgar, a Siberian Shaman rock group. This event was an incredibly eye-opening experience into the realm of world music."

The students spent hours talking with performers and agents, and had dinner with MCLA alumni who work in the fields of performing arts and arts management. "This was a wonderful connection to have made, as it allowed the students to see the real possibilities for them after an MCLA education," Conzo says.

Gary Noke '10 of Concord, MA, says the conference inspired him to work harder to get into the arts field. "It enhanced my education by giving me hands-on experience in the world of presenting and the arts," he says. "The best thing was the opportunity I had to make many connections with people I would never have otherwise met. Talking to other professionals really gave me a good idea of what it takes to get into the arts business as a presenter or agent."

This year marked the fourth trip that MCLA students made to APAP. The opportunity to attend the conference was made possible through the generosity of a private donor.