Conference aims to encourage future artists

This Saturday, St. Olaf students of various disciplines will have a chance to soak up the experiences and wisdom of alumni employed in the fine arts, dance and theater at “Making it in the Arts: Locally Grown.” The event is a one-day forum that facilitates discussion between students and local artists from multiple disciplines who have forged their own paths in the arts.

Artists will speak in break-out sessions about topics ranging from art type fine art, dance and theater to practical art application community education, grants and marketing and will meet with students in informal networking opportunities.

“The panelists will likely talk about their experiences post-college since many are St. Olaf alums,” said Madeleine Senko ’14, a studio art major helping to coordinate the event. “Through talking about the logistics of their specific jobs and why they are interested in the arts, [alumni will show students] how they can balance making a living while staying true to their art.”

In addition to having well-respected and successful art careers, all panelists work and reside in Minnesota, offering connections that students can capitalize on while attending St. Olaf.

“We chose the theme ‘Locally Grown’ because we want St. Olaf students to see the connections and opportunities within their reach,” said Rachel Brooks ’15, another conference coordinator. “There are thousands of successful artists in the Twin Cities alone. It is advantageous for arts students to not only hear their success stories but also create connections that could potentially assist them in the future.”

Brooks and Senko are both students in the arts management class that has spent significant time coordinating panelists, spaces and break-out session topics, ensuring that this weekend’s conference will be both successful and enlightening.

“From this process, we have learned that collaboration is necessary for a successful organization or event,” said Rachel Kvanbeck ’14 regarding the larger lessons the arts management class will take away from organizing the conference. “Although working with a large group can be challenging, it allowed us the opportunity to understand the wide range of skills in our class and the process of planning an event.”

Though registration for the event’s luncheon was set to close Thursday, Oct. 24, students of all disciplines may still pre-register for the conference online at

The event is co-sponsored by the Piper Center for Vocation and Career, the Management Studies Department and the fine arts departments.

Image by Emma Johnson

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