From being spurred on by her mother’s support to fostering a love of arts in today’s children, India Mack advocates for the encouragement of arts careers.
Have you always loved the arts? Did you picture yourself following a career in the arts?
Yes, I have always loved the arts. When I was six years old, I went to a dance recital. My mom decided we had to leave at intermission because it was a school night, but once I learned there was another half to the performance, I begged my mom to stay. I recall the silence that fell over the crowd when the house lights began to dim. It was the first time I witnessed magic, and I decided that day that I would one day be a magician.
I am thankful to have a mother who encouraged me to pursue the arts because she saw my passion, my dedication, and my drive. At nine years old my mom told me I was an educator because I would teach all of the young people in the neighborhood on my front porch. Then at thirteen years old, she told me that I was an artist. There is an old saying that mothers know their children best. It is a fact for my mom. Thanks to her, I am the artist and educator that I am today.
How did you discover degrees in arts administration?
As a performer, producer, production stage manager, and visual artist, I was on a quest for an advanced degree that would give me the skills I needed to create, develop, and implement arts programming for individuals of all ages. After my second or third Google search, I learned about arts leadership, used interchangeably with arts management and compatible with arts administration. After researching three programs, I knew that was the direction I wanted to go for my MFA. I no longer wanted to limit myself to one artform.
Why did you choose to pursue your specific degree program?
I chose Southern Utah University because I enjoyed the interview process. I believed the individuals interviewing me had my best interest at heart and would do what was in their capacity to ensure I reached my fullest potential. I also wanted to be in a