Arts Management: Student Testimonials

Grace Phan-Nguyen

Specialist: Arts Management 
Major: Theatre and Performance Studies

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
My high school had a class in arts management and students and professors from the UTSC program came to visit our class to discuss the programs and answer questions. I connected with the professor and was thoroughly engaged with the work that was presented to me. Theatre and Performance Studies was my major as I was naturally drawn to the art form.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
Arts Management: The AM program is an invigorating, engaging, and challenging program. The program is as useful as you make it to be as it offers many opportunities to explore your industries and interests. It is flexible enough to allow you to explore your practice and it is well rounded enough for you to specialize in your field of interest. You need to come into the program with the determination to advocate for yourself and your passions. I love how our mantra is "It depends." as it encourages us to think outside the box of "right and wrong ways of doing things" and pushes us to be creative problem solvers.

Theatre and Performance Studies: TAPS is a flexible and enriching program. It offers classes for theory, practice, and technical theatre. The professors and members of the faculty are highly invested in students' interests and the student body is very much of a family. The department offers many opportunities for the students to experiment and explore various interests before going into the industry. Therefore, it is not uncommon for students to be highly involved with the Toronto theatre scene during their undergraduate studies.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
1. It's okay to not know what you want to do. Just try it, do your best, and if it doesn't work out- try something new.
 
2. Take every opportunity that presents itself to you. A missed opportunity may be a closed door later on.
3. No one really cares what your GPA is once you're out in the industry; they care if you can do the job. Fail now in a safe environment and practice to be a better practitioner for wherever you may go.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation?
 
I will be attending the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies to pursue my master's and create theatre.
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
First year: My first year was the year of adjusting to the workload, evaluating my priorities, and navigating through my various ambitions/social interactions/identity.
Second year: Deciding on my program was not a difficult decision. However, I focused on applying what I was learning in class to my various part time jobs in the theatre community.
Third year: I started to experiment and explore other industries while studying and found an area of interest.
Fourth year: I specialized and actively found work in my field of interest while studying.
Fifth year: I was mostly finishing my program requirements to graduate while working.

Tamara Vojinovic

Specialist: Arts Management

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
My entire life I have loved the Arts and business - therefore I thought this program encompassed both of my passions.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
In Arts Management, you learn about the not-for-profit sector (as most arts organizations are not-for-profits). Throughout the years you take courses that are more general courses, as well as more specified courses such as Marketing for the Arts, Fundraising and Development, as well as courses for leading an Arts Organization (as an executive director or an artistic director).
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
1. If you are passionate about any kind of art (Theatre, Music, Performance Studies or the Visual) and the art of leading that kind of art, then this program is for you.
 
2. This program does not teach you about managing a commercial business but a not-for-profit.
 
3. The fundamental basis of being an arts manager is that you are passion-driven not profit-driven, and that is why students choose this program.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
 
To be honest, I do not know yet. I am hoping that my love for education and outreach as well as marketing and a fast paced environment will be fused into a job for me after University, but I am discovering new things about myself everyday so we will see what happens.
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
I am about to complete my second year, at which point I am hoping to double minor in Theatre and Performance Studies as well as Media Studies. Since I am passionate about entertainment and was unsure about what I wanted in the beginning, I started in first year taking general courses such as intro to media, intro to management, into to psychology, intro to anthropology and intro to arts management. These courses helped me to complete most of my breadth requirements for graduation so I am thankful for that, and they also helped to steer me in the direction of the arts. In second year I began to work for Julie Witt in the Arts, Culture and Media Department as an events assistant for the programming team, and since I continued my arts management specialist in the filed placement stream I did a shadow placement at Young People's theatre which really helped me to gear myself towards theatre. I took Theatre History and Technical Production (both great courses for those who want to go into Theatre), and I took Media courses (Media and Religion as well as Music, Movies and Meaning- courses I absolutely loved) - which is what finally made me decide to double minor. Next year, I will take marketing management courses, theatre courses, media courses and arts management courses.

Eunillyne Tan Lazado

Specialist: Arts Management
Minors: Music & Culture and Theatre and Performance Studies

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
In high school, I really enjoyed my theatre classes and being involved in my school’s music program such that I wanted to learn more about them in university. All history, theory, culture and performances aside, I really wanted to learn how both of them intersect in interdisciplinary art. Therefore, it became important to me that I do both together. All of the universities I applied to would not allow me to do both, so when Professor Barry Freeman from the Theatre and Performance Studies program said that I can do both at UTSC, I decided to accept the University’s offer. I started my first year with the intentions of doing a double major in Music and Culture, and in Theatre and Performance Studies programs within the Department of Arts, Culture and Media (ACM). I heard about the Arts Management program from my fellow musicians in the UTSC Concert Band. I heard that it was quite intensive, required a lot of reading and writing, and a fast-paced program. However, what made me interested is that I could combine both art and business, which I wished I explored more in high school, in the program. Also, I knew that if I were to find a career, I would want to work in a field that I could see myself enjoying and holds value for me. I applied to get into the program in the summer of my first year, and here I am now in my final year!
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
Entry to the Arts Management program is quite competitive. What I really like about this is that all students in the program have their own major interests; therefore, undergraduate experiences in the program are quite customized for each student. I’d like to think that being an arts management student, I get to have the best of both worlds because I’m not ‘stuck’ in one specialist, but I get the chance to float around and learn more about music and/or theatre. However, don't be fooled: Arts Management is quite intensive, requires a lot of work, and is competitive - it's all worth it, though! :) Similarly, the Music & Culture program is its own community within ACM, as well! With the changes in the Calendar, the program is more flexible than ever! There are three streams of studies: Music and Society; Community Music; and Music Creativity and Technology. You can create your learning experience in music and your course selection based on your interests in these three streams. On top of that, you may pair your Music Major (or Minor) with other disciplines. Many of my peers in our performing ensembles (UTSC Concert Band, UTSC Concert Choir, UTSC String Orchestra, or Small Ensemble) pair their Music Major with studies in computer science, biology, and management, to name a few.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
1. Keep an open mind and be prepared to learn. We all come to university with our own way of thinking, and attending classes and participating in discussions may or may not change the way we think. Be open to these thoughts, to new ideas, and try your best to apply critical thinking. Most importantly, as a professor of mine ALWAYS says: "Write it down!" Write your ideas down, no matter how small or unimportant they may seem to you, because you never know when you'll need them. Always come prepared to class, and make the most of the resources around you!
 
