A few weeks ago, Bolz Center students participated in a three-day immersion of information gathering, networking, and, most importantly, inspiration. The occasion was Collegium, the biennial event that draws alumni, students, colleagues, and friends from across the country and around the campus to explore essential aspects of the field, identify streams of teaching and learning, and celebrate collective efforts to advance the arts. To kick off the events, we had the privilege of participating in the Bolz Center fall 2012 advisory board meeting. All current board members are alumni of the program. As the introductions commenced, I was in awe of the breadth of experience at the table. From the recent president/CEO of the National Children’s Museum to the chief philanthropic officer of institutional advancement at Drexel University, a common thread was apparent: the love and passion for the Bolz Center.
The next two days of Collegium events were a whirlwind of activities! Our first keynote speaker, Theaster Gates, spoke about the art of creative placemaking. Through his work on the Black Cinema House, a revitalized two-story, mixed-use building for film and media-based artists, he is infusing life and culture into one of Chicago’s south side neighborhoods. His work has garnered so much acclaim that he was awarded the honorable designation of the Wall Street Journal Magazine’s “Innovator of the Year” for Art. Our second keynote was Vanderbilt University’s Steven Tepper, the associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy. Steven is also the renowned author of "Not Here, Not Now, Not That! Protest Over Art and Media in America." His presentation and discussion on the importance of controversy in the arts was enlightening and eye-opening, and it spurred dynamic conversations throughout the rest of Collegium.
One of my personal highlights from Collegium was meeting E. Arthur Prieve, the founder of the Bolz Center and the director for over three decades. He was in attendance for our Collegium dinner and reception, along with recent longtime director Andrew Taylor and our new leader Sherry Wagner-Henry. To have all three directors in the same room—along with 40 years of alumni, current students, and friends of the program—felt truly special.
Reflecting back on the event, I can honestly say that my mind is still racing with ideas and stimulation. I am grateful for the magnitude of inspiration that Collegium has generated and am excited to continue on my MBA journey with newfound friends, alums, and supporters of the program!