Tag Archives: Arts Management

Painting the Picture: Exploring Diversity in Children’s Literature

By Lena Rutheford

When was the last time you read a children’s book? Do you have a childhood favorite? You might gain a new perspective on children’s literature, and particularly children’s book illustrations, at the Miami University Art Museum’s upcoming exhibition Telling a People’s Story: African American Children’s Illustrated Literature on January 30 – June 30, 2018. For curator of exhibition, Jason Shaiman, children’s literature holds a special place in his heart. Shaiman has a particular passion for Curious George, which was the impetus for this exhibition. He originally enjoyed the series growing up and his love for children’s literature inspired him to create an exhibition with it. Shaiman shares, “When I read children’s books with my child, I’m often caught by the notion of how often I just read the stories, and my child is hearing the stories. He can’t read it, but he’s hearing it and seeing the illustrations, and he’s understanding it. The story and the illustrations are inseparable because you wouldn’t have the art if it wasn’t for the story, and the imagery often presents what the text can’t because there are limited words. Illustrations can demonstrate the author’s intent.”

Telling a People’s Story was born from Shaiman’s passion for children’s literature and illustrations and has been ten years in the making. Shaiman originally came up with the idea when he was Chief Curator of Exhibitions at McKissick Museum at University of South Carolina. This museum focused on Southern culture and identity, so Shaiman wanted to combine children’s literature with the exploration of Southern identity. While his idea didn’t come to fruition at McKissick Museum, he kept the idea alive once he transitioned to Miami’s Art Museum. He chose to focus on how African American cultural and historical identity has changed over time through the lens of children’s literature because, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 7.6% of all children’s books published in 2015 depict African American characters. The exhibition will feature over 30 African American illustrators with 130+ works of art and will include a chronological section focusing on African American history, as well as a biographical section celebrating figures such as York, a slave who went on the Lewis and Clark expedition, musicians, athletes, and more. Shaiman has made this an educational opportunity, not just a celebration, because “simply celebrating wouldn’t do justice to recognizing the contributions from African American authors over those decades” (Shaiman). Telling a People’s Story shows the intersection of African American cultural and historical identity and the evolution of children’s books.

According to Shaiman, nothing like this has ever been done before. There has never been such an extensive focus on African American children’s book illustrators in conjunction with African American identity. Shaiman affirms that books that focus on African American identity never have more than one or two chapters on children’s book illustrations. Additionally, there has never been an exhibit this extensive. While there have been exhibits featuring John Newbery, Caldecott, and Coretta Scott King award winners, those exhibits never contextualize the illustrations by African American cultural and historical identity. Additionally, according to Shaiman, those awards did a poor job of recognizing African Americans to begin with. The John Newbery award came out in 1922 to honor children’s literature authors, and the first African American to win was in 1976 (Park). The Caldecott Award came out in 1937 for illustrators, and didn’t recognize an African American until 1976 (SLJ). The Coretta Scott King Award was created solely to recognize African American authors and illustrators and was created in 1970 (Coretta Scott King Award). It took around 50 years for an African American illustrator or author to be recognized, meaning these exhibitions don’t accurately represent all that has been done by African Americans in children’s literature. This exhibit will truly be the first time that African American children’s literature is covered in depth and in the context of African American culture and history.

It’s also very special that this is occurring at Miami University’s Art Museum because of the unique opportunities for students and locals. The museum will be hosting a two-day conference in April 2018 bring together many African American illustrators, authors, and scholars. There will be a class, EDT 285, African American Children’s Art Illustration, offered to Miami students in spring semester 2018, while the exhibit is up. Miami classes in education, art, sociology, black world studies, English, and American history will be interacting with the exhibit as well. Several programs throughout the semester will give students and locals the opportunity to meet the illustrators and hear them speak or do workshops with them. The synergy between the university and the art museum provide unique opportunities for students, faculty, and locals to learn and grow together. This is yet another reason why Telling a People’s Story is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

We look forward to seeing you at the exhibition!


