Meet Kaylee McMullan, Arts Management Master’s Candidate

Posted: June 21, 2016 at 1:10 pm, Last Updated: June 21, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Kaylee McMullan

Master’s candidate in George Mason University’s Arts Management Program
Box Office Associate, Signature Theatre, Arlington
Student Assistant, George Mason Arts Management Program

What inspires you as an arts leader?

I think about the emotional impact music has had on my life. There are times were it has frustrated me, brought me to tears. But more than anything else it has brought me immense joy, happiness, and peace. My ability to help other artists share this exact experience- that is my driving force.

What specific area of arts management is your focus?

We all know the amazing benefits of the arts, but it is unsustainable if we cannot find it money and resources. It’s important to understand why foundations, corporations, and individuals give to the arts. It’s about building and nurturing relationships, something I am quite keen on doing.

What topics in the arts are you most passionate about and why?

I’m passionate about finding an art form that suits a person’s individual tastes. I’d love to work at a performing arts intuition that caters to all kinds of people- you don’t like opera? Well that’s okay because we also have theatre and dance. Well-established arts institutions that have a little bit of everything for everyone.

What did you do before you came to Mason?

After graduating from undergrad I worked in both retail and a restaurant, knowing that I’d like to go to graduate school but unsure of the area of study. Along with my sister, who is a kindergarten teacher, I was offered the opportunity to teach music in Saudi Arabia. Looking at it as a big adventure, I took the offer. While there I started researching arts management programs.  I decided upon George Mason and began the application process while overseas.

Where did you do your internship?

My internship is with an organization called Enough Pie in the Upper Peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina. They strive to create community engagement through creativity. Charleston is a small city, but it’s also an amazing city. People are moving there every day. As a result, the Upper Peninsula is becoming gentrified. Enough Pie strives to empower its long-time residents with the arts. Or in other words, making sure everyone has their own slice of pie.

What is an average day like for you?

Every day is different for me! Going to school and working two jobs can seem like a lot, but I do make sure I have days off. Those days are spent doing yoga, running, or playing with my dog, a crazy Catahoula named Jack.

Why did you choose to study at George Mason University?

George Mason University’s Arts Management program takes a practical approach. Things I am learning in the classroom are applicable to my work at Signature Theatre and Enough Pie. Another perk is that they maintain relationships with hundreds of arts organizations in Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland. Location and price are great too.

How are you applying the skills you learned in the program to your professional career?

At my internship I am learning about communications, development, and community relations. It’s a small organization so its full time staff members and intern juggle several tasks throughout the week. My job at Signature is all about selling tickets and subscriptions. A large degree of it is customer service, but I enjoy talking to the patrons who have such passion for the work they present. That certainly delves into the development aspect of the arts.

What is the most important thing you have learned at Mason?

I’ve learned that no two arts organizations are alike. What works for one may not work for another, and neither method can be right or wrong. It is all about what suits your audience and artists. Being afraid of failure is not an option in the world of arts management!

What advice would you give to a new student or someone considering the program?

Get involved in the Graduate Arts Management Society! It’s a great resource for student activities, professional development, and advice. There is a Facebook page that many of us use to post interesting articles, ask for professional advice, and share funny stories about our experiences in arts management.

About Kaylee

Kaylee McMullan, a native of Arlington, VA, has two years professional experience working in the arts nonprofit sector. With an undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance from Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, Kaylee has performed with Operafestival di Roma in Rome, Italy, and taught in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She is most familiar with the theatre in the Washington, D.C. area, having interned with theatreWashington and worked for both Round House Theatre and Signature Theatre. Currently, she is in her second year in the George Mason Arts Management program and interning with an organization called Enough Pie in Charleston, SC. Kaylee aspires to have a career in development.