Since she arrived at MCLA, arts management major Kathleen Sansone ’16 of Acton, Mass., has spent almost as much time at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) as she has the MCLA campus.
From volunteer work that began in her freshman year to a recent, fulltime stint as a performing arts administration intern, Sansone has learned every facet of performing arts administration, from audience to artist services.
“I’ve worked many different types of events, including large-scale music festivals and small-scale residencies and everything in between,” Sansone explained. “You can often find me drafting an artist bio for a program, providing hospitality to an artist, or giving a public tour of the museum.”
But the best part of the experience was the opportunity to work directly with the Grammy Award- winning band Wilco during the Solid Sound music festival this summer.
“I love being able to support the artists in creating their best work possible, and giving the audience the best experience possible, as well,” she explained.
Because her focus is on performing arts management, once she graduates next spring, Sansone could find work in a non-profit such as a theatre or museum, or in a venue like a concert hall or at a music festival.
“I decided upon an arts management major in high school,” she explained. “I had logistical strengths that drew me to working on the management side of the arts. Entering the arts through arts management is one of the most feasible ways to be successful in the field.”
As a senior this year, Sansone not only serves as an Admissions ambassador, she’s the vice president of Harlequin, the musical theatre club on campus. “I’m also a stage manager for Fine and Performing Arts Theatre, and a sometimes-publicist for Yorick, which produces Shakespeare plays.”
Because of the importance of having a strong resume, Sansone recently ran a resume-building workshop for Harlequin.
“A competent candidate can be easily identified by the formatting and clarity of a resume, and also disregarded because of poor formatting, unnecessary content, and a whole host of other reasons,” she explained. “The smallest details can make or break you.”
According to Sansone, collaboration is very important in the arts world.
“Working with different clubs and organizations gave me the opportunity to learn how to work as a team, and with different types of teams. I’ve been a leader on this campus since my sophomore year when I started stage managing – an opportunity not often seen on other campuses.”
The arts management major at MCLA, she said, “is truly astounding.”
“I’m constantly working outside the classroom just as much as I’m learning inside, leading to swift application of skills from the classroom,” Sansone said. “It’s a relatively new major, not only at MCLA but in the collegiate world; but MCLA is setting a standard for what this major should be.”
The best part of MCLA, she said, is being on a campus where one’s actions can lead to effective change. “Students can become true leaders on campus, and have the power to make their college experience as great as possible.”
She advises prospective students to become involved as soon as they arrive. “Join a club, explore your interests. I consider my classes to be an important part of my college experience, but my extra-curricular experiences offer opportunities sometimes the classroom cannot offer.
“Also, start working professionally as soon as possible, especially if you’re an arts management major. Even volunteering as an usher at MASS MoCA will get you a foot in the door, and can lead to some pretty amazing things.”