Last Thursday I went to a symposium hosted by Emerging Upstate Arts Professionals with my box office manager and the marketing assistant at my theatre. We're all looking to network and meet more people like us- people who want to be a part of the arts community in the area in many capacities. As you know in my previous posts I'm really frustrated at the seeming lack of arts employment opportunities here. The symposium covered all kinds of topics including employment. I wish I could say I left feeling better about job prospects but I can't. I can, however, say that I feel like I've started something that is great for me in a way that's bigger than just getting a job. I've found a community.
I'm really lucky to have the boss I do at the theatre. We're closer in age than the other people who work in the box office and we both want to stick to management. Many of the other people there are younger and want to be actors. That's fine- we all love the theatre and I love talking shop with everyone there. This part time job has been really great for me. I don't make much extra cash but it's flexible, it's still extra money, and I'm with people who know what I'm talking about when I pick plays apart. (My co-worker last week said I would be a great theatre critic because I really pay attention to detail. Finally! Someone who doesn't stare at me blankly when I talk about the show we just saw.) Anyway, my boss and I don't work many shifts together but it's really great to be able to talk about the future of theatre, ways to market theatre, and audience development. She's really supportive of me trying to get into the community here. I wouldn't have found the EUAP without her and she let me hitch a ride to the symposium.
At the sympo I met a few other people. There weren't that many people there to begin with but it was better that way. We were able to meet everyone there and everyone I spoke to was really open to conversation be it about jobs or arts in the Capital District. I even ran into someone whose job I interviewed for when she was leaving the New York Arts Educator's Association. She remembered me and my resume! That was a boost. She even took my resume to pass on! It was a great first meeting and I can't wait for the one in December.
I plan on becoming an active participant with the EUAP. I even joined Americans for the Arts today to bolster my sense of community- even if it is a bigger, national group. But I don't care. I'm starting to feel connected. I even made friends with someone who is trying to get an arts job in the area and if I can get my act together we're going to reconnect through the interwebs.
All in all, the trip to the meeting was a success. I can't wait for the group to get bigger and include more performance people. Most people there were visual arts. I don't care. We're all working towards the same goal, something pretty amazing. This is very exciting for me.