Displaying items by tag: Career Development

October 18 2022

ArtsForce visits THE BLOCKS

By Meg Johnson

In September, ArtsForce took College of Fine Arts students on a Career Trek to THE BLOCKS in downtown SLC. This nonprofit organization collaborates with local artists and businesses through events, concerts, and galleries in an effort to better connect the community.

One of the most interesting aspects of this arts organization is how THE BLOCKS tracks the economic contribution of the arts on our community. By tracking the economic contributions of the arts to Salt Lake, more funding is made available to continue to support arts programs.IMG 9367

Lucas Goodrich at THE BLOCKS shared a few of the programs they facilitate to increase the city’s revenue and make fine arts accessible to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. They host events like Glow Garden at Gallivan, Open Streets, and Last Hurrah.

As we talked to the employees at THE BLOCKS, we quickly learned that most had made the transition to Arts Administration later in their careers. Lucas emphasized to us the value of getting an arts degree. Because fine arts degrees are so well rounded, we have many options available to us after graduation and can take our careers in any direction.

Join ArtsForce for our next Career Trek, coming up at the end of the month! 

October 28, 2022
2-4 pm

PBS Utah Trek from 2-3 pm
PBS Utah101 S. Wasatch Dr.

Debrief + refreshments from 3-4pm
410 Campus Center Drive SLC, UT

*Author Meg Johnson is an Emerging Leaders Intern with ArtsForce,  and a third-year student majoring in Vocal Performance and minoring in Business Management. 

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Emeri Fetzer 

As members of the Michie Jazz Quintet, premier jazz chamber ensemble here at the University of Utah, reached their second and final year in their unique configuration, it seemed the right moment to mark their time spent playing together with something lasting, something tangible. 

Supported through an endowment generously made by the James R. and Nanette S. Michie Foundation, the group's five members had many wonderful opportunities to collaborate in a laboratory setting, and maintained a rigorous public performance schedule during the school year. As a result,  Anaïs Chantal Samuels (vocals), Evan Taylor (trumpet), Tony Elison (piano), Alicia Wrigley (bass, vocals), and Matt Wilson (drums) cultivated a unique and synergistic sound. 

“The thing that was the most powerful to me was to have a recurring group of people I love and trust and that we had the opportunity to have an ongoing journey over a long period of time...I really felt like I grew alongside Evan, Anaïs, Tony and Matt. I will miss that experience so much” 
- Alicia Wrigley 

 “As their coach this year, I encouraged them to document the sound and style of the group that they had forged together, as well as create recordings that can serve as samples for auditions, publicity, and for posterity," explained John Petrucelli, visiting assistant professor in the U School of Music.  

Before they all graduated (and before COVID-19 drastically changed their final semester), they came together to record. “My favorite part of recording the EP was being able to share that space with my friends during our final year at the University of Utah. We've all worked really hard to get to where we are musically and it was really nice to see that all come together and to have something documented that demonstrates our passion for music,” vocalist Anaïs Chantal Samuels reflected. 

As Petrucelli describes it, the Michie Quintet's EP is a study in contrast. "In the span of three compositions, the ensemble moves between multiple styles, meters, and soloists. Anais Chantal Samuels voice is featured on a wonderful old ballad entitled "Till There Was You," while Evan Taylor's arrangement of "Bloomdido" nods to the cutting edge contemporary jazz approach of Rudresh Mahanthappa and Adam O'Farrill. Alicia Wrigley and Matt Wilson have a wonderful rhythmic dialogue throughout "April in Paris," while Tony Elison's piano playing plays provocateur throughout the session," he said. 

“We had to set up a mad labyrinth of sound panels as we tried to minimize bleed between microphones. It felt like the adult version of building a blanket fort, and will be a mental image I’ll always remember,” described bass player Alicia Wrigley.

The experience not only resulted in a strong final product, it also taught them valuabe things about the music business. “I hope that our students have learned that at the heart of recording is the craft of negotiation. Between musicians, producers, composers, arrangers, studio engineers, photographers, videographers, we convene spontaneously and improvise the process as we go. Recordings highlight strengths and reveal weaknesses, leaving a remembrance of ourselves in a particular time, place and feeling, pointing to future musical ideas and passageways,” Petrucelli said.

Undoubtedly, the Michie Quintet shaped its five committed members beyond the classroom, bringing high level professional experience, and friendships to boot. 

“I can honestly say that being in this program has shown me how to act as a professional in music. I started this program in my second year and had no idea what I was doing or how to go about a career in music. From that I learned the business side of things which I now take on when working on gigs that I've booked outside of school,”  Samuels explained.

“Socially, I have to say that the Michie group has been the highlight of my college career. When I first joined this group, all of the members in the band were older than me and took me under their wings to show me all the things music has to offer and helped me build my confidence as a vocalist which was something I really struggled with. Two years ago before performances my stage fright would get the best of me and I really doubted myself but through time I was able to value myself.”

“The thing that was the most powerful to me was to have a recurring group of people I love and trust and that we had the opportunity to have an ongoing journey over a long period of time," Wrigley added. "So much of the work that we do is with pick-up groups—it both showcases our versatility and pays our bills. But playing with a recurring group, having a musical home to come back to and experiment in, that was special. I really felt like I grew alongside Evan, Anaïs, Tony and Matt. I will miss that experience so much” 

Check out "The Michie Sessions" here! 

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Sara Kenrick

Hello, College of Fine Arts students! In January I had the chance to sit down and chat with Camille Washington about graduating with an arts degree and getting work in arts administration after college. Currently, Camille works as the marketing and box office manager at Onstage Ogden and co-directs at Good Company Theatre, a theatre she started with her sister.

Camille told me that for her it has been important to keep an open mind when it comes to artistic pursuits. “Right out of college I thought I was going to get a Ph.D. because that’s all I thought you could do.” She explained that opening herself up to different opportunities has been important when creating a successful career in the arts.


“Having a real sense of intellectual curiosity has been really important to me…keeping myself open and thinking about the ways my background...could be good in different fields.”

This rang true to me since it seems that every artist I meet has taken a different path from school to career. I asked Camille if she had ever felt barred from doing her art. She described that while she was completing a fellowship at Walker Art Museum, she noticed much of the art on display seemed driven by getting well-known names on the walls and therefore big crowds through the door. Although this may be an environment many would thrive in, she explained that it wasn't quite perfect for her. Now that she’s involved in smaller arts organizations, she feels “much more comfortable because the decision making is quicker, there’s more collaboration, and failure doesn’t feel like such a disaster.” Exploring a lot of different artistic environments can help you find what works best for you.

Finally, I asked Camille what she would tell her younger self. Camille paused before saying, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” I was happy to hear this response since all of the students I know are working themselves to the bone, getting no sleep, and doing amazing work, myself included.

I know I should take more moments to be compassionate towards myself and know that not everything that goes “wrong” is going to be my fault.


A few ArtsForce Takeaways

  • Keep yourself open to new paths and opportunities.

  • Figure out what environments help you thrive.

  • Don’t be so hard on yourself.

 It was an absolute delight to talk to Camille about her experiences and insights. I hope you can take into account some of her advice. Click here to learn more about Good Company Theatre and see their upcoming season! 

ArtsForce is working on bringing you more advice from local artists so stay tuned for more! If you would like to join ArtsForce and come to our upcoming events, check out this link! 

Author Sara Kenrick is a Film and Media Arts Major with an emphasis in Film Production and a minor in Theatre. She is an Emerging Leaders Intern at ArtsForce.

ArtsForce is a student-led organization dedicated to articulating the value of your artsdegree and helping you transition from college to the workforce.

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Sara Kenrick

In January, ArtsForce took college of fine arts students on a career trek to the Rise Up School of Dance to learn more about the art professionals in Salt Lake City’s dance industry and what it’s like to start a non-profit organization. IMG 26162

Alyssa Bertelsen started Rise Up to give underprivileged kids the opportunity to dance without limitations. She feels it’s important that ballet should be supportive and inclusive so that anyone can flourish through their art rather than despite their art. It was incredible to hear from someone who wants to change the environment of their art for the better. This really inspired me to think about the difference we can make as students if we ask ourselves what we have to offer in our communities and how we can use our skills to better our crafts and our industries. 

Alyssa took us on a tour of the dance space where you can see that there is a lot of love and thought put into her practice. She explained that they rent dance studio space from the community church. The studio is a step in creating the non-profit that she wants to lead for years to come. We learned that starting a non-profit doesn’t necessarily mean having all of the pieces put together right away -- it’s one step at a time, little by little.

Alyssa and one of her fellow teachers, Savannah, discussed the importance of the work the teachers do to plan and run their classes. Volunteer teachers donate their hours for a free class every Saturday and regular teachers are paid to make sure that they can live on their art. It’s an extremely collaborative process and the result is a community of dancers that work together to make sure everyone can enjoy dance no matter their financial situation or background.

It was a privilege to hear from Alyssa and her team about the amazing work they do at Rise Up School of Dance. Check out their mission and classes here

We hope you can join Arts Force on our next career trekAnd don't forget to RSVP for our annual networking event on Saturday, March 7th

Visit our website to find out how you can get involved! 

Author Sara Kenrick is an ArtsForce Emerging Leaders Intern and a Film Production major with a minor in Theatre.
ArtsForce is a student-led organization dedicated to helping students articulate the value of their arts degree.

Published in Finer Points Blog

By LeAnne Hodges 

Hello all you rad artists! Last month, ArtsForce interns got together with the CEO of Salt Lake Film Society, and a University of Utah alumna, Tori Baker. For those of you who may not know, Tori has been CEO of the Salt Lake Film Society for 15 years. Before being part of this awesome non-profit, Tori had also worked for Sundance, helped out with the 2002 Winter Olympics, and worked at the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Based off of her experience, Tori gave great advice for undergraduate students coming out of college to focus on professionalism, leadership, and relationships.

Here are some of the highlights from our conversation with her:

One of the first things Tori advised us on was to have core ethics in your work, wherever you are working, and to not forget your soft skills. Core ethics are essentially values that you, or a company, may live by and apply to your work. Some examples of these ethics could be honesty towards others or adaptability in stressful situations. A few examples of soft skills are communication, teamwork, or creativity. Having both core ethics and soft skills will help give you a leg up on competitors, since oftentimes younger people go into the workforce without identifying them or without developing these skills.

You may be wondering “how do I develop these skills?” One of the best places to get help with that is the Career and Professional Development Center on campus! They’re super helpful with anything that helps you prepare for your career -- from what to put on your resumé, to how to build professional relationships with others.

Getting your first job out of college, or even just getting a new job, seems like a daunting task. However, fear not because Baker gave us some wonderful insight on how to nail a common interview question! A lot of interviews now pose cultural questions such as “tell me a time when…” This is done to see past behavior, so as to predict future behavior, as well as to identify how authentic you are being during the interview. When answering these questions, make sure you are answering with “I have done” rather than “I would do”. These answers let interviewers know that you have gone through a similar situation before and you know how to handle it, rather than you guessing what you might do.

Tori also discussed with us the importance of having curiosity in your jobs and how this could help you stand out as a leader. “If you see the need, meet the need,” Tori said. She also talked about creating pathways to success instead of demanding for them to be made for you. This means creating your own opportunities, as opposed to waiting to be told to do things. “Things are never instant, she said, “you need to ask ‘what does the road look like?’” 

As with most areas in our lives, developing relationships is important for success. Tori stressed to us “When choosing opportunities, never close doors.” Most importantly, NEVER ghost a job! Even if you hate it, you never know how that job or the relationships you make could affect you in the future. It is always about who you know. 

We love the advice Tori gave us and we hope you all did as well!

A few ArtsForce takeaways:

  • Identify your work ethic to know what it is you value.
  • Have creativity in the workplace. When you see the need, meet the need!
  • Always be authentic, especially when being interviewed.
  • Don’t forget to develop those soft skills!

We hope you all will keep these in mind when preparing to transition into jobs after graduation. Stay tuned for more helpful tips from professionals that we will be interviewing in the next couple of months!
If you are interested or want to learn more about ArtsForce, join here!

Author LeAnne Hodges is Film & Media Arts major studying with an emphasis in Animation and a minor in Drawing. She is an Emerging Leaders Intern at ArtsForce. ArtsForce is a student-led organization dedicated to articulating the value of your arts degree and helping you transition from college to the workforce.

Published in Finer Points Blog