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David Rue, '17

Master of Fine Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

A Life in the Arts  

When it came to researching graduate programs, professional dancer David Rue, ’17, knew what he was ultimately seeking. 

“I was drawn to Seattle U’s Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership program because it teaches artists the business side of the artistic sector,” he says. “Not only did I want to learn what’s necessary to exist both as an artist and administrator, but I also wanted the tools to help other artists do the same.”

Seattle U fully prepared Rue to flourish as a professional in the museum world and beyond as he continued dance while working on his graduate degree.

What started as an internship with the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) turned into a full-time position as their Public Engagement Associate, where he’s responsible for organizing the museum’s public adult programs.

“The Arts Leadership program gave me the ability to put theory into practice,” says Rue. “All the topics we were talking about in (the MFAL) classes—audience engagement, making genuine connections with the city one’s living in—I was able to apply everything to the SAM programs.”

A major part of Rue’s role at the museum involves large-scale public programs, including SAM Remix—creative performances, art making, live music and tours inspired by museum exhibits.

As an artist, Rue is “interested in deepening the practice of using the body and performance to create arts experiences that help people more deeply contemplate the conditions of contemporary life,” he says. “I’m interested in how the body, movement and performance can be the gateway for conversations about things that are happening all around us.”

What Rue finds particularly unique to Seattle’s cultural scene is its undercurrent of social change. “A lot of the race and social justice initiatives that are happening through the city’s Office of Arts & Culture directly support work that’s occurring in Seattle. Having government interest in race, equity and social justice—and how the arts are the vehicle to spread those topics—is something I don’t see happening in other cities in the same way.”