At Texas Performing Arts, we take our role as educators and mentors very seriously. Through the day-to-day activities of our student employment program, we are able to professionally involve students in every aspect of our organization—but we know that the professional arts world is much larger and wider. To help our students break into that wider world, we have an ongoing program to 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. At our core, as managers of student employees, we’re educators, and having the opportunity to show, connect, and inspire our students to be the next generation of arts leaders is one of the most important things we can do. –Tim Rogers, Student Engagement Coordinator
APAP Conference: A Future Career in the ArtsBy Rohan Teredesai, TPA Student Employee
My initial reaction to going to Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Conference involved a lot of thinking about exploring New York and the entertainment-filled Midtown outside my shifts as a volunteer. The face-value of being surrounded by Broadway theatres was at the forefront of my mind.
However, the APAP Conference became a true contender for my attention. When I reviewed the showcases, I saw that a surprising number were located in the Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen area. Not only were some of these showcases free to watch, but they were performed by professional artists---some rising stars and some classical performers. In addition to the these showcases, I volunteered at the conference itself. As a volunteer, I was involved in a range of tasks from registering attendees to watching over sessions. Volunteering also allowed me to see some of the best arts presenters and arts managers talk about their niche vocation or their philosophies within the workplace.
My particularly favorite session talked about making money through an organization’s mission statement. After a round of debating the idea that one can’t make money in the arts, the panel of speakers discussed efficiently promoting and presenting shows.
One memorable story was the implementation of experiences---events that highlight and promote the culture behind the shows at the venue. In this case, the show was Noh-kyōgen, a form of traditional Japanese theatre. The event was centered around bridging the differences between Kentucky and Japanese foods, particularly Kentucky bourbon and Japanese sake. It was sponsored by a local bourbon company and its parent company, a sake manufacturer sponsored the event. The result was increased awareness, and higher than projected ticket sales.
As a Radio-Television-Film major at the University of Texas at Austin, I admit that there is an allure to Hollywood and Los Angeles as the center of American filmmaking. However, my time at APAP also allowed me to fully understand the daily work commute, New York art districts and work culture in New York. My time at TPA has provided me with valuable knowledge about which career and city would be best option for me in the future.