Meet Dalton Lamberth, Arts Management Master’s Candidate

Posted: February 12, 2016 at 3:54 pm, Last Updated: February 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Dalton Lamberth

Master’s candidate in George Mason University’s Arts Management Program

Administrative/Marketing Assistant, Jane Franklin Dance
Communications and Special Events Intern, Washington Concert Opera

What did you do before you came to Mason?

I originally came from a small town in Northwest Oklahoma. Before George Mason, I received my bachelor’s degree in music performance from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. It was in my sophomore year that I truly began to get involved in the administrative side of the arts. I worked closely with the music and theatre departments where I assisted in fundraising, concert production, special events, community relations, marketing, and graphic design. Over the course of three years in these positions, I discovered my passion for arts management. I applied to George Mason, was accepted, and set out for the East coast.

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

I am passionate about the role of the arts in schools. I came from an area where the arts were mainly an afterthought. I would see other students with artistic talents that became stagnant. People who could not afford private instructors suffered the most. The talent in these individuals could have flourished, but they lacked proper artistic education.

What inspires you as an arts leader?

I draw inspiration from the escape the arts provide. When life gets stressful and crazy, the arts provide a way to reenergize. When people are invited into theatres, museums, or other art spaces, they experience a few hours where they can set aside their worries or redirect their attention.

What specific area of arts management is your focus?

My focus currently is in marketing. It is my belief that marketing and brand should be communicable across all departments within an organization. This is how the public perceives the arts. However, I am interested in learning about all aspects of arts organizations. I believe the more knowledgeable one is, the better they are able to serve.

What is an average day like for you?

No day is quite the same. Every day is an adventure! Typically, I work during the days either with Jane Franklin Dance or the Washington Concert Opera. When I have free time, I enjoy attending theatre shows, museums, and music concerts. I am an avid reader, and devote at least 30 minutes in the evenings to my hobby.

Why did you decide to go to grad school for arts management?

While working towards my degree in music performance, I had the opportunity to work as the assistant for the choral and theatre departments at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. I worked closely with the professors to set up concerts and productions. Within a short period of time, I discovered that while I enjoyed performing, I enjoyed the logistics of setting up performances more. My positions provided a chance to dabble in marketing, fundraising, donor relations, and arts education. I was delving many different aspects of arts management without even realizing it.
Before beginning my junior year, I spoke with my mentor to discuss life after college. I told her it was not my passion anymore to perform, but I still wanted to be active in the arts. She suggested I look into arts management.
When researching programs in arts management, I found that the more I read, the more excited I became. I knew this degree would provide an opportunity to work for the arts and share my passion.

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

The Arts Management program at George Mason offers valuable work experience. The “classes” seem much more like extended workshops that offer real world knowledge in an environment where it is okay to make mistakes.
I have incorporated many of the skills I’m learning in my work with Jane Franklin Dance. It is fascinating to be able to see my education come to life in such a real way. I have been able to offer insight for the organization drawing from studies done in class.

Where did you do your internship?

In the Fall of 2015, I completed a marketing internship at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Virginia. Under the supervision of Carol Devany, I learned the ins and outs of marketing for a large performing arts venue. The projects I was trusted with include a renovation of their grassroots marketing database, managing outreach efforts to area schools, managing special events and being a representative at community events. It was an honor to be involved with the Hylton Center.

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

Stay organized! It is easy to get bogged down with balancing work, school, and a social life. Keeping a detailed datebook has saved my life. Also, use the resources provided by the college. The writing center is a great tool to spruce up papers.

Anything else you would like to share?

This summer I had the honor to work for the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute (OSAI). The camp is an intensive, two-week academy in the literary, visual, and performing arts for Oklahoma’s most talented high school students. Offering nine disciplines, students study with some of the most celebrated professionals in the world.
In this position with OSAI, I served mainly as a counselor. I worked with groups of teens to supervise their well-being and offer guidance for their futures. Additionally, I was assigned duties such as running errands for the camp and managing the store for the institute. One of the great things about working for OSAI was seeing how every person is valuable to running such a large operation.

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

When it comes to networking, it can be more beneficial to call it relationship building. In this area, it is of utmost importance to build relationships with people in the field. Get to know your classmates and professors. They are the people you will work with in the future.