20 Years with Graduates of the SUU Arts Administration Program

Published: October 21, 2021 | Author: Ashley H Palmer | Read Time: 6 minutes

Graduates of SUU Arts Administration ProgramThis school year the Arts Administration program celebrates 20 years of educating arts professionals. It consists of a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) two-year program that is done on campus and includes a hands-on internship with the Southern Utah Museum of Art, College of Performing and Visual Arts, or Utah Shakespeare Festival, as well as a Master of Arts (MA) that is completed online taking from one to six years to complete. The MFA degree began in 2001, and the MA degree began in 2013. Recently combining with Theatre and Dance, the Arts Administration program is now a part of the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Arts Administration in the College of Performing and Visual Arts at Southern Utah University.

Rachel Parker, Program Director of the Arts Administration program at SUU, says, “The Arts Administration program, a jewel of Southern Utah University, has seen unprecedented growth in the past five years with the addition of the online MA degree and continued excellence in the resident MFA degree. It is a joy to work with these talented students, helping them to become advocates for the arts, and to see them go out into the professional world ready for any challenge. Whether it be in a development department of a symphony, a high school theatre classroom, or a museum education office, these students are making a difference.”

Ryan Paul, graduate of the Master of Arts inaugural class, explains, “My experience with the Arts Administration program at Southern Utah University has provided me an opportunity to place my workday realities into a strong academic framework. As a working professional in the museum field, I was able to provide a more thoughtful and deliberate structure to the projects I was working on and the grants I was writing. The lessons learned and the tools discovered enhanced my skill set and helped me to become a stronger asset to my organization. This degree has allowed me more opportunity within and without my field. The strength of this program is that it allowed me to bring my professional talents and experiences to the table and enhanced them as I applied them to my projects and assignments. It has provided me with concepts that have broadened the way I approach complex cultural and historic issues and allowed me a virtual space to work through my ideas with a group of like minded professionals.”

Cameron Abaroa, graduate of the Master of Fine Arts degree, shares, “The Arts Administration program at SUU changed my life and my career. The concepts and practicum helped me make the transition from an artist to an artist-administrator and now to a teacher. As a teacher who now runs a theatre program, I apply every aspect of our lessons, from marketing and audience research, to fundraising and grant writing, to my work. I am forever grateful for my time at SUU.”

Established under the late Dean Charles Metten, this program has grown from seven students in 2001 to 145 total graduates in 2021. There have been four Directors of the program: Bob Fass, Matt Neves, James Marchant, and Rachel Parker. Parker has served the longest and is currently in her 9th academic year as Director. The Master of Arts degree accepted its first students under Parker and has grown into a viable and respected graduate program at SUU.

David Wicai, graduate of the Master of Fine Arts degree, says, “It is an absolute honor and privilege to be an alumnus of the Arts Administration program at SUU. Since graduating in 2014, I have worked at the state level in several divisions within the Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement. The Arts Administration program prepared me to handle almost anything that comes my way and has allowed me to work with a diverse range of organizations including arts nonprofits, cultural advocacy groups, STEM organizations, and more. My time as an MFA student also helped me grow as an individual and taught me how to contribute more in the communities in which I live and serve.”

Marlo Madsen Ihler, graduate of the Master of Fine Arts inaugural class, shares, “Back in spring of 2001, I was working on campus while my husband was finishing his bachelor's degree and I remember seeing the poster advertising a brand new masters on campus - a Master of Fine Arts. It talked about a graduate program that combined the arts with business practices. I had recently graduated with a bachelor's in music (with a vocal performance emphasis) and loved it, but knew my heart wasn't in what was required for a professional performing career. Applying and being accepted in the inaugural MFA class was such a treasure. We were a small, tight-knit group, including our director Bob Fass and assistant director Helen Cruz, and we represented a wide variety of interests and backgrounds within the arts as well as different areas of the country and world. It opened my mind to the possibilities that exist within arts management and administration, and set me on my path to hone my talents and abilities working with a variety of arts organizations since graduating from this program. It has been an honor to be able to interact with so many MFA students working on their degrees over the years as they interned at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. While the program has grown and changed, the heart of the program still focuses on the vital nature that arts organizations and artists have in our neighborhoods and communities.”

SUU’s College of Performing and Visual Arts is proud to include the Arts Administration program in their college and congratulates them on 20 years of amazing service with wonderful graduates.

About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 26 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit www.suu.edu/pva.

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