2. Seek help when you need it. You don’t have to go through all of your undergraduate career alone! ACM has the most helpful staff, who will help you when you need to book a rehearsal space, or rent out the AV equipment you need for class or a project. The faculty is superb and friendly; and they have a lot of experience working with not only their research, but also the classes you are taking. Most importantly, they want to help you! Don’t be afraid to say “hi” to them - get to know your professors and visit them during their office hours! One of the things I learned throughout my undergraduate career is that professors are more likely to help people who are proactive in their learning and experiential experience, so take the initiative, and start conversations with them!
 
3. Have fun! University is a place to explore, learn and gain more in-depth knowledge on your interests, so use it as a safe space to experiment and step out of your comfort zone. Join student clubs, or even start your own! Gain experience through the work-study program, and see if there’s a way to work with the professor, or department of your interest! Take advantage of all the available opportunities, and use them to shape your own undergraduate experience, because university is more than just hitting the books - it is also about the experience. Get involved, take it easy, and know that you have a support system with you when you need it.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
 
This past year, I have been taking a very interesting course on Community Music and how music is being used as a tool for developing communities in various lenses, such as in adult education, social justice, and community music therapy. I have been getting more and more inspired by what I am learning that I am currently applying to the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) for the Master of Education program in student development, as well as community development. I want to investigate how I can use arts-based approaches to develop stronger communities and engagement in higher education, and with the community partners that the institutions work with. On a completely different (but slightly related) note, I would really love to work in developing educational programming for schools within performing arts organizations, such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Canadian Stage.
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
My academic journey is quite different than how it might have looked like, had I applied to the Arts Management program directly from high school. Therefore, my journey was quite unconventional. I started my first year with the intentions of doing a Double Major in Music & Culture and Theatre & Performance Studies, therefore, my first year consisted of taking the introductory courses I need for both programs, such as Introduction to Theatre, Listening to Music, Music of the World’s Peoples, and Materials of Music. I also used my first year of university to satisfy my breadth requirements in the Natural Sciences and Quantitative Reasoning categories - I found that the earlier I was to do this, the better, because they are meant to be exploratory courses for first years, and if I already thought of doing further studies after my undergraduate career, it would not affect my final GPA as much. My second year was quite complicated. When I was accepted in the Arts Management program at the beginning of my second year in undergraduate studies, I started taking my introductory arts management courses, such as Introduction to Arts Management and Audience and Resource Development. In addition to these, I also took two introductory management courses from the Department of Management. Because Arts Management is a specialist program, it was not recommended for me to do a Double Major due to heavy workload. After speaking with my program director, we have agreed that I will be doing a double minor instead to satisfy the Arts Requirements within the specialist program. This was a great compromise because I was able to do arts management, and still practice both of my artistic disciplines. With her permission, I was also able to take a few B-level arts management courses due to my previous experiences. I also continued taking music history and theatre history courses to satisfy my double minor requirements. In my third year, I took the majority of the B-level and a number of C-level courses in Arts Management, such as Principles and Practices in Arts Management, which was one of my favourite courses because I had the chance to go on a 30-hour placement with an arts organization. I had the chance to learn about and work with the Toronto Children’s Chorus, one of the world’s finest treble choirs (after finishing my placement, they immediately hired me for that summer. I am currently still in touch with the organization since I joined their Youth Choir). Some of the senior level classes I took during the year were the Legal & HR in Arts Management and Arts Marketing. In this program, most classes are cycled through every two years, therefore it is important to take required courses as soon as they are offered in the year, or you might have to wait for two more years to take it. I also took my senior Theatre and Performance Studies classes, and participated in the annual theatre production, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. After that winter semester, I successfully finished my minor in theatre. Last fall, I completed my requirements for my music minor. A fantastic aspect of both my minor programs is that they are very flexible, and it is up to the student to shape their own learning through the choice of courses. To fulfill my requirements in music, I took courses that included Jazz; Music, Movies, and Meaning, and Introduction to Community Music. At the moment, I am on my way to finishing my degree. I am currently taking two senior Arts Management courses: Fundraising and Development in the Arts, and the Senior Seminar in Arts Management (or simply Senior Seminar). Senior Seminar is a capstone course of the graduating cohort. It allows students to apply what they have learned throughout the past four years in the program into the creation, planning, and execution of a project that is of value to everyone in the class. In addition to these, I have been taking the course, Exploring Community Music, which is a continuation of the introductory course from the fall, which allows me to learn more about community music, and explore other interests/areas of studies in music that is beyond performance and teaching. The past four years have been quite intensive and busy, but I am thankful for the challenges I have encountered throughout my undergraduate career. From interesting course structures, through the experimental things I have done, I even made it through all the calendar changes in all of my programs! It requires a lot of planning, organizing, and road mapping your path every single semester, and the following semesters ahead. I`m glad I came to UTSC, and I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to study what I love, and learn more from it beyond the readings and the walls of the classrooms. I hope you find a home within the community of people you are learning with, no matter which program you choose, and know that there is help all around!