The Liberal Arts & the Performing Arts: A Perfect Partnership

Published July 9th, 2013

This week we’d like to welcome our very first guest blogger, Patricia Krahnke. Patricia has over 15 years of inside college admissions experience at Rutgers University as the Assistant Director of Admissions and at Vermont State College as Dean of Admissions. Although she has worked with thousands of families from all disciplines and backgrounds, her heart is in the arts. She has a BA in creative writing and an MFA in playwriting. Her plays have been read in New York City and London, and her play was a finalist in the Hinton Battle New Play Competition. She knows what it takes to succeed in the performing arts and in college admissions. And she wants to share that knowledge with you.

Here’s a question: How will you live your life and work in a more traditional setting (or in a business aspect of the arts) to keep a roof over your head while you are seeking success in your art form after college?

1. Business coursesFemale college student pondering a decision while reading a book

Be prepared to enter any business environment (including your own non-profit arts entity, should you be so inclined) by taking fundamental business classes, such as Business Technology, Accounting, Intro to Business, Finance, etc. You will understand what it takes to run the arts business and how to participate in business decisions that are being made on your behalf as an artist.

2. Writing and Communication

Why wait tables when you can hire yourself out to non-profit arts organizations as a grant writer, make a lot more money, and start paying back those student loans?

Or become a reviewer or blogger for a local (or national!) media entity. Reviewers get to see everything for free. It’s a wonderful way to see what’s going on out there in your art form.

3. Logic and Reasoning

Employers want employees that can think clearly and critically. Courses in Philosophy enable you to think through problems and conflicts and understand ethical considerations, which will help keep you out of trouble.

4. Literature

The performing arts are about storytelling. Literature provides knowledge about history, costumes, languages, cultures, social strategies that fail and succeed, poverty, wealth, love, passion, pain, and joy.

5. Social Sciences

Psychology matters. Actors need to know what makes a person “tick”; directors need to understand how and why people interact the way they do both verbally and nonverbally; musicians need to understand the way music affects people. History courses provide a deeper understanding of and for your art. As a creator, it’s important to know what has been created in those areas before so that you can build upon them for your own work.

If you pursue a liberal arts B.A., you will receive solid overall preparation for your life in the arts.

So are you smart enough – and educated enough – to do what it takes to create a sensible foundation on which to build your amazing life and pursue your passion to phenomenal success?

I’ll bet you are.

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