Managing the Box Office and Grad School
Posted: March 9, 2016 at 1:11 pm, Last Updated: March 9, 2016 at 1:27 pm
Master’s candidate in George Mason University’s Arts Management Program
Box Office Manager, Woolly Mammoth Theater Company
What topics in the arts are you most passionate about and why?
I like new, American theater. Anything that makes you leave the theater either wanting to talk to everyone you know about what you just saw, or make you want to sit quietly and think about it for a long time.
What inspires you as an arts leader?
Right now, I get to work very closely with patrons on a daily basis. When I see how a piece of theater has affected them, or get to make their day better through their interactions with my staff, that’s what inspires me most.
Why did you decide to go to grad school for arts management?
After working in theater production for several years, I knew I wanted to create opportunities for myself to move up in the field. I felt that the best way to get the knowledge I needed to have those opportunities was by continuing my education in arts management.
What specific area of arts management is your focus?
My focus in the program has been marketing, but I’m also interested in finance.
What is an average day like for you?
I work full time during the days at Woolly Mammoth. In the evenings, I’m usually doing some combination of attending class, doing homework, babysitting, or spending time at the gym rock climbing.
Where did you do your internship?
I did my internship in the marketing department at Woolly Mammoth.
What did you do before you came to Mason?
I worked at Mason for two years as the Program and Production Coordinator at the Center for the Arts, which is how I was first introduced to the University. Before that, I worked a lot of short-term jobs in Production Management, moving all around the country until I settled in Northern Virginia.
Why did you choose to study at George Mason University?
I love the D.C. area, so I knew I wanted to be close to the city. I like the evening schedule and flexibility that Mason offers, and since I was already very familiar with the program after working for the University, it was a natural fit.
How are you applying the skills you learned in the program to your professional career?
I use the skills that I’ve learned in my marketing, finance, and fundraising classes on almost a daily basis while interacting with patrons.
What is the most important thing you have learned at Mason?
I think the most important thing I’ve gained from the program are the connections I’ve made with my fellow classmates and professors. The relationships I’ve built have already been invaluable in my career in the industry, especially in the D.C. area.
What advice would you give to a new student or someone considering the program?
Build relationships with as many classmates and professors as you can. Also, take advantage of all of the opportunities the program offers you outside of the classroom.
Jennifer Sowinski is currently the Box Office Manager at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, where she spends most of her time buried in Tessitura, while also creating a positive experience for patrons and managing a part time staff. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Theater, she completed two internships in Production Management. The first was at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the second was with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, IL. She then spent a summer as the Assistant Production Manager for the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, before moving back to the D.C. area more permanently. For the following two years she was the Program and Production Coordinator for the Center for the Arts at George Mason, where she was first introduced to the George Mason community and the Arts Management program. While in that position, she began pursuing a master’s degree in arts management, which she expects to complete in December 2016.