An Arts Manager with a Passion for Community
Posted: March 9, 2016 at 3:49 pm, Last Updated: June 6, 2016 at 2:19 pm
Master’s candidate in George Mason University’s Arts Management Program
Event Manager, Special Programs and Services
What topics in the arts are you most passionate about and why?
I am most passionate about creative economies and arts-based placemaking because they are community-driven.
What inspires you as an arts leader?
Creativity in all forms, but especially performance. I love the way that the arts can inspire people in whatever they do in life.
What specific area of arts management is your focus?
I am still figuring that out, but I am very drawn to community development and the arts.
What is an average day like for you?
It depends on if I am on the road or at home. One day, I can be rushing around the house getting everyone to the school bus, the next I can be helping students to connect with the postsecondary institutions that will help them achieve their artistic goals.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I am still figuring that out but I would love to run a performing arts center or be a manager at an arts council. I have not been writing or singing (beyond karaoke) so I am hoping that I can find time to do that soon. In all my management, I do not want to forget my art.
How are you applying the skills you learned in the program to your professional career?
I work for a non-profit organization and lots of what we learn in the program crosses over very easily into non-profit management more generally. I have a applied my new understanding of financial management into my work. I have found it particularly useful.
Who would you recommend this program to and why?
I would recommend this program to anyone who has experience in the arts but who is looking to complement that experience with knowledge that can help take them to the next level professionally.
What advice would you give to a new student or someone considering the program?
Manage your time, know your strengths, with every lecture, ask yourself “How can I apply this to my professional goals?” In other words, start with the end in mind.
Anika Millhouse is an emerging leader in arts and events management, with a passion for the role that the arts can play in socio-economic development. She started the MA in Arts Management program at George Mason University in Fall 2015, after returning to the U.S. in 2014. She had been living and working in South Africa for more than a decade, using her master’s degree in public anthropology to inform her work as a manager, facilitator and proposal developer for community-based youth, HIV-AIDS, and women’s empowerment programs.
For six years was the full-time director of music & arts at a large faith-based institution in South Africa, with more than 5,000 members. There, she led a department of more than 100 hundred volunteers in music, dance, audio-visual, and dramatic ministries. She produced, wrote for and performed on two live CD-DVD projects, selling more than 10,000 units.
While finding stability in the U.S. work environment has had its challenges, Anika has not allowed that to stop her from continuing her work in the arts. She has held three part-time jobs: selling performance subscriptions; house managing at a local performing arts center; and, producing a show for a growing theatre company. In 2015 she started working for an educational association, first as an administrative assistant, but was promoted within six weeks to event manager, primarily for performing and visual arts college fairs around the U.S. Her work entails a lot of details, but she finds the travel and implementation of the fairs very exciting and rewarding. She is a member of the Professional Convention Management Association and attended their recent annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Anika believes that all of these experiences will add-value to her long-term goal of developing arts organizations, focusing on creative economies.
She is a mom of two beautiful and creative daughters.