SLJ. (2012, May 30). LeoLeo Dillon, the First African American Caldecott Winner, Dies at 79. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/2012/05/industry-news/leo-dillon-the-first-african-american-caldecott-winner-dies-at-79/#_

Park, Linda S. (2017). Newbery Trivia The Answers. Linda Sue Park. Retrieved from http://www.lindasuepark.com/fun/new_answ.html

Coretta Scott King Award. (2017, November 30). Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coretta_Scott_King_Award

Shaiman, J. (2017, November 30). Personal Interview.

Letting Art Drive My Education

By Andrew Walker

February 2014

After applying to numerous schools and getting admitted to many, as well, I had narrowed my choices down to two schools. I was either going to go to Indiana University and pursue business in the Kelly school of business or attend Miami University and study architecture. I was very torn between the two and was really struggling to make a decision. I had talked to numerous people and they seemed to advise me to pursue business because there were more jobs in that field and a better possibility of getting a job after graduation.

March 2014

I was fully on board with attending the University of Indiana, I was about to commit to this school until something changed. As I was walking to lunch one day, I ran into my old art teacher. Just to give some background on my relationship with her. I took an art class with her the fall semester my senior year of high school. Before this class, I had never taken an art class. I had never sat down and dedicated my time to drawing or painting, but in this class, I did just that. The first assignment we were to draw a self-portrait, I sat down and went to work. Three hours later, I had surprised myself with the outcome. I had produced a very nice drawing that I did not know I was capable of. The next day I brought my art to class and presented it to my teacher. She was very impressed and asked me why I had never taken an art class before. I simply told her that I did not know I capable of this. After this assignment, we were given a couple other drawing prompts throughout the semester, that I out a lot of effort into. After the class had ended she had encouraged me

She asked me where I was going to attend college and I told her my two choices and that I was leaning toward Indiana. She then talked to me about how I had a skill that not many other people have and said I would be wasting it I didn’t pursue Architecture. I went home that day and thought a lot about what she said.

August 2014

This was when I moved into my dorm at Miami University. I was very curious to see what my classes were like and how I could incorporate art into my major. For the beginning of my freshman year, I was regretting my decision. My architecture classes did not incorporate art into them as much as I thought they would.

March 2015

At this point in my career, I was beginning to enjoy my classes. I had started to blossom in the architecture field and was happy with the choice I made late in my senior year of high school. For our last studio project and was starting to see how my artistic ability and thoughts steered my work.

February 2016

This is the day I decided to pursue arts entrepreneurship. After having a long discussion with my academic advisor about a potential minor or thematic sequence in this department, I decided to enroll IN CCA 111.

December 2016

I was wrapping up my first ever CCA class. This class was extremely different from any other class I had taken. It required me to think outside of the box. It also taught me about how valuable art can be in a business industry and all the possible ways I could use it when I graduate.

March 2017

I was about to finish up my semester abroad in Barcelona. Being abroad made me appreciate art in a way I had not before. I got to travel all around Europe and go to various art museums and see how a different culture looks at art. The European culture appreciates art a lot more than Americans because they have had a longer existence and have had some pretty incredible minds throughout their history.

In my studio for class abroad, our project was different than anything I have had to do at Miami. I was challenged to create a sustainable device that was aesthetically pleasing. This is where my artistic background had really come in handy. I was able to choose and construct a square algae pod. For our final presentation, I had to create handmade renders and was able to utilize my drawing ability.

December 2017

I have just finished up my first arts entrepreneurship class. This class has helped me combine what I love into a way I can possibly make a profit. I have created a website where I can sell my own artwork and the artwork of others as well. This is something that I look to continue doing in the future.

After this class has ended I have look back at my life and saw how much art has influenced it. Art made me enroll at Miami, and if I had not done that I would have never met all the wonderful people that I call my friends today. My life would be very different if I had not gone to school here, I would be just another business kid taking finance and other classes that I would not enjoy. But instead, I am taking classes that I love and that I am extremely interested in. I am very happy what art has done for me in my life and I look forward to how it will affect my life in the future.

