Part B Student Learning Portfolio
Art In Society AAD 550
1. When I began this class, I stated in my learning objectives that I wanted to get back into the habit of abstract thinking, saying that this class could be “physical fitness for my frontal lobe.” I do feel that I achieved that. My frontal lobe is in much better shape. I enjoyed using my imagination (like for Module 4, when we talked about the future of arts programming), and as the term went on, I found it easier to understand and analyze dense texts like Becker’s Art Worlds.
2. I wanted to become better acquainted with Eugene through my Field Guide. I have definitely accomplished this. When working on the Guide, I went to five different music venues in town. I also met and interviewed people working in music locally. This was a great way feel more at home here in my new locale.
3. I hoped “to understand my position better as an arts administrator within society.” I had detailed questions that I hoped to be able to answer:
- How does an arts manager/administrator contribute to the artistic process or the generation of creative output? In answer to this question, in the case of working for a music venue, I would say there is a great range depending on the type of position the administrator holds. It has a lot to do with the size of the venue, the staffing structure, whether it’s nonprofit or for-profit, and what the organization’s mission or guiding values are. I learned that if I want to be a part of the creative process in an organization, I’ll have to make that a goal when it’s time to find a job—not all arts admin positions afford this opportunity. Additionally, not all organizations care equally about the quality of art they promote.
- What is an arts administrator’s responsibility to facilitate the making of “good” art? Making “good,” or meaningful, or important art is not a goal or value to all arts administrators. It’s only an arts administrator’s responsibility if they make it so—although they also must keep in mind the wants and needs of the stakeholders and constituents of their organization, especially if it’s a nonprofit.
- Is the arts administrator’s responsibility to the artist they are supporting, the audience, their organization? Who is the most important to please? Again, there’s a lot of variance here—it depends on the individual and organization. I still haven’t answered this question. I think generally, though, the responsibility should be to the audience/public, since that’s ultimately who the arts administrator is working for.
4. I hoped to be able to define “transmedia” and find examples that “excited” me. I did become comfortable with the idea of transmedia by about the midpoint of the course. I found many live music-related examples for my Field Guide, and I enjoyed “curating” them. What I discovered is that transmedia is a pretty broad term, at least as we used it in this class. It is basically anything that expands the content or narrative of a central topic. What best summed the term up for me is a Jenkins quote from “Transmedia Storytelling 101”: “This process of world-building encourages an encyclopedic impulse in both readers and writers. We are drawn to master what can be known about a world which always expands beyond our grasp.”
5. I wanted “to deepen and broaden my current base of Internet resources for all things art and society.” I have done that; I’ve discovered and bookmarked many new blogs and websites. Again, research for my Field Guide was especially helpful in this regard.
6. Finally, I said, “As an artist myself, I would like to remember to consider all course readings and material from that point of view, not just as an outside analyzer or future arts manager.” This wasn’t so much a learning objective as a directive to myself. I did consider readings and class discussions from both points of view—arts administrator and artist—as well as consumer/audience/patron, and indirect supporter of the arts (like Becker talking about the people that manufacture canvas for a painter they’ll never know). This class helped me to think about the arts more globally.