Ohio University

School of Music alumni panel to offer best practices in engaging communities and building audiences in the arts

Ohio University’s School of Music hosts an alumni virtual panel, School of Music Convocation: Arts Engagement and Audience Building Wednesday, September 30 at 12:55 PM. The event is free and open to the public. Viewers can register and join the event here.

The event features three OHIO School of Music alumni who will share their experiences and expertise in the areas in the arts including audience engagement, fundraising and patron development, community building, and equity.  

“We are absolutely thrilled to host three distinguished Ohio University School of Music alumni as panelists for our fall convocation focusing on arts engagement and audience building,” says Dr. Christopher Fisher, director of the School of Music. “Each panelist has carved out an exciting career in the arts. We are grateful they are willing to share their experiences and expertise with our students who are sure to be inspired and challenged by their presentation.”

Eric McMillan
Eric McMillan, Photo by Logan Fouss 

Featured alumni panelists include Eric McMillan, BFA ’18 (music), a graduate of the Honors Tutorial College who specialized in arts administration. As a student McMillan played viola in the symphony orchestra and several other ensembles. His thesis analyzed common audience engagement tactics in the performing arts. Currently, McMillian is an acquisition marketing associate at the New York City Ballet where he helps design advertisements and build new audience bases for the company. 

McMillian will discuss building new audiences and maintaining connections with them during the pandemic and about the economic challenges that large and small arts organizations and individual artists currently face due to the pandemic.

Kathleen Dean
Kathleen Dean, Photo by Barbi Macon

Panelist Kathleen Dean, BMUS ’10 (music education and music theory), received her master’s degree in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the College of Fine Arts Leadership Council. She is a former president of the Ohio University School of Music Society of Alumni and Friends. She serves as executive assistant to the general director of the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Prior to that role Dean held a number of positions in development, with a specialization in grant writing, corporate/foundation relations, individual giving, and in program management for arts not-for-profit-organizations in Washington, D.C.; St. Louis, Missouri; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Dean will discuss fundraising in the arts and how it relates to developing community events and patrons.

Ami Scherson
Ami Scherson, Photo by Lilli Sher

Panelist Ami Scherson (she/her/hers), BFA ’19 (music), is a graduate of the Honors Tutorial College and specialized in arts administration. Scherson works for Americans for the Arts as the Equity in Arts Leadership Program associate where she works to create opportunities and initiatives that support cultural equity throughout the field. Here most recent research was centered in Nelsonville, Ohio, and uncovered the impact of nonprofit arts programming in rural Appalachian communities.

As a passionate advocate for community development and for using creativity and community connection to create positive change, Scherson will discuss cultural equity in the arts, community programming and opportunity creation, paid internships, labor, and social justice in the arts, and will share her experiences in networking and building foundations as a young professional.

For more information contact Dr. Chris Fisher, director, School of Music, at fisherc@ohio.edu.