The Florida State University Department of Art Education would like to congratulate Arts Administration Master’s student Marit Evans for obtaining a position at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado! Marit is finishing up her last semester in the Arts Administration program and will be graduating this Spring Semester.
The Anderson Ranch Arts Center’s mission is “to enrich lives with art, inspiration and community.” At the Center, they ” recognize human beings’ lifelong need to develop personal creativity and to discover, learn and grow. Artists of all levels come from across the country and around the world to explore new ideas, hone their art making skills and engage in meaningful dialogue at the Ranch. Both an international center and a close community, Anderson Ranch welcomes adults, art students, children and teens―from beginners to the leading artists of our time.”
Marit Evans had the following to say when interviewed about her new position:
1. Did you ever imagine obtaining the position that you have today?
After completing my first year in the Arts Admin program, I realized I had developed a strong interest in nonprofit development and began to see it as a great possible career path for me. Although at this point I hadn’t heard about the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, I did know two things- I wanted to move to Colorado after graduation, and I wanted a job in nonprofit development. So, even though I didn’t know where these two factors would converge, the fact that it happens to be at the Anderson Ranch is a such a wonderful outcome. I am extremely fortunate!
2. What opportunities did you pursue that led to your current occupation?
With regards to opportunities in the classroom, I definitely took advantage of what my professors had to offer. Signing up for classes like Dr. Cuyler’s Grant Writing and Development in the Arts (ARE 5867), and Dr. Hodges’ Fundraising Strategies in the Arts (MUM 5815), gave me a great opportunity to ‘try-out’ and learn about development, and eventually, it’s what lead me to pursue development as a viable career path.
Outside of the classroom, I sought out internship experiences I knew would help get me to where I wanted to be. For example, after my first year in the program I knew I wanted to work in development, I knew I had to fulfill a certain amount of internship hours to graduate, and I knew that I eventually wanted to move to Colorado. So, in an effort to kill three birds with one stone, I got a development internship with the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado. This internship not only gave me extremely great ‘real-world’ experience in grant writing and development, but it also helped me get my foot in the door (the door being the Colorado arts and culture community).
3. How did you become involved with the Anderson Ranch Arts Center organization initially? Why were you attracted to this organization?
After a particularly rough day of job hunting, I decided instead of looking at job boards, I would look up arts organizations in Colorado, and visit the websites to see if they had any job openings. I’m not sure how, but after a little while, I ended up on the Anderson Ranch Arts Center’s website. The second their website loaded I was interested, and, it just so happened there was a development position posted on their job openings.
I was attracted to the Anderson Ranch for many reasons, but I knew I had to apply when I read their mission: “Anderson Ranch Arts Center enriches lives with art, inspiration, and community.” An organization that is truly a part of, and cares about their community, is something that is very important to me, so after reading their mission, I knew I had to apply.
4. What unique abilities/traits do you possess that gave you an advantage when pursuing this position?
Although it’s never ‘easy’ to break into the job market, for me, even with having an internship in Colorado, it was quite difficult to go through the application process via email, telephone calls, and Skype, rather than face to face conversation. Although technology made it possible for me to get my job, it is much harder to present yourself accurately through the phone or video calls. Luckily, my outgoing personality made it easier for me to find ways to connect with the people I interviewed with and leave a lasting impact on, even if I wasn’t really in the room.
5. Did any particular experience in your masters program give you provide you with the tools you needed to lead you to this career path?
I think I would refer back to question #2 here for the particulars! But in addition, I can honestly say that every class I took and internship or service learning experience I had, has informed my career path in some way or another. It is quite exciting to be nearing the end of my graduate career and realize that so many classes have parallels to my career at the Anderson Ranch.
6. What was the most important/influential thing that you learned while in school?
It’s extremely hard to narrow everything I’ve learned down to one most important thing! However, in the big picture, I would say that the Arts Admin program taught me how to think creatively and strategically. In a sense, the program taught me ‘how to think’ in ways I hadn’t before. Of course, the physical I knowledge I learned is extremely important to where I am now, but being taught to think about things creatively and strategically will forever influence my career and life in positive ways.
7. In pursuit of your current position, were there any major setbacks that you had to overcome?
As I briefly mentioned before, applying to jobs in another state absolutely complicated my job search. Not only did I have less connections in Colorado, but being from out of state can also hinder your opportunities because it’s easier when applications are more accessible. Every application I sent in, I made sure to state I was extremely interested in relocating, and would be available via Skype or telephone call whenever was most convenient. Likewise, during the interview process, I had to get used to meeting people via Skype or telephone call, and making sure I found ways to connect with people on a personal level so when they hung up the call, they would still remember me.
8. Do you have any advice for students or professionals who might desire to follow in your footsteps?
My first bit of advice would be to get all the experience you can while in school! During my time in the program, I went from a fairly spacious resume, to one with two long-term internships, over 120 hours of student service learning/volunteer experience, and memberships in clubs and associations. Of course, at times I was overwhelmed and felt over-worked, but looking back on it now, I can definitely say it was worth it.
My second piece of advice is to think long-term about your goals and where you want to be when you graduate. Whatever your career goals may be, seek out opportunities now that will provide you with helpful experience. Leave wiggle room incase you try something and change your mind, but be proactive about finding experiences that bring you one step closer to your long-term career goals.
9. What do you hope to do after assuming the position at the Arts Center? Any future plans/ goals?
In the near future, I hope to bring a fresh set of eyes and ideas to the Anderson Ranch’s development team. Not only do I want to be an asset to the Ranch, but also learn everything I can from them. If all goes well, I hope to grow with the Anderson Ranch and maybe one day I’ll get to be the person helping the new Development Associate start their first job in the ‘real world’.
Again, the Department would like to congratulate Marit on her achievement and wish her luck on her future endeavors.