is a Program Associate at the
New York State Council on the Arts. He reviews and evaluates
applications from arts organizations applying for funding,
and works with those organizations in program development
and management. Arian also hires and oversees 5-7 interns,
and implements technical assistance programs and special projects.
How early in life did you express an interest in
I would say that I was interested since high school; I participated
in a few plays and was a member of the school choir. But
the idea of really wanting to make a career in the arts
did not take hold until I got to college and directed my
How did you arrive at the decision to work in the
As an undergraduate, I was studying business management
(a field that still interests me very much to this day)
and, for fun, working on theater productions, when I realized
I wanted to pursue some aspect of theater professionally.
Yet, I found myself not wanting to choose a career in theater
over business management—or vice-versa—so I
said, "Why not combine my two passions?". It was
then that I thought of a career in Arts Management. So I
pursued both a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a Bachelor
of Science in Business Management.
What sort of education or specialized training
did you have?
I attended Penn State University. At the time there was
no school of arts management, so in order to pursue two
bachelors at once, I applied to what was then called a Simultaneous
Degree Program. I made a case that these two distinct areas
of study would prepare me to be an arts manager. I then
worked with the professors of both programs to tailor or
adjust my course assignments towards that goal.
How did you get your first job?
I began working as a Box Office Representative while I was
still in college, through the work study program at the
Eisenhower Performing Arts Center. I figured since I had
work-study hours, why not work in a job related to my career
At first I was assigned to work as part of the house crew,
basically assisting with all the manual labor involved with
loading and unloading the touring shows that came to perform
at the center. A few weeks into that, I approached the staff
member responsible for assigning work-study students to
jobs at the auditorium and I told him, "Next semester,
the heaviest thing I want to push is a pencil."
How did you come to be in the position you currently
While at Artsgenesis, I came across a job-posting for an
entry level position at Arts and Business Council, an organization
that I had always admired for their focus on connecting
folks from the nonprofit sector with folks from the corporate
sector. Given my educational background, I thought I could
be a good fit there, so I submitted my resume despite being
overqualified at this point for the position they were looking
to fill. I thought, "If I can get an interview, maybe
I can convince them to hire me at some other position based
on my skill set and business background."
And I did get an interview! The interviewer commented on
how he almost didn't call me given that I was overqualified,
but that he wanted to meet me because of my unique qualifications.
Needless to say, I did not get a job offer, but we had a
great conversation and he kept my resume on file.
A few days after the interview, the then-E.D. of NYSCA
called him up because she was looking to fill a recently-vacated
position at the Arts Council. The person who had interviewed
me at the Arts and Business Council remembered me, and forwarded
my resume to her. I interviewed for a position at NYSCA
the following week. The rest, as they say, is history.
The moral of this story is: I interviewed for a job that
I never actually applied for, and this is why networking
and getting oneself seen by prospective employers is so
important. Even if the job posting is not the perfect fit,
if it's from an organization that you admire or respect
or that you feel is a good match for you, put in for it.
What does your current job entail? What's a sample
day like for you?
My current job entails a variety of tasks including database
management, meeting with applicants to discuss funding requests,
review of applications and composing staff analysis summaries,
disseminating information by participating in information
seminars and panel discussions, and attending applicant
What do you find rewarding about working in your
The opportunity to work with many different types of nonprofit
arts organizations, and having a positive impact in the
organization's ability to better provide its programs.
What do you find challenging about working in your
The cyclical nature of the workload and staying updated
and current on the variety of resources and services available
to the constituency that I serve.
Any advice for people wanting to enter your field?
Stay professionally nimble and open-minded about the possibility
of working in different aspects of the field. For example,
I work for a state-level government agency. We are charged
with oversight and administration of taxpayer moneys that
the legislature approves for the purpose of funding artistic
and cultural programs throughout the state. Most people
don't relate the field of arts management as one that can
translate to a career in the government sector.
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