Gabrielle Skinner : New Haven Symphony Orchestra Fellow & Viola Extraordinaire

Gabrielle Skinner

What is the NHSO Fellowship?

New Haven Symphony OrchestraThe New Haven Symphony Orchestra has introduced a brand new fellowship that could change your life. The two-year program is open to promising, diverse violinists, violists, and cellists pursuing an orchestral career. With the intention to include more diverse backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in orchestras, the NHSO strongly encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply and join the ranks of some of the best professional strings players at this program.

Two key differentiating factors of this program are community outreach and mentorship. Fellows bring classical music into the New Haven, CT, community through hands-on work in local high schools, and merging language arts and music through hip-hop. Fellows also have the opportunity to rehearse and perform alongside the orchestra, receiving invaluable career development and audition preparation. This direct, hands-on enrichment within the fellowship encourages generational inclusion and one-on-one learning that is truly in a class of its own.

What it’s like to apply, win, and then experience life as an NHSO fellowship recipient? To find out, we spoke with one of this year’s inaugural award winners, 24-year-old Gabrielle Skinner. A dedicated grad student at Rice University, Gabrielle is based in Houston and travels to CT regularly to participate in her fellow ship at NHSO. A kind person, lovely conversationalist, and an incredibly talented viola player; Gabrielle has earned every bit of this fellowship. Read on to learn why and hear her story. Read more

Program Spotlight: Powerhouse Theater Training [Playwright Review]

Interested in attending the Powerhouse Theater Training Program? Then be sure to continue reading to hear first hand from a student about their life-changing summer at Powerhouse!

I stumbled into The Powerhouse Theater Training Program almost by accident. The spring before my final semester of college at Central Michigan University, as a Musical Theatre major, I spent all my free time auditioning for summer theater companies and generally trying to figure out how I fit in the world as an artist and soon-to-be college graduate. After attending an informational call-back with Producing and Education Director Michael Sheehan, I found out about the Powerhouse playwriting program. The timing of this meeting was nothing short of serendipitous. I had just finished writing a script that turned out to be the first of many, and I used that work to apply to (and ultimately be accepted into) the program as a playwright.

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How to Nail Your Songbook Academy Audition: Be YOU! Tips from a Songbook Academy Mentor

The Songbook Academy Summer Intensive logo

We’ve shared advice on selecting the right audition material, which is a critical part of any audition, but the next step, once you’ve found that perfect piece is how to make it your own and nail your audition. If you would like the inside scoop on how to make your video a standout, meet Songbook Academy Musical Director and Coach, Beckie Menzie. Read more

Careers In The Arts | Music: Joel Cummins (Umphrey’s McGee)

Joel Cummins, Umphrey's McGee

Joel Cummins | Umphrey’s McGee

A common misconception about careers in the arts is that they’re all fun and games. But to truly make it as an artist, it takes countless hours of hard work, optimistic thinking, and a voracious love for your craft.

After playing over 2300 shows in 20 years with his touring rock band Umphrey’s McGee, keyboard wizard and vocalist Joel Cummins knows a thing or two about spirit and drive. Since creating the band back in their college days, Umphrey’s has accumulated a rich history with 10+ albums, a devoted fan-base, and a can-do attitude that allows them to take musical risks like no one else in the music business today.

But how did it come to be? What does it take to be a successful rock star? Read on to learn why education is crucial for musicians, how Joel has used his music to raise thousands of dollars for Alzheimer’s, and a fun story about how Umphrey’s wrote their fan favorite tune and named it, “The Triple Wide.” Read more

Careers In The Arts | Graphic Design: Christie Casselring (Destination Imagination)

Christie Casselring Acceptd Careers in the Arts Blog Graphic Designer

Careers In The Arts: Graphic Design

One of our favorite aspects of doing what we’re passionate about at Acceptd is meeting other people and organizations who are just as passionate about the same things! Every day we’re excited to help connect young artists with opportunities that help them learn, thrive, and succeed. With school break on the horizon, we’ve recently shared the Acceptd Summer Guide which includes camps, programs, internships, and information about careers in the arts.

To really dig into what it’s like working in the arts as a graphic designer, we talked to the fantastically creative Christie Casselring for the scoop. Christie is the Senior Graphic Designer and Merchandise Manager at a Cherry Hill, NJ, non-profit organization whose vision truly aligns with our vision here at Acceptd, called Destination Imagination. As international programming, represented around the world and in almost every US state, you can live anywhere to get involved! They are awesome. Read on to see why.

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Careers In The Arts | Elaine Pond (MusicNL, Newfoundland, Canada)

Elaine Pond : MusicNL

Newfoundland Recently we shared our Acceptd Summer Guide, which includes information on internships, programs, camps, careers in the arts, and study abroad opportunities. If you’ve considered this educational adventure, but don’t want to be more than a short flight from home, Canada is a beautiful place to consider. Most Canadian provinces speak English, and the local culture will offer you something different and unique. FYI: a passport is required to travel into Canada. For passport information, click here.

