One of the most elusive elements of life is discovering a passion and having the moxie to pursue it. It can be a lifelong process, but one that is worth the while. For one University of Wisconsin-Green Bay alumna, it didn’t take a lifetime, but it did take some discovery.
From a UW-Green Bay undergraduate student working in the classroom to New York City raising funding for the arts, Hannah Claire Lewis has (’16, Arts Management) been on quite the journey.
Initially, Lewis began her undergraduate career with a passion for dance.
“When I was younger, it was a dream of mine to own and operate my very own dance studio,” said Lewis. “After teaching at various dance studios throughout the Green Bay area, I quickly realized that while I enjoy teaching, my passion for dance could be utilized in a capacity that did not involve running a dance studio.”
Lewis wanted a way to still be part of a community that valued her artistic roots while exploring different avenues within an arts organization. During her sophomore year at UW-Green Bay, she found that different avenue: arts administration.
Specifically, in a class titled, “Funding and Financial Issues in the Arts” taught by UW-Green Bay Professor of Art and Design, Ellen Rosewall, Lewis’ love for fund development was born. Lewis embraced this newfound passion, and was accepted into Indiana University’s Arts Administration Graduate Program. There she had the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant, complete a development and special events internship at Bravo! Vail Music Festival in Colorado and serve as the development associate at the Indiana University Auditorium. “Due to the amazing mentorship of Professor Rosewall coupled with the opportunities I had to further my skills and education, I was able to land a position in my dream city so soon after graduating,” Lewis said.
That dream city is none other than New York City, where Lewis is currently completing a 10-month fellowship with The Juilliard School. As part of her fellowship, Lewis works with the Office of the Provost and Dean tacking budgets, planning events, handling correspondence with donors, and engaging with the talented classical musicians studying at Juilliard. In addition, Lewis is working on a research project with a painting donated to the school decades ago painted by George Gershwin.
Lewis’ ultimate career goal is to teach Arts Administration at a University. However, before pursuing teaching full-time, Lewis wants to work for a think tank, such as the Urban Institute.
“I am a firm believer that the field of Arts Administration needs more arts and cultural researchers,” said Lewis. “The economic standpoint of how the arts can bolster a community is important, but Arts Administrators need to understand the who’s, what’s, why’s and how’s as well.”
For instance, one question Lewis is looking to better answer is what motivates donors to donate in the performing arts. Lewis looks to seek answers to this question and many more as a member of the current generation of Arts Administrators, so this generation and the next has a better chance to succeed in the field.
Feature by Joshua Konecke, Marketing and University Communication student assistant.