Art Immersion


Eight MCLA arts management students traveled to New York City last month to attend the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference. An annual event, the conference is the world's largest marketplace for the performing arts, and the top destination for arts administrators who want to see the latest in artistic performances from around the world.

"Not only did I network with people actually within the arts management business, but the whole experience gave me a better understanding of what I'm working toward," said Nora Weiss '12. "Spending time in New York City with my peers made me comfortable stepping out of my shell to talk to big, important record producers and booking agents.

"APAP is a wonderful opportunity. Anyone in arts management should apply to go. It's literally taking the classroom to the street and applying everything to the real world," Weiss said.

This year's APAP trip offered not only an immersion into the world of performing arts management, but a taste of what it's like to live and work in New York City. For the second year in a row, students stayed in an uptown hotel.

In addition to saving money, "The really nice thing was we actually were in a neighborhood," said Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA. "It was not far from the neighborhood I grew up in. We were right on Broadway and 95th Street, and there were lots of coffee shops and little bodegas and restaurants and diners. There was more of a feeling that we were in a real New York neighborhood, and I think the students really enjoyed that. We spent more time on the subway, which I also think is great."

This year, an extra day was added to allow more time to experience some visual art as the students visited some galleries in Chelsea and went to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. One of the largest gothic cathedrals in the world, it features two dozen chapels dedicated to the arts.

The group also went to the Tenement Museum, dedicated to telling the history of New York City living and what happened when people first moved from homes on several acres of land to approximately 500 square feet of space, with neighbors in close proximity within a single building.

"It was a great way to introduce people to New York by starting with its history," Secor said. "Being in New York is really about being in an urban center, where we became urban dwellers, as opposed to rural dwellers."

As a result of the experience, Secor hopes those who pursue their arts management careers in New York City are more familiar with it. While there, the students also caught up with MCLA arts management graduate Kate Adams '10, who lives and works there.

On another day, the students were joined by MCLA theatre professor Laura Standley on a visit to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where they saw a production of Henrik Ibsen's "John Gabriel Borkman," performed by Abbey Theatre Company of London.

The students also attended the Global Fest, where they experienced music from all over the world - 12 different bands on three stages. And, they attended the Japan Society, which showcases contemporary Japanese dance.

Next week, the students will meet to brainstorm on what they might bring to the next MCLA Presents! performing arts series season, which Secor is in the process of planning.

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