Student Spotlight: Joshua Aaron Senger

photo of Josh Senger sitting on a bench

Full Name: Joshua Aaron Senger

Hometown: Fairfield, Ohio

Academic Level: Junior

Expected Graduation Date: May 2023

Major: Arts Management & Arts Entrepreneurship / Bachelors of Arts in Music Performance 


What drew you to Miami as a young artist and musician?

I had several friends who were enrolled already and hearing how their experience with Miami’s music scene allowed them to grow as artists in a supportive environment that created competitiveness from cooperation instead of competition was extremely attractive to me. I was also familiar with the horn professor in high school and a few other professors before attending. But after visiting the campus and having a couple one on ones, I would definitely say the biggest draw was the faculty. I was completely bought into the culture the clearly passionate professors had created once I saw it in person.

What is your biggest takeaway/learning outcome from the Arts Management & Arts Entrepreneurship program at Miami?

The biggest takeaway/learning outcome from the Arts Management & Arts Entrepreneurship program at Miami I’ve gained is that that a supportive atmosphere is the most crucial factor in your success. I’ve met legitimately the most talented and hardworking people I believe are currently living here at Miami, and the AM&AE program is no exception. The supportive, pivot-friendly culture that every student and professor in the program works to create drives success more than any competitive environment thinks it creates by piling pressure.

What is the biggest thing you accomplished as a student in the Arts Management & Arts Entrepreneurship Program?

The biggest thing I’ve accomplished as a student in the Arts Management & Arts Entrepreneurship program is acting as the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s first Development Intern for their Summermusik 2021 festival. (During a global pandemic no less.) Seeing as the position was brand new I often assisted other positions in jobs such as box office or production. The flexibility needed in the overall job of putting together a month-long classical music festival combined with establishing the responsibilities of a new position taught me just how challenging the world of non-profit arts is. However, it also taught me how rewarding it is to watch yourself rise and accomplish something that seemed too large for you to tackle, as well as gain lifelong friends in the process. Without a doubt the most pride I've ever felt lives in that month of August and I couldn't accomplish it without the preparation and opportunities I found in the AM&AE program at Miami.

What made you think about finance and development as a potential career path in arts management?

There are two factors that make me think about finance and development as a potential career path in arts management: the intangible human element of fundraising, and the tangible gears of finance that allows art to be made. Development includes the human connection that makes art worth creating, and the systematic puzzle solving element of keeping the system functional. That pit of jittering excitement in your stomach when you hear that horn soli of Mahler’s 3rd? You give that feeling to others. (The example is me specific but you smell what I’m stepping in.) Now pile on the fact that you work with the financial nuts and bolts of the system that produces the things that make life alive and it’s the best of both worlds.

What does development in the arts mean to you as an emerging practitioner?

As an emerging practitioner, development in the arts means getting able to join a field concerned with creating art and affecting people's lives, working hard every day to see that people can create and share in order to cultivate a better world. You’re the do-it-all middleman who stands in between incredible artists and the people who want to support them. Equipped with knowledge of the art form’s craft and the skills to communicate its importance to a broad audience. Creating new emotional and financial investments in a more creative world.

How does development play a role in arts and culture creation?

Second only to creating the art itself, I believe development plays a crucial role in arts and culture creation because it’s the engine that actually makes everything happen. Arts cannot be created without materials or funding, and without creating there is no culture. Development tackles the task of communicating the necessity of art to a culture and then teaching the culture how it can assist in its creation.

Where will you be doing your internship?

During the spring semester I will work alongside David Zilch, the senior director of development for the college of creative arts here at Miami, helping to create exciting new projects that will help push Miami’s art scene forward as well as gaining critical experience in actual field work. During the summer I hope to return to the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra to help create another incredible Summermusik festival.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation I plan on attending graduate school (just not sure where) in order to continue my education within the non-profit arts field to help better prepare myself for going into the field where I’ll work hard to help produce a more creative world through either development work in non-profit organizations or public research.