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APAP Blog: Combining International Relations and The Arts

APAP Blog: Combining International Relations and The Arts

Friday, February 7, 2020

Through our student employment program, we professionally involve students in every aspect of our organization here at TPA.  However, we know that the professional arts world is so much bigger.

To help our students break into that wider world, we take a select group of students to New York each year to attend the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Conference and connect with our growing network of TPA alumni. We hope that their blog entries reflect their experiences and inspire them to become the next generation of arts leaders.

–Tim Rogers, Assistant Director of Student Engagement

Outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

APAP Blog: Combining International Relations and The Arts

By Becca Wrench '20

As a graduating senior, I am often faced with the same question. “Becca, what are you going to do with your life?” And every time, I try and laugh it off. “Ha, ha. That’s a good question,” I tell them. 

When I learned about the APAP Conference, I was excited for the opportunity to attend. New York is a city with great culture. With everything from Broadway to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is much to see and do. I must confess, I was mostly excited to see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.  All jokes aside, I also thought it would be a great experience to learn more about job opportunities in the arts.  

My degree in International Relations and Global Studies may not have anything to do with the arts or arts development, but I’ve always cared deeply about the arts. So, as I prepared for the trip, I also prepared myself for questions about contributing to a conference for performing arts professionals. 

Little Shop of Horrors at Westside Theatre Upstairs

However, once I arrived, I realized that there is not one kind of artist or arts professional. Everyone is very different, with their own interests, and their own interpretation of being part of performing arts. There are people in the arts with careers you wouldn’t even imagine. I found that these amazing people didn’t really mind that I was studying something other than the arts. Instead, they were fascinated. 

Some of them even expressed that for a career in the arts, my passion for the practice matters more than the courses I studied. These professionals helped me realize that my experiences in government would provide me with a unique perspective on a career in performing arts.  

And vice versa; I could provide others with a different perspective. After hearing about my educational background during an arts communities session, an artist approached me.

“It’s so cool to have another creative involved in areas like government. We would be really lucky to have someone like you in Washington.” I felt so valued. 

Overall, the APAP Conference was an enjoyable and eye-opening experience. Before the conference, I believed that I was destined for a busy and art-deprived career in politics. Now, I know I can find work merging my two interests. I can do both! Life in performing arts is what you make of it. 

Inspiring our students to be the next generation of arts leaders is one of the most important things we do. Learn more about our Student Engagement programs here
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