Tess Favini ’14, second from left, and family at her May 2014 graduation.
Alumna’s first job is the perfect fit
Tess Favini ’14 of Fitchburg, Mass., combined her Bachelor of Arts degree in arts management with her love of event planning and came up with her ideal job: She’s the junior events producer for Design Museum Boston.
A pop-up museum with no permanent location, Design Museum Boston holds exhibitions and events throughout the Boston and Cambridge areas. As its junior events producer, Favini is responsible for the planning and management of their yearly event series like Design Museum Mornings and UNITE, as well as the Field Trip series.
According to Favini, there’s never a dull moment as she coordinates speakers, locations, volunteers, and food and drinks for the various series, and handles the promotions and marketing of each event.
“A lot of my job is talking to really smart people about new ideas regarding design, so I am always learning something new! I also have the privilege of visiting a lot of really cool spaces and venues in Boston,” she said.
As an MCLA student, Favini’s career focus changed. While she remained committed to her arts management major, she found herself increasingly drawn to event planning as she took charge of events in her involvement with the Student Activities Council (SAC).
“Eventually, I found a really interesting compromise between a lot of the different disciplines I was interested in, which ultimately were cultural events and programming,” she said. “After graduation, I applied to a bunch of different types of arts and cultural jobs, but was lucky enough to find Design Museum Boston’s posting, which ended up being the perfect fit for me.”
It was through SAC that Favini honed many of the skills she uses at her job. At the same time, MCLA’s arts management program prepared her to work in a museum setting.
“I had a strong understanding of how museums function and survive as non-profits, and that’s definitely important for my current position,” she explained. “I also graduated with a lot of hands-on experience. I had a few internships that were event-based, as well as tangible experience from classes that have stayed with me.”
While at MCLA, Favini served a number of internships she said were crucial to obtaining her position at Design Boston Museum.
“I interned at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the City of North Adams and Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development while I was at MCLA, and was given real day-to-day responsibilities,” Favini explained. This experience, she added, “made the transition from intern to full time staff really easy.”
She believes her experience at MASS MoCA – because it is a major museum – was a big factor in securing her job.
“I already knew how museum programming was structured, so there wasn’t a learning curve. I also was able to say that I’ve successfully balanced managing multiple events and performances on top of my academics while I was still in school, which is a skill that’s applicable to the position I hold now.”
What’s her advice to others who want a career in arts management?
“Take advantage of all of the crazy impressive opportunities made available through MCLA,” Favini said. “Arts management in particular has a network of amazing connections throughout the Berkshires, and a ton of people who want to help connect students with organizations through internships and volunteering. You have to get involved to make these opportunities happen, though!
“All MCLA students are lucky enough to be in one of the most beautiful and culturally abundant parts of the state,” she continued. “Also, the small class sizes mean that your professors get to know you personally and are typically available for one-on-one help. Arts management students in particular are lucky because they have a staff that is like a personal cheerleading squad. My professors always wanted to help me succeed and use their connections and resources to do so.”