Andrew Walker is an aspiring architect and a student at Miami University studying Architecture and Arts Entrepreneurship.

Behind the Scenes: Miami University Art Museum’s Arts Management Internship

By Caroline Bastian

Over the course of the 17/18 school year, I served as the Arts Management Intern at the Miami University Art Museum (MUAM) in Oxford, OH. This year-long internship allowed me to focus each semester on a different aspect of the museum, providing a more well-rounded and hands-on learning experience. After working last fall as a Curatorial Intern under Curator of Exhibitions Jason Shaiman, I knew the opportunities at MUAM were vital in continuing my education.

As an Arts Management Intern, I worked closely with the Coordinator of Marketing and Communications, Sherri Krazl. A majority of my time at the museum was devoted to running and writing for MUAM’s student-run blog, Moments@MUAM. This blog showcased various events going on throughout the museum and highlighted numerous arts-driven activities all over campus. The goal of the blog is to further incorporate it into the student body at Miami and help publicize all the cool things that happen at the museum. In addition to the blog, I split my time each semester in a different area of the museum: collections or curatorial.

I worked alongside Laura Stewart, Collections Manager, and Registrar, and learned the ins and outs of MUAM’s collection. A large portion of the collection includes Native American Jewelry from American Southwest groups including the Hopi, Navajo, and Pueblo. I photographed, uploaded, researched, and finalized the exhibition, adding all the information about the jewelry donated by Edna Kelly. Through this tedious process, I was able to learn the in-depth research and analysis that goes into creating an object file, while also becoming well versed in widely used museum software.

Not only has MUAM been expanding their internship program immensely, they are also able to cater to my own specific interests. When I first met with Sherri at the beginning of the semester, we talked in depth about my own interests and what I was wanting to gain and learn throughout this internship. As time has gone on, I have become more interested in various topics throughout museum work that I would never have been exposed to if it was not for this experience. Moreover, this internship provides me the opportunities to directly apply the various topics I have learned from Arts Management, such as non-profit business, grant writing, fostering donor relationships, communication with consumers, and furthering MUAM’s image within Miami’s culture. In the spring, I will continue to apply this knowledge in furthering the blog, training incoming interns, planning an anniversary exhibition in honor of MUAM’s 40th, and continue to expand MUAM’s presence on campus.

Photo of (L-R) Laura Stewart, Caroline Bastian, Liz Mulleniz, Robert Wicks, Rob Robbins, Ursula con Rydingsvard, Heidi McWilliams, and Jason Shaiman.

For more information about getting involved at the Miami University Art Museum for Arts Management, please contact Sherri Krazl at krazlsa@miamioh.edu or go online to http://www.miamioh.edu/cca/art-museum/

Caroline Bastian is a junior studying Art and Architecture History with a co-major in Arts Management and a minor in Museums and Society.

The Rhythm of Management: How Arts Management Affected my Season with Rhythm X

By Lucas Conant

During my freshman year at Miami I participated in a drumline that competed in World Guard International (WGI) called Rhythm X. For the unfamiliar, WGI is a non-profit organization that hosts competitions for indoor color guard, drumline, and winds across the world. I had participated in WGI events since I was a freshman in my high school indoor drumline. Those events and the activity of indoor drumline had a big impact on me as a high schooler, so I knew I would want to stay active in this activity in college.

Rhythm X, like all independent (not part of a high school) drumlines, is a non-profit arts organization, which means that part of its income comes from donations. As a member, I participated in an organization wide effort that involved members reaching out to friends and family members for donations, along with coordinated pushes on all social media accounts surrounding “Giving Tuesday”. At the time, I took for granted that all of this work just happened around me, but now I can see the effort and the time that was put in by many people to ensure that Rhythm X had a strong donation campaign.

One unique challenge that Rhythm X faces, that most non-profits may not, is finding facilities to rehearse in every weekend. Since Rhythm X needs a rather large space to rehearse in, at the least an entire gym, it needed to make partnerships with high schools around the Indianapolis and Dayton areas in order to make sure that the members had a place to be every weekend. I didn’t think much about this when I was a member, but I see now that this issue required constant attention and effort to make sure that the transition between weekend to weekend was as smooth as possible and everybody knew where they needed to go.

