By Brittany Worthington, TPA Student Employee
Often the best things in life are those that stick around—the people and performances that last far beyond their debut. Whether it be The Phantom of the Opera's 30-year run or Audra McDonald’s six Tony Awards, longevity is often the sign of something great. The same holds true for Sigrid Knudsen, who has been ushering with Texas Performing Arts for more than 30 years.
While finishing her Ph.D. in Art History at the University of Texas, Sigrid started her career as an usher with the Austin Symphony Orchestra in 1986. Not long after, she joined the usher corp for Texas Performing Arts.
Sigrid’s ties with UT and the College of Fine Arts have been long standing. She is a proud UT alumna of the Art History program, and in 2001, Sigrid was named curator of the UT Visual Resource Center where she oversaw the digitalization of the Center’s extensive slide collection. When she isn’t ushering, Sigrid continues to teach art history at the Lifelong Learning Institute and enjoys traveling abroad with her husband, John.
Despite her extensive work and education in the field of visual art, Sigrid doesn’t consider herself a creative person.
“My creativity is based around enjoying the arts. I’m always so astonished and so impressed that there are people who, often at great cost, pursue those capabilities,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see them share their enthusiasm and dedication for their art with the audience. I love it.”
It is that passion for the performing arts that has kept Sigrid coming back to usher, year after year, show after show.
“Ushering gives me the chance to see and hear a lot of performances that I really enjoy, but it also gives me the opportunity to explore different kinds of performances.”
Sigrid has been a passionate patron of the arts from her time growing up in Germany. She remembers waking up early—or waiting through the night—to stand in line for a chance to see a standing-room-only performance.
Through her ushering tenure, Sigrid has seen a number of shows at Bass Performance Hall. Some of her recent favorites include the South American dance company Grupo Corpo, and the classical vocal ensemble, Chanticleer. Having ushered and attended so many performances, Sigrid has a deep understanding of why the performing arts are so important.
“The performing arts allow you expand your own horizons,” she said. “You’re enjoying beauty or you’re being reminded of big issues in the world that you might not think about every day.”
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