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
By Adrienne Banks, TPA Student Employee
Traveling to New York City for the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference was an exhilarating, exhausting, and rewarding experience! Since we were on winter break, some of the other TPA student employees and I headed to NYC a few days before the conference started to take in what the city had to offer. I had the opportunity to see Anastasia on Broadway with my coworkers, which was a beautiful experience, and also see The Parisian Women featuring Uma Thurman, which was hilarious and thought-provoking.
Once the conference began, the trip was a whirlwind! As a student volunteer, I was able to experience APAP from behind-the-scenes, taking pride in helping the conference run smoothly in addition to soaking in the many opportunities for education and professional development available to attendees. Volunteering at APAP allowed me to make connections with other student volunteers from all over the country that share my passion for the performing arts.
As a social work student with an interest in community arts engagement, I loved immersing myself in the landscape of youth, family, and community programming that is happening across the country. Through conference sessions and panel discussions, it was intriguing to engage in conversations exploring questions such as, “What is the role of the arts in a program-saturated community?”
I am also a board-certified music therapist who has worked with individuals with disabilities, so it was exciting to attend a session exploring how performing arts centers can make music, theater, and dance more accessible for those with sensory sensitivities.
Making contact and catching up with TPA alumni who are successful in their fields was fun and encouraging. A highlight of the trip for me was experiencing the world-renowned Lincoln Center from an insider's perspective when one of our alumni introduced us to various employees at the performing arts center. This provided the valuable opportunity to hear about different career possibilities available and paths taken to get there.
Another highlight was exploring the wide variety of showcases at the conference! I was able to experience music I didn’t know existed (like Nordic folk music and bagpipe rock!) as well as see some standby favorites (such as string quartet music and Second City improv comedy). All in all, I am so grateful to have had this experience and to everyone at TPA and beyond who made it possible for us as students to have such a rich educational experience!