Throughout the course of the year, I have repeatedly talked about the support and generosity of Bolz Center alums. Well, they have done it again. This past week, eight Bolz Center students and Director Sherry Wagner-Henry ventured to our nation’s capital to embark on a three-day visit that was coordinated by alumni Angela Han, Syrah Gunning, Kathy Southern, and former Bolz Center director Andrew Taylor.
We began our trip at the Kennedy Center and met with Bolz Center representatives from ArtPlace and the DeVos Institute, along with individuals from the Washington National Opera. After an engaging morning of case studies and discussion, we joined up with more alumni for lunch. Our day then continued and ended at Arena Stage. At Arena, we were treated to a comprehensive tour of the facilities, an impressive building that contains the original building from 1950 completely intact and within the walls of the new structure.
We spent the entire following day at American University, the new home of former Bolz Center director Andrew Taylor. AU hosted the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium, an annual event intended to bring together arts students from all over the country. With over 200 people in attendance, the schedule provided ample time for networking and discussion with other graduate students. We also heard two amazing keynote presentations from Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Karen Brooks Hopkins and Aaron Dworkin, an artist and entrepreneur (and President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts).
Our last day in D.C. was packed with meetings. We began the day at the National Children’s Museum, a wonderful facility that was recently run by Bolz alumnae Kathy Southern. Following a tour and discussion with CEO Willard Whitson, we went back to downtown D.C. with stops/meetings at the Washington Performing Arts Society, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and, finally, the National Endowment for the Arts. It was an invigorating day with the chance to connect with a diverse range of professionals.
After an eventful 72 hours, we left D.C. with a broader network of contacts, a deeper understanding of the D.C. arts scene, and expertise in navigating the D.C. public transportation system.