While the first Canadian cities to mind may be Toronto, or maybe Vancouver, there are lots of other gems hidden across our vast neighbor to the North. To learn more about careers in the arts and what it’s like working in the arts in Canada, we spoke with Elaine Pond, Volunteer and Youth Engagement Coordinator at MusicNL. This musical mission is located in St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.   Read more

Artists Go All In For Las Vegas


Last Sunday on October 1, the senseless Las Vegas shootings at the Route 91 Harvest Festival shocked us completely. While concerts are usually places people go to let loose and celebrate life, this event took a horrific turn.

Now considered one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, 59 people lost their lives and 489 were injured. That’s 548 people impacted physically. That doesn’t even count impacted friends, family, and loved ones. Or the endless psychological and emotional repercussions of such a tragic event that touched everyone in attendance that night.

In today’s world, we’ve sadly learned that people WILL act out in anger, fear, and hate. It is our job as artists to both: NEVER be one of those people, and to come together bravely in the face of adversity, lifting each other up whenever necessary. We know that as artists, sometimes we need to speak for those that don’t have a voice. To showcase the strengths of the marginalized. And to use our empathetic skills to show people what’s been in front of them all along: that love always wins.

Since last Sunday’s attack, artists across America have come together to support Las Vegas and those affected. From fundraising, to blood donations, to artistic support, artists have gone all-in for Las Vegas. Here are a few examples: Read more

Careers In The Arts | Artist Spotlight: Shanna Banks (Columbus, OH)


September was an incredible month at Acceptd. Since August, we’ve added thousands of opportunities, we’ve been circulating  our awesome Career Guide, everyone is back to school, and we’ve been uncovering true stories about Careers in the Arts from real artists from all across the country.

So far in our Careers in the Arts interview series, we’ve spoken to a Freelance Musician and Voice Coach, a Performer and Assistant Producer of Events at Circus Picnic, and a TV Writer, Stand-up Comedian and TV Actor. While all of these artists are part sof larger creative teams in their various roles, they all share something in common: independent drive to achieve. No one picked them out of the crowd, and said, “Hey- you. Ya, you. Come up here. Here is your dream job, I thought you would like to do this for your career.” No-it just doesn’t work that way. You have to know what you want, then take action to get what you want. Each of these amazing artists forged ahead, despite all odds, to achieve their dreams themselves. And they’re not done yet! These working artists are constantly hustling.

For our last interview in this series today, we’re excited to share Shanna Banks’ story with you. A successful cake artist and self-starting entrepreneur, she is one of the cheeriest, most driven people we’ve come across. Shanna hasn’t let anything stop her from achieving her goals and sharing her art. Challenges are just part of life’s recipe, and Shanna is an incredibly imaginative  baker.

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Careers in the Arts | Artist Spotlight: Will Miles (New York, NY)

When it comes to careers in the arts, success comes in many forms. Here at Acceptd, it’s our goal to not only introduce you to viable career options in the arts, but to also help expose some strategies you can use to position yourself successfully. We’ve put together a Career Guide with lots of great insight, but, we know how important it is for you to hear real stories from real people, doing real art. To help facilitate this, we’re excited to share an interview with full-time Writer, Actor, and Comedian, Will Miles.

Based out of Brooklyn, New York, Will writes for The Chris Gethard Show on truTV, and is an actor in roles on Hulu, HBO, and Comedy Central, as well as a handful of other networks. He performs stand-up comedy around the country delivering his own material, co-hosts a regular podcast with fellow comedian and girlfriend Giulia Rozzi, and co-hosts a wildly popular weekly comedy show with his two best friends called “Comedy at The Knit” on Sunday nights at Brooklyn’s world-renowned entertainment venue, The Knitting Factory. To top it off, Will released Good Year, his debut, 40-minute stand-up album just last year. To say the least, Will is not bored.

L to R: Clark Jones, Will Miles, Kenny DeForest. Co-hosts of Comedy at The Knit.

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Careers in the Arts | Artist Spotlight: Jen McGinnis (Austin, TX)


When it comes to careers in the arts, success comes in many forms. Sure, we’ve all heard of jobs like “sculptor,” “movie star,” “punk rocker,” and whatever “being a Kardashian” is. But when it comes down to it, there are almost infinite ways for creative-types to shine in today’s world.

To get some deeper insight on what it’s like to be a full-time artist, we chatted with Jen McGinnis, Assistant Producer at Circus Picnic. Based in Austin, Texas, Jen works as both a performer and assistant curator of events for the creative video and entertainment studio whose motto is, “Let’s Make Something Great.”

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