Q: What changes do you see in your industry that are leading to growing demand for a broad arts education? What are the signs that the citizen artist’s time is now?
As we exit the information age and enter the conceptual age, creativity is a key skill in a new economy. With information on almost any subject matter at most of our finger tips, it is not knowing the information that is most valuable, but what we do with that information that is key. The arts teach us to creatively problem solve, to collaborate, and to build something new out of that which already exists. These skills will be crucial in a conceptual age and arts education is in a perfect position to train tomorrow’s future leaders.
My training as an actor at UArts prepared me for my career as an arts administrator and as a civic leader in my community. Some of the fundamental skills of acting have been invaluable to my role as an arts leader. I learned to collaborate and learned that the most successful projects develop through the input of multiple individuals. I learned to be goal and objective focused. I learned to be comfortable in the public eye. Most importantly though, I learned empathy. I learned to see the world through other people’s eyes. This skill has allowed me to communicate and work with others at a high level. All of this came from my actor training and humanities focused education at UArts. I am not sure I would have gained all of this through another means of education.
Geoffrey Kershner BFA ’00 (Acting) is the Executive Director of the Academy Center of the Arts in Lynchburg, Virginia. Previously, he was the Artistic Director of the Endstation Theatre Company. Geoffrey is a current member of the UArts Alumni Council.