My Boston Update

BU TerrierIt has been a while since I have written.  I feel the need to apologize, though part of my writing journey has been to give myself a break and write when I feel compelled, not when I think I should.  So, after just over four months on the job as the Managing Director of Boston Universities Arts Initiative, I thought I would give you a brief update.

Spring has finally begun here in Boston, and it couldn’t come soon enough.  Unlike many folks, I do enjoy snow.  As long as my power doesn’t go out, my dogs and I are perfectly happy with a snowy stroll and On Demand.  However, there is something to be said for sunshine. It changes my perspective and boosts my energy.  I am truly looking forward to exploring more of the Boston area.

On the job front, I couldn’t be happier.  This was hands down a good move for me.  It is a job I am capable of, and if I do say so myself, excelling at, but it is a challenge, and I am enjoying that as well.  Like most positions in the arts, I don’t have the staff or budget to do what we dream of doing, but through partnerships with fantastic colleagues – both faculty and staff – we are putting together some great initiatives.  Boston University is a large university – 16 schools on two campuses with approximately 33,000 undergraduate and graduate students. My role is to raise the visibility of the arts and build engagement in them, thereby enhancing the student experience.  So you can imagine, the possibilities are endless.

I won’t bore you with all the details of my past four months.  Suffice it to say, it has included a great many meetings and some significant strategy sessions.  The results thus far are exciting.  We have launched grants to support special projects that engage students in the arts, and to support the use of the arts in teaching.  We are building our communications network, sharing resources and exploring joint marketing through our marketing group, and rapidly growing our social media and weekly email blasts.  We had our first faculty lunch in partnership with the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching, which was fantastic. And we are supporting some great  upcoming projects including a student mural on a parking lot wall, and the expansion of writing seminars call Arts Now.  We also have our Spring Signature Event in two weeks! The Crossroads Project is a truly unique arts event exploring climate change co-sponsored by the Dean of Students and sustainability@BU.  We are building a student advisory council and activating the amazing faculty and staff on the Provost’s Arts Council. I have part time staff assistance, a work study, an intern, and we are in the process of hiring a graduate assistant for next year and selecting a summer intern.  If I have learned anything over the years, it is how to build an army  coalitions.

The other exciting thing that is happening involves another coalition that I am pleased to have helped create, Arts Administrators in Higher Education (AAHE). This is a network of arts administrators across the country on 28 different college and university campuses.  While our jobs are sometimes radically different, all of us share the chief goal of engaging students in the arts.  Most of the programs I just listed have been stolen adapted from my amazing colleagues in AAHE.  It has been exciting to see our ranks grow this fall, with new friends from all over.  I am thrilled to be part of a movement across the country that recognizes the intrinsic and extrinsic value of the arts in college education, and I fully expect it to continue!

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