Another challenge that had to be overcome because of the nature of the organization was the transporting of equipment every weekend. Rhythm X owns quite a lot of musical instruments, from marching snare drums, quads, and bass drums to glockenspiels, vibraphones, and giant 5-octave marimbas. These instruments needed to be transported from where they are stored to the place we were rehearsing every weekend, which often was many hours away. This required two semis to be driven to each location every weekend, unloaded, and then loaded back up at the end of the weekend. Personally, even trying to coordinate dinner with more than one person is hard for me, so I can’t even imagine the logistics and scheduling of making sure two semis full of expensive equipment arrive where they need to every weekend.

When I participated in Rhythm X I didn’t think at all about the amount of arts management that went on behind the scenes. I simply showed up to where I needed to be every weekend, practiced and performed with my friends, and went home. Looking back now after studying in the Arts Management program at Miami, I can see that there were a lot more gears turning behind the scenes than I thought. If any single piece had fallen out of place, it could have ruined a weekend or the whole season depending on the severity of the mistake. Luckily, the admin team at Rhythm X had no such misfortunes, and I enjoyed a stress free season performing music with my friends.

Making the Magic: Arts Management and the Charter Day Ball

By Anna Clark

There’s something special about the amount of thought, effort, and talent that goes into endless forms of art. Art cannot be defined simply and it feels that the definition is always becoming broader. For me, that moment I see an incredible artist walk on stage and flawlessly sing, dance, and perform in front of audience is magical. When a symphony orchestra is seamlessly in sync, when a dancer breathes life into music simply by the movement of their body, or a live theater performance where the actors are capable of taking that room and everyone in it to a different world and immersing the audience into a story.

Unreal. “The chills” is what some might call it, but I call it awe. The arts constantly have me sitting in my chair or standing in a room in complete awe. The definition of awe is, “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder”. Now, I rarely experience fear while experiencing art, but wonder is definitely applicable.

I decided my sophomore year that I wanted to be more involved on campus and the event that sparked my attention was Charter Day Ball. I heard about it during chapter and immediately wanted to learn more. I’ve never been to a ball, and being able to plan one sounded like the bees knees. I’ve always been involved with the arts

If you have not heard of Charter Day Ball yet, it’s Miami University’s birthday party. The event takes place every three years and is the largest student planned event on campus that is planned for about two years prior to the event. I am currently on the leadership team for the upcoming 2018 ball. I acquired my position on accident. I had little information on the event, but I knew I wanted to be more involved on campus and a ball sounded like an exciting event to be a part of. I signed up on The Hub to interview for what I thought was a general member position. However, once I received the email regarding my interview I learned it was for a Co-Chair position.

I was nervous at first because I had been having a difficult semester and did not want to over commit myself. However, I decided I needed to add something to my schedule that I truly enjoyed, so I interviewed and for the past year I have been planning entertainment for the 2018 Charter Day Ball. The experience is something I am proud of and the fact that I stumbled on it accidentally is a little crazy to me. Charter Day Ball is an event I am truly excited for because it has allowed me to include a variety of performers and performances throughout the night and hopefully there is something for everyone’s taste. At this point I can’t believe I ever considered bypassing this opportunity, it will truly be a night to remember and I personally can’t wait.

From Page to Stage and Everything in Between: A Timeline of Making a Musical

by Austin Lamewona

March 2015

I am a budding playwright with dreams of one day acting and writing professionally. I have what I think to be a cool concept for a musical about two feuding singing groups. I call it “Octets.” After writing a few poorly constructed scenes in a small notebook, I realize that I do not have the musical ability or even a solid enough idea to continue writing. In frustration, I toss the notebook in the back of my closet to separate myself from what I thought to be a pathetically embarrassing writing experiment. Despite this, the concept of this musical perpetually lingers in my mind.

Summer 2016

Almost a year and a half passes, and I experience a few successes with a couple plays I have written. I am about to embark on my Freshman year at Miami University. For various reasons, it does not include theatre as a major or minor. Fearing that my aspirations for a career in theatre would vanish overall, I search for a project that I can really dive into. I stumble upon the notebook for Octets and read the atrocious scenes I had written a year and a half prior. I decide to take another stab at it.

Nick Witzeman had graduated from my high school two grades ahead of me and was going into his junior year at Miami University. He is an extremely talented musician that I had always looked up to, so I send him a Facebook message asking for help on the music-making front of writing Octets. Fortunately for me, he is receptive. We meet up and begin to focus and develop the plot that I have in mind. After this first meeting, Nick asks me what my end goal in writing this musical was. I have no idea.

Fall 2016

My Freshman year begins, and I hear about the new Arts Management co-major program through an email. Figuring that a knowledge of managing the arts would be a useful skill to have, I set up a meeting with Todd Stuart. After talking with him about the program, I get to thinking: as an aspiring artists, perhaps I needed to start thinking of myself not solely as a creative, but also as a manager and producer of art.

As my first semester progresses, I spend every moment of free time working on the book and lyrics of Octets. As I finish a set of lyrics, I send them to Nick and briefly explain what I was envisioning. He transforms those lyrics into a song and sends back an audio recording. Listening to music for the lyrics brings the musical to life in a much more real and exciting way than just reading lyrics and scenes I had written. At this point I start to think that we were working on something that had potential. The idea of producing Octets at Miami starts running through my mind. But since I have no resources or know-how to do this, I decide to talk to Todd Stuart.

Spring 2017

After Todd listens to our ideas and some music that we had recorded, he is on board. He helps me set up a meeting with Julia Guichard, the chair of the theatre department. Before I met with her however, I have to finally decide what I want a first production of Octets to look like. This decision is accompanied by a near-overwhelming number of smaller decisions. Do I want to do a staged reading, or a full production? Is our script even ready for a full production? Do I want to charge tickets or make it free to the public? Do I want to hold auditions for the show, or cast it from the people that I was already familiar with? These questions would ultimately decide the identity of our production. And to find answers to them, I start implementing skills that I gained through taking Arts Management classes.

It is springtime and my Freshman year is coming to an end. I go into full managing mode, and secure many of the logistics of producing Octets. The book, lyrics, and music of Octets are all in solid places, and wouldn’t benefit from anything less than a full production. After meeting several times with Julia Guichard and other theatre department faculty, I am able to reserve Studio 88 for April 2018. I map out the timeline of the production including dates for auditions, rehearsals, and shows. I develop a production team full of students who were passionate about the pursuit of art in whatever division they specialized in. Over the summer Nick and I relentlessly edit the script and score.

Fall 2017

The summer ends, and my Sophomore year begins. The pressure of putting this production together is mounting. I started holding production team meetings. I notice that many of the conversations we have in our meetings are parallel to conversations that take place in my Arts Management courses. My team and I develop marketing plans using the same strategies that Professor Caldwell has students use in his Arts Marketing class. We discuss ways of getting both Miami students and Oxford residents interested in Octets, and I am able to use some of the research gained from my Arts Engagement class to bolster the conversation. I also write multiple proposals for funding, and in them I explain the effect that producing a musical can have on both the performers and the surrounding community, an idea central to any arts organization.

Present day

Today is a Monday, in late November of 2017. It has been two and a half years since I wrote the first couple scenes of Octets. Taking a musical from a blank page to a staged production is a long, enduring journey. At frequent points throughout the process, I have seriously questioned whether or not I had the ability to do it. Often times, I still do. Making a musical has come with a large amount of doubt, stress, and ambiguity. But it has also created a more well-rounded, ambitious, and creative person. I am still here, a thriving artist. And considering that I hold auditions for my musical tomorrow, the story is nowhere near over.

Austin Lamewona is both an aspiring writer and a student at Miami University studying Marketing and Arts Management.