Student Spotlight: Abigail Karr

Abigail Karr

Full Name: Abigail Karr
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Academic Level: Junior
Expected Graduation Date: May 2020
Major: BA in Violin Performance
Co-Major: Arts Management
Minors: Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies

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

My biggest takeaway from the Arts Management program is to approach everything as an experiment. One of my favorite things about this program is that every class and every project is experimental. Everything is a test to see what works, what doesn’t, and how it can be improved. That’s the attitude I try to take with me into how I think as musician, my other classes, and my work.

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

I think the biggest thing I’ve accomplished as a student in the AME program is the community engagement project we put together for the Lucky Chops concert in CCA 302/3 Arts Marketing and Community Engagement. As a class we worked with Miami Activities Programming and the Performing Arts Series to build a VIP experience around the Lucky Chops concert in December of 2018. Together we planned an open mic night, created lanyards, wrote invitations, and arranged for catering for the concert in order to create an exciting and inviting event. Not only did it turn out to be a very rewarding and fun event, I learned a lot from my classmates in 303 about creating a successful team and developing creative and successful audience engagement techniques.

Where will you be doing your internship?

This summer I will be attending the SAVVY workshop at the University of South Carolina. This is a week-long interdisciplinary arts entrepreneurship boot camp focusing on creating partnerships between the arts and communities.

How do you define arts activism?

The arts have always played a role in activist movements, from education to protest. Not only do the arts have a role in creating activist communities, they are also fundamentally a form of human expression. To me arts activism, and the kind of activism I am interested in doing, means redefining art to create a platform for marginalized voices and making art accessible to wider audiences. I believe it is essential for the future of the arts and for our society that everyone has the opportunity to create and experience art and have their voices heard.

Why is arts activism important to you as an artist and as an emerging arts leader?

I have always been passionate about social justice issues and challenging structures of injustice. As an artist, this intersection feels like a natural place for me. The arts are seen as occupying an elitist space in our society, and I am interested in breaking down the structural barriers that separate art from the people. Through my work as an arts leader, I want to help make the arts accessible to a wide audience, and build platforms to elevate marginalized voices.

Your blog post about the “The Questions We Need to Ask About the Arts in the #MeToo Era” resonated with many of our readers; why do you think this is such an important issue in the arts industries?

It is important for every industry to listen to the voices of survivors and to actively combat a culture that allows sexual assault and harassment to continue. The arts and media industries face a unique challenge in response to the #MeToo Movement because the history of abuse is so transparent. In order to change a contemporary culture of abuse, we have to understand how history— the art we teach, display, and value —has helped to create the society we live in. This is a challenging conversation to have, because it means confronting a long tradition of ignoring abuse, and raises many questions about what it means to value art. The arts play a role in defining cultural conversations, and the response of the arts industries to the #MeToo Movement will help shape how we address and support survivors of sexual assault.

What are your plans after graduation?

My plans after graduation are still mostly up in the air. As of right now, after graduating, I would like to work for an arts non-profit and focusing on social advocacy and arts education. I would like to continue to do work in community development and audience engagement for arts organizations.

Learn more about programs in Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship »