As a longtime employee of The Showbox, one of Seattle's downtown music venues, Shannon Welles, MFA '19, found herself at the table with political representatives, fellow employees, community leaders, and musicians to organize the preservation of the historic building.
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Born and raised in the barrios of Los Angeles, Andrés Arteaga informally practiced art, dance and writing as a means to dream, hope and survive. He studied English Literature and French at Seattle University ('12) before moving back to Los Angeles to become a Jesuit. During his time in the Society of Jesus, Andrés pursued his artistic passions, noting a correlation between human flourishment, social justice, spirituality, and the arts. Andrés primarily worked with Latino and migrant communities in the U.S. and in Mexico as a commissioned painter, arts instructor, and ESL teacher. Upon leaving the Jesuits, Andrés became a Spanish and Religion arts educator at Villa Academy and is currently assuming the role of Director of Equity Education and Inclusion. He joins the MFA program with a desire to learn and grow as an artist and administrator. He is certain that the program will offer him the necessary tools to one day effectively serve the Latino and the LGBTQ+ Latino community via the arts.
Originally a southern artist from Mississippi, Adam Burges currently resides in Seattle, Washington, splitting his time as an independent studio artist and glass studio technician at Glassbaby. He holds a B.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of South Alabama where he focused heavily on kiln-formed, blown, and cast glass sculpture. Upon graduation, Adam was selected for a residency as the lead gaffer and instructor at the Coastal Art Center of Orange Beach Alabama. It was there where he was allowed the opportunity to help develop a successful public access glassblowing program. During that 3-year residency, Adam got his first taste of how nonprofit art organizations operate and was hooked. His artistic journey has landed him in the Pacific Northwest where he continues to create his work and pursue his M.F.A. in Arts Leadership. Adam’s style is unique as he constantly experiments with various materials on a quest to obtain a visual voice that is truly his own.
Born and raised in Indonesia, Monica came to Seattle pursue her B.F.A in Fashion Design at Art Institute of Seattle. She has worked as Product Stylist at Zulily and was nominated as one of the finalists at Seattle Style Night: Up and Coming Fashion Designer 2015. She also has an internship as Assistant Fashion Designer at one of the manufacturing companies in Indonesia. On the side, she is also the Co-Founder of www.vktori.com, which is a Seattle-based women's clothing line that offer the needs in braless alternative. Her goal is to broaden the awareness and also strengthen the connection between fashion and arts to the world. Throughout her studies at Seattle University, she hopes to understand techniques to promote and analyzes what art means to society, while connecting with fellow classmates and teachers as well. Outside of class, Monica likes to explore new places, restaurants, hiking, gathering with friends and painting. Find more about Monica’s work at her website.
Jessica Taylor grew up attending art classes at local non-profits in her small city because the school system never offered enough. Jessica watched funding for the arts be the first to be taken away at her public school and seeing something so essential to our education disregarded, this shifted her passion to be an advocate for the arts. Throughout college, she worked with various non-profits, such as The Living Arts and Science Center and the Lexington Art League, which has taught her the intricacies as well as the wonderful possibilities that a program can provide for their community. Graduating with a BA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication at Transylvania University, Jessica hopes to apply and strengthen these skills to successfully work with or for an art non-profit. When she’s not busy trying to learn to hang complicated artworks or come up with savvy social media tag lines, you can find her at local poetry readings, hiking trail she’s never ventured or working as the Marketing Assistant for the at Seattle University.
Shannon earned her BA in Criminology from the University of South Florida and studied Art at Georgia State University. Music is her greatest passion, and she has worked in the live music industry for 18 years. A fine art photographer, she has exhibited her photographs nationally and worked with numerous local and international arts organizations in the 16 years she has been a Seattle resident. Over the past decade, she has shifted focus to earth, community, and place-based knowledge areas. She has studied permaculture, earthen building, herbalism, and Pacific Northwest native plants and ethnobotany. She is the founder of Hypha, a collaborative project employing art, science, and gift giving to grow community networks of plant sharing. Her mission is to use the Arts to tell new stories of life based on interdependent networks and cooperation in order to build a web of resilient communities.
“When I reflect on my two years in the Seattle University MFA program, I concluded that the experience not only made me a better visual artist, but also prepared me in unpredictable ways for my career. Through incredibly supportive classmates, and professors who were nothing short of champions, I was challenged to discover a voice I didn’t know I had. That voice has played a central role in my art and nonprofit work. This program was a wonderful time in my life, and the best educational experience I’ve had.”
“More than anything, the MFA program taught me the value of sustainable partnerships. Our job, as arts administrators, is to facilitate astonishing arts experiences that catalyze civic engagement and community dialogue and this is only possible through the sort of cooperation and collaboration that is taught at S.U. I am infinitely better at my job now because of my time in the MFA program because I work in service of the mission, of my team, and always apply a social justice lens to audience development, ticketing, and marketing.”
Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center | LinkedIn
“The MFA program in Arts Leadership at Seattle University gave me fundamental and holistic understanding about leading nonprofit arts organizations in the United States, which is a lot different from my home country. The practicum program offered me hands on experiences that I was able to apply many strategies that I learned from the classes. The summary project was especially helpful to build my academic career. I was able to attend one of the biggest arts administration conferences, and that led me to the doctoral program in arts administration that I am pursuing now.”
Florida State University
“The Arts Leadership program at Seattle University not only gave me the knowledge and tools to advance my career in the field of nonprofit arts administration, but also a network of lifelong colleagues (and friends) that I can lean on when I have questions or the need to strategize. Similarly, I've lost count of how many times I've said that the Arts Leadership program at Seattle University put me years ahead of my non-Arts Leadership peers in terms of knowledge of best practices and the unique challenges nonprofit arts and cultural organizations face. This is particularly useful for me in my new position as the supervisor of a program that funds community arts programs.”
Milwaukee Film | LinkedIn
“The classroom learning was certainly beneficial, and I had many opportunities to put our lessons into practice. However, what stands out to me the most about this program is the comradery of the cohort model. We share experiences, best practices, and connections that you simply can’t get in a classroom alone. In my few years as a Seattle resident, I already feel deeply connected to the arts and cultural community largely because of my cohort network.”
MoPOP | LinkedIn
“In addition to a strong curriculum and access to experts in the regional arts community, the MFA in Arts Leadership at Seattle University offers students the unique opportunity to establish a strong professional network, quickly. When I returned to Seattle after having lived and worked abroad for almost two decades, the cohort model and practicums helped me hit the ground running, and pick up where I left off – career-wise – even before graduation. The program helped me ‘translate’ my European experience to an American setting, which was extremely helpful in my work first as Development Director, and then Managing Director at Northwest Film Forum. Most importantly, the program has given me a supportive network, and an academic anchor, which will help me immeasurably in my role as Executive Director of Shunpike.”
Shunpike | LinkedIn
“Seattle U's MFA in Arts Leadership program sets a path for success because the classes are taught by top notch instructors coupled with hands on practicum experience. After graduation, I felt confident and prepared to launch a career in arts administration and I continue to feel supported by the camaraderie of my fellow alums.”
Pratt Fine Arts Center
“SU's MFA program in Arts Leadership created a strong foundation for both of us to launch our organization called quiet, an arts community that produces art for social change. Intentional classes, relevant practicums, and applicable projects - all of these parts of the program contributed to an education that not only talked about how to lead in the arts, but has proven to provide strong opportunities and connections to actually be a leader in the arts. For our final project, we wrote our 3-year strategic plan for quiet. After graduation, we put that plan into action - for real. Now, we are in the process of writing our next strategic plan and we have all the tools to do it well. We simply would not be where we are today without this degree.”
quiet | Roxy's LinkedIn | Matt's LinkedIn
“The MFA in Arts Leadership program has been critical in advancing my leadership at Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL). I started as SAL’s Box Office Manager, progressed through a series of other titles, and—aided by the knowledge, experience, and degree I earned through the MFA program—I have recently been promoted to Finance & Operations Director. The MFA program helped me solidify my career goals and obtain an important credential to help realize them. The program was an invaluable investment in my career, and the connections and friends I made will continue to be a support network for years to come. I would highly recommend the program to anyone interested in pursuing a career supporting the arts!”
Seattle Arts & Lectures | LinkedIn
“I believe the MFA program perfectly prepared me to step into an executive role of an arts organization. The perspective offered by faculty and visiting arts leaders was invaluable, and the coursework provided a strong base of knowledge about best practices and emerging issues in the field. I would recommend the program to anyone seeking to deepen their network and further their career in nonprofit arts administration.”
Reno Chamber Orchestra | LinkedIn
“I would not have my current job if I had not participated in the MFA program! I started working with MEMconsultants for my first practicum project and have been there ever since. The MFA program provides a comprehensive overview of all of the topics needed to be an arts leader, while the practicum offers the opportunity for real world experience. I would recommend this program to anyone who is looking to work with arts organizations in a leadership role.”
MEMconsultants | LinkedIn