Cecilia Wright is a senior arts management student at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and the membership assistant at The Clark, in Williamstown, Mass. If you had asked her at the beginning of her four years at MCLA what she wanted to do, she would have told you, “Anything in arts management that allows me to do my own art.” This still holds true.
By the time each student enters their senior year of college, they are expected to know what they want to do with their lives. For some, the clarity is there from an early age.
Cecilia Wright’s interest in the arts management field began while she was a five-year-old girl, although she knew nothing about arts management. Like many children at that age, she wanted to be a doctor so that she “could interact with people on a daily basis.” On the other hand, this also was the time in her life when she discovered what art was.
Cecilia said she first discovered art when her uncle made sketches of Looney tunes characters for her. Because she was 5, she wanted to color in the pictures. However, her mother would not let her color in the images because she said that it was her uncle’s art. Cecelia noted, “This was the first time someone ever explained to me what art was.” From that day forward, she was hooked.
As Cecilia grew, both her love for people and art held true. She enrolled at MCLA as an arts management major, completely unaware of all the possibilities that this field would allow her. One of the opportunities that being in arts management afforded her was connecting with The Clark.
Cecilia first became acquainted with The Clark as a fieldwork assignment for Lisa Donovan’s “Grants and Fundraising” class. She worked in the membership department, although “they couldn’t really give me projects to do, because I was there for such a short time,” she recalled.
Instead of being content with the small amount of work and completing her hours, Cecilia wanted to get more from the experience.
“After my fieldwork, I asked them for an internship so I could learn more,” and the Clark happily accepted her as an intern. Working at The Clark as an assignment for a class got Cecilia’s foot in the door, but it was her work ethic that allowed her to stay.
At the end of her internship The Clark offered her a part-time position. Now, at the end of the semester, Cecilia may continue her work at the museum this summer. She enjoyed how the position blended together her love for people and passion for the arts.
Reflecting back on all of the time that she has spent at The Clark, she said, “Things in the real world build off each other.” A five-year-old learns the basic facts they need. For each year of schooling, one’s knowledge builds on those initial facts. According to Cecilia, the “real world” is like that, too.
Going into the final stretch of her senior year, she has what many students dream of having; a job that applies to her major. Looking forward, Cecilia said she would love a full-time job in membership, but she is going to keep her options open. Looking to the future, Cecilia will continue to work hard and challenge herself to keep learning in the years following her graduation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Victoria Page is an arts manager interested in community-based work in the arts. She interns for the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition’s Youth Leadership Program, working to help area youth develop leadership skills. An arts management student at MCLA, she coordinates the arts management blog, overseeing the design and content, building bridges between MCLA students, prospective students, alumni, and people interested in the field.