The FSU Department of Art Education would like to sincerely congratulate Arts Administration master’s student, Achia Floyd, on her recent hire as the Executive Director of the Tallahassee Youth Orchestras (TYO)!
When asked about the position, Achia had this to say:
Did you ever imagine obtaining the position that you have today?
Part of my graduate study has been identifying just what aspect of Arts Administration I want to choose as my area of focus, and the role of Executive Director has been the career path that most interests me. However, I never expected to obtain a career position half way through my degree program. I wasn’t sure that I could obtain an ED position right out of graduate school, so I planned to enter into another aspect of arts administration until I could obtain the position. Although I have worked toward broadening my scope of experience within my degree program, I am still shocked that I have been hired as an Executive Director so soon.
What opportunities did you pursue that led to your current occupation?
Most recently, this past summer I worked for the National Repertory Orchestra as the Artistic & Education Intern. I have a music performance background, as well as a fair amount of experience teaching and managing arts organizations, so I wanted to gain experience as an Artist Liaison as well as Operations experience. This Internship not only provided me with the “real world” practical knowledge necessary to grow, but also the credentials necessary to obtain a career position.
With regards to opportunities provided through curriculum, I have learned so much through courses like: Leading the Arts Organization, Principles of Arts Administration, Grant Writing, Fundraising and more. The service learning component in those courses proved invaluable in gaining experience and practical knowledge concerning the administration of not-for-profit organizations.
How did you become involved with the Tallahassee Youth Orchestras initially? Why were you attracted to this organization?
I was actually a member of Tallahassee Youth Orchestras throughout my childhood. The opportunity to give back to an organization that had so much to do with my life path was a possibility I could not pass up.
What unique abilities/traits do you possess that gave you an advantage when pursuing this position?
Although I am new to the field of arts administration, I am no stranger to orchestral performance or management. I studied music performance for both a Bachelor and Master’s degree, I have worked as an elementary school orchestra teacher, and as a professional free-lance classical musician for a number of years. That combination of experience coupled with skills learned from course study has shaped my point of view as unique.
Did any particular experience in your Master’s Program so far provide you with tools needed for this occupation?
Gosh, there are so many experiences from this program that aid me in working for TYO that its hard to pinpoint just one. Aside from the previously mentioned practical application of knowledge, I think there are two aspects of the program that are special. In every class I am challenged to “think in new ways,” and to think critically, not just accepting that certain aspects of administration have to be any certain way. Second, the diverse background of the students I sit in class with provides a major leg up. I get to learn about museum administration, dance administration, and I throw my two cents in concerning music administration. I learn about the arts and culture system of China and the unique opportunities that the not-for-profit system provides US organizations. These varying ideas culminate in truly eye opening conversation and the “out of the box” thinking that is at the root of the fresh ideas I bring to the organization. I guess you could say, the unintentional aspects of the arts administration curriculum are just as valuable as the intentional concerning the practical application of knowledge and tools learned.
What are your plans, goals, and objectives as the new Executive Director of the Tallahassee Youth Orchestras?