Published: July 20, 2021 By

This summer, we’re shining the spotlight on alumni of our Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration. Enjoy our previous spotlight on Luis Granda.

Mary KettlewellVoice Performance graduate Mary Kettlewell (MM ’18) applauds the Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration for opening doors to her new position as program administrator at the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA), a small state government commission in Austin dedicated to funding arts organizations in Texas. 

“It’s the reason I was hired,” says Kettlewell, who previously earned bachelor of arts degrees in music and psychology at the University of Missouri Columbia. “And now, I have the satisfaction of going to work every day knowing that I’m part of the reason that arts organizations in my area receive funding and are able to commission new works, create new outreach programs and provide artistic opportunities to underserved populations in Texas.”

Continues Kettlewell, “Reviewing applications is one of my favorite things I do at TCA. I need to know what to look for and what should be included, and I need to identify red flags and send constructive criticism back to applicants.” 

She describes grantwriting projects from Joan McLean Braun’s Introduction to Arts Administration class as invaluable experience that helped her develop skills she relies on daily. Braun serves as entrepreneurial lecturer, as well as executive director of CU Presents and assistant dean for concerts and communications. 

“Joan is a goddess of arts administration,” says Kettlewell when asked who inspires her. “She taught important professional skills that typically aren’t part of your average college lecture. 

“The stories she shared from her personal experiences emphasized the importance of not only being able to work on a team, but also appreciating your team members. She recounted ‘admin emergency’ stories from her career and how she and her team addressed them—the entire class found her very inspiring.”

Kettlewell further credits SoYoung Lee’s Sustainable Arts Organizations: Forecasting and Fundraising class for providing the instruction and resources needed to create unique fundraising templates she can use in her job. Lee is executive director of the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Boulder.

“Another value of the program is the network I gained,” adds Kettlewell. “We created a Facebook group to come together, ask each other for advice and celebrate each other's accomplishments.”

In sum, the Certificate in Art Administration is a three-course, nine-credit credential that serves as a platform for building the skillsets essential to a successful career in arts administration—including strategic planning, communications, fundraising and organizational management. Declares Kettlewell, “I can’t communicate enough to CU Boulder students how valuable these courses are!”