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Gabe Benghiat

The Bolz Center Goes to Washington

by Gabe Benghiat Monday, July 25, 2016

Greetings from the nation’s capital! It’s been a hot, swampy summer in Washington, D.C., but things have been pretty cool at my internship so far.

I’m working with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), the national service, advocacy, and membership organization for presenters of the performing arts. The Bolz Center has a long history with APAP, and that relationship has evolved into an annual research and consulting project. We are currently working with APAP on a three-year longitudinal study and evaluation of their newest leadership initiative, the Leadership Fellows Program (LFP). A partnership between APAP and the Arts Leadership Program at the University of Southern California, and funded through grants from the American Express Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, LFP is intended for mid-career professionals in the performing arts presenting field.

In January 2016, my fellow classmates and I attended the APAP conference in New York City. While there, we held focus groups with several of the LFP participants, gathering feedback to use during our evaluation. We then followed up with calls, emails, and a survey to gather data from almost every participant. We then analyzed the data, applied logic models, and put together a final report that we sent to APAP.

This summer, I have the opportunity to continue that work, helping to implement some of our recommendations, doing further program evaluation of LFP, and introducing our evaluative study to the new cohort of Fellows. Part of this entailed traveling to Los Angeles to help with the 1-year reunion of the first cohort of Fellows and the Intensive for the second cohort. We all gathered at USC for a week of workshops focused on leadership training, skills development, and analysis of the presenting field. I was able to observe the program in action and take detailed notes that will help me with my final report.

My main project this summer has been creating a detailed survey to send out to the LFP participants to complement my own personal observations from the week. The surveys were also designed to gather reflective information from the first cohort about their first year in the program and expectations from the second cohort as they are entering the program. I will analyze this data using techniques we learned in Data to Decisions and evaluative logic models we discussed during Arts Seminar. This will culminate in a final report for APAP and a presentation to APAP’s senior leadership.

This internship has been a great opportunity to continue the work that we started in the spring, dive deeper into the evaluation process, and see it through to the next step. This is valuable real-world experience that I will be able to draw upon in the fall when I take Marketing Research. I’m also learning about the field of performing arts presenting, and am now connected to a larger pool of organizations and contacts when I begin looking for my full-time job next year.