We caught up with several members of the Class of 2010 to see what they’ve been up to since graduation. Read some of their responses below, and be sure to share your own updates with us.
Melanie C. Quick
Life has been a whirlwind since college! Once I graduated, I briefly worked for a radio station before landing my dream job with at the North Charleston Coliseum & North Charleston Performing Arts Center, where I quickly realized that performing arts is my passion! During my 5 years at the NCPAC, I helped design and then teach an elective course, Venue & Event Management, that is still offered at the College today. The opportunity to give back to the Arts Management Program through this course is something I’m incredibly proud of, as the program has positively impacted my life and who I am today!
After 5 years at the NCPAC, I accepted a position as the Marketing Manager of the James Brown Arena & The Bell Auditorium in Augusta, GA where I currently live. In a nut shell, my job is to market our events and to be the liaison between the facilities and the local community. Outside of my career, I have an amazing husband and crazy dog that I love dearly. If there’s one piece of advice I could give to a rising senior: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life! Find it and pursue it!
Maggie Roudsari (née Hendricks)
Since graduating from the College of Charleston’s Arts Management Program, my career has evolved along a unique path. Just two weeks after graduation, I became the Executive Director of a small nonprofit arts council in rural South Carolina. I was thrown into a leadership role that forced me to quickly employ everything I had been studying, from marketing and fundraising to program management and operations. A few years later, I had the opportunity to take on a similar role back in Charleston and spent a couple of years developing an organization dedicated to supporting a network of regional interdisciplinary arts organizations through professional development opportunities and support services.
At the end of my tenure with the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts, I had an epiphany that my skills were better suited specifically for resource development and strategic planning, and that while I had a passion for the arts, my true calling was actually in environmental science and conservation. I enrolled in the College’s Certificate for Nonprofits and Fundraising continuing education program and learned that the South Carolina Aquarium was on the cusp of launching a $25 million campaign. Since joining the Aquarium, I have discovered a new world and a new passion for nonprofit work and fundraising, in particular through grant and proposal writing, that has led me on a journey to recently become the Assistant Director of Advancement. I am proud to be part of leading a team that has transformed the Aquarium, raising more than $16 million to date, which includes funding for a world-renowned veterinary facility for the care of endangered species of sea turtle.
The Arts Management Program—what I learned, my professors, and my classmates—have all remained an integral driving force behind my success. While I may be in a very different field now than where I began, I apply the principles and concepts I learned in the program daily, and I have begun to explore my own creativity and the very definition of art through a different lens, all of which was inspired by my time at the College!
After completing my Arts Management undergraduate degree in 2010, I was so strongly convinced that art and humanity are inseparable. After a gap year, I decided to focus on art’s impact on the micro level, the way art processes and final products can impact a person’s well-being. I attended Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia and received my Master of Science in Art Therapy and Counseling. After practicing as a clinician in North Carolina for a few years, my husband and I moved to Chicago, Illinois, where I am now a full-time therapist and youth behavioral health manager in the Wellness Program at RefugeeOne, the largest refugee resettlement agency in Illinois. I work with refugee youth and adults from more than 11 countries speaking more than 13 different languages and provide culturally sensitive mental health services and support after their arrival in Chicago. Treatment includes case management, problem solving, trauma therapy work, and, of course, art making. They teach me so much about art and living every single day.
I was unable to leave behind the world of spreadsheets and events, however, so I also work as a wedding planner for Wrap It Up Parties and Bliss Events here in Chicago. Fundraising and Event Planning courses from CofC directly prepared me for the level of organization and coordination required for large scale events. In the past month, we planned the 100th Anniversary Celebration for Radio Flyer Wagons. It was a blast!
Recently, as a merging of my two career paths, I wrote and published The Wedding Check-In: The Short List of Big Questions Before Marriage. I utilized several of the marketing skill learned while at CofC to help self-publish and sell the book, and then came back for more arts management skills to promote the book through features in well-known publications, such as Modern Luxury Weddings magazine. I hope the book is a helpful resource to contemporary couples who are engaged and undertaking the wedding planning process. Maybe one day I’ll be able to plan a wedding on the peninsula in Charleston and come full circle!
I am the Executive Director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. We are a statewide nonprofit focused on advocacy, leadership development, and public awareness for the arts across South Carolina. I am the sole employee of the organization, so I lead every component of our work. Whether it’s public funding for the arts at the state and federal level, education policy that supports the arts, tax policy that protects nonprofits and artists, business policies that make it easier for creative professionals to land a job or grow their company, or local policy that helps communities embrace the arts, we work on a wide range of political topics to ensure that the arts are supported throughout South Carolina. Additionally, we host workshops and forums around the state for creative professionals to grow their knowledge in the field, and also push out information about the impact the arts have on our lives and communities to the public at large.
Simply put—I would not be where I am today without the Arts Management Program. You name it, I’ve had to use it in the professional world. Booking Grammy-winning artists? Had to do that in my last job where I ran an arts center. Writing grants? That happens essentially every other month. Creating marketing materials? I manage our organization’s website and do all of our graphic design work. Understanding how GDP is measured from my economics class? I talk about arts and culture impact on national GDP almost daily.
The Arts Management Program’s mix of arts-specific courses, business, nonprofit, and the valuable internship requirement were all a part of the equation for me in my career thus far. There is a clear path from my days at the College, to my first job running an arts center, to my second job working for a local government, to my current job running a statewide advocacy organization.
I’ve been extremely lucky to work at the Alliance Theatre since moving to Atlanta in 2011. The Alliance is the leading producing theatre in the Southeast and a division of The Woodruff Arts Center (along with The High Museum of Art and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). Like most early twenty-somethings, I started as an intern working in casting, producing, and new play development. After the year-long internship ended, I was hired to assist the Artistic Director. Every day had me doing something new and I was exposed to all facets of the theatre. I loved it and it really solidified my desire to work in management at a producing regional theatre, but I knew I needed to have more experience in production. In 2015, I left administration to become the Associate Production Manager.
This was the perfect move for me at the perfect time and the knowledge I’m gaining in this position will be vital to me when I move into a general management position. The Alliance has played a huge role in the first decade of my career (including meeting my husband in the lobby!) and although I’m not planning to be here forever, I have no regrets about finding my place and growing in one amazing organization.
Being a graduate of the Arts Management Program at CofC has been such a benefit to my career. Many of the younger people applying for our internships and jobs don’t have the coursework background to hit the ground running when they first arrive on the job. Having the vocabulary to discuss organizational structure, financial management, and long-range strategic planning has been invaluable.
I am currently a personal assistant to a pop singer in Los Angeles, CA. Although based in LA, my job has me traveling all the time both internationally and in the US. At CofC I took courses on Music and Venue Management, and both of those courses really resonated with me. My junior year I took an internship at Gold Mountain Entertainment, an Artist Management company in Charleston. Because of the internship and the classroom experience, I knew when it came to choosing a career that I wanted something related to Artist Management. A few years after graduation, I made one of the craziest/best decisions of my life and moved out to LA. I couldn’t be happier with this career path that I’m on. I definitely have the Arts Management [Program] to thank for helping to spark my imagination and give me the knowledge and confidence to get me where I am today.