Today: Apr 21, 2024

New Arts and Culture minor

Sarah Shelton – Photo Editor 

With the university constantly evolving, there is now a new minor for students interested in art administration. 

“Studying the arts and humanities at Southern gives you the unique advantage of the cultural richness of New Haven, a city with some of the nation’s leading organizations in the visual and performing arts, cultural heritage and preservation, and the public humanities. The new minor in Arts Administration and Cultural Advocacy offers an introduction to that professional world by helping you develop skills for a more diverse range of careers,” According to the Inside Southern website.  

Some of the classes in this minor include Topics in Arts Administration and Cultural Advocacy,  Internship in Arts in Administration and Cultural Advocacy, and more. 

The website also states, “The 19-credit minor is particularly ideal for Art, English, History, Music, or Theatre majors, interdisciplinary students, and those hoping to add an arts-related focus to another professional discipline.” 

This minor has been coming together since 2019, and it has finally been accomplished. 

“For a few years now I have been receiving multiple calls from local Performing Arts organizations looking for entry-level administrative help. Through independent studies and internships, we had steered students on an individual basis into the Arts Admin. Field,” Co-coordinator of the arts administration and cultural advocacy minor Mike Skinner said. 

Skinner said he realized there was still “a need for more.” 

“When we stepped back to take a look, we noticed we could serve the industry and our students better by creating a program with a focus on BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] students with a hope to change the face of the existing, predominantly white, leaders currently in Arts Admin roles in the area. This minor was created by working with some of the local arts organizations to specifically help fill their needs by offering new paid internship opportunities for our students while advocating for cultural diversity at the local and national level,” Skinner said. 

This minor is open to all majors at the university and takes a minimum of three semesters to complete. There is even a new course created for the purpose of the minor. 

“We developed one new course. This is a course being taught by practitioners in the field. So, this fall they were taught by a woman named Lucy McClure, who is the founder and director of Nasty Women’s CT, which is a feminist arts organization. She has extensive gallery experience and also received her master’s in Women’s and Gender Studies from Southern,” Associate professor of English and co-coordinator of the arts administration and cultural advocacy minorJoel M. Dodson, said. 

AAC 200 is a three-credit course taught by different people. 

“Students get out into New Haven and see who’s working behind the scenes at yellow libraries, at the New Haven Museum, the symphony orchestra, the arts and festivals. Likewise, in the spring, it’ll also be taught by a practitioner in the field whose name is Caitlin Daly-Gonzales, whose the education director of the symphony orchestra. So, Arts Administration 200 is a new class that allows students to get direct contact with practitioners in the field,” Dodson said. 

While the major is for all students, as the chair of the theatre department, Skinner wants theatre majors to know this could be helpful. 

“There is a lot of overlap with training content and internships. The theatre industry is one facet of the performing arts that needs a culture shift to start at the administrative level. The Theatre Department provides many of the course options available to Arts Admin. minors and shares the goals of Cultural Advocacy,” Skinner said. 

Both Dodson and Skinner said 15 people have already signed up for the minor. 

Interdisciplinary studies major Aleeki Shortridge, a senior, said she had not heard about the new minor, but would consider it if she had more time at the university.  

“I think it’s pretty great that they have it as an option now,” Shortridge said. “I love theatre and the arts in general so I like this it’s something that gives students the opportunity to hone in on those passions more.” 

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