Student Spotlight: Joshua Sweet

Joshua Sweet

Full Name: Joshua Raymond Sweet
Hometown: Hamilton, OH
Academic Level: Junior/Senior
Expected Graduation Date: May 2020
Major: Community Arts
Co-Major: Arts Management
Minors: Commerce, English Studies

What’s your biggest takeaway/learning outcome from the Arts Management program?

The largest takeaway that I’ve received from the Arts Management program is that we are all artists, even if our works aren’t on display in an exhibition or on a stage. Through the experiences I’m gaining in the Community Arts and Arts Management programs, I feel confident that I am gaining a solid foundation upon which to build a career in Arts Management.

What’s the biggest thing you accomplished as a student in the Arts Management program?

Finding the courage to attend the 2018 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention (or AFTACON). As an introvert, I’m not a natural-born networker. Without the confidence I gained through my studies at Miami University, I never would have been able to attend a professional gathering like this.

Where will you be doing your internship?

I have completed an internship at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, Ohio through the Community Arts program. I was able to help Cathy Mayhugh, their Director of Exhibitions, go through exhibition proposals last fall for the current 2018-2019 season.

What was it like attending the American for the Arts Summer Conference?

It was an incredible time to be in Denver. AFTACON happened during the same weekend as the Denver Comic Con, the Juneteenth Music Festival, the Denver BBQ Festival, and the Denver GLBT PrideFest. The city, already one of the largest in the country, was packed with tourists throughout the weekend. As an AFTACON attendee, I was able to visit the Denver Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver for free, which was a special treat.

I had a great time attending the plenaries and sessions at AFTACON. As I jokingly told a friend of mine, it offered me the opportunity “to see what fresh hell awaits me when I enter the field.” There were certainly a lot of issues to discuss. Sustainable funding, art as a means of social protest, and finding the fine line art holds between urban development and gentrification were among the most prevalent conversations at the convention.

What were some of your biggest takeaways from the AFTACON experience?

Before attending the convention, I questioned whether or not I would be able to have a career in the arts. Unlike many of my peers, I didn’t grow up in an environment where I was regularly creating or performing. Though it seems silly now, the very notion that someone could work in the arts without being an artist or performer had never occurred to me until I returned to college in my thirties. After hearing stories from those who are currently working in the field, I genuinely believe that a career in arts management is the right fit for me.

Why do you think advocacy and policy are important in the arts?

The arts fit in an odd place within American society. Although much of the focus for rebuilding economies is rooted in STEM-based businesses, arts organizations are the secret sauce that transform a struggling city into a thriving community. Advocacy and policy outreach are important for not only the sustainability of arts organizations, but as a means of increasing resources that are available for arts education. If we fail to educate young people about the ways in which the arts have influenced cultural change, how are they to grasp the ways in which their creativity can affect society? I’m particularly interested in programs such as Take Note Colorado, where Governor John Hickenlooper wants to make Colorado the first state to guarantee access to an instrument and a teacher for every child who wants to learn how to play music.

What are your plans after graduation?

I hope to begin my career in Arts Management while pursuing a master’s degree in the field.

Learn more about programs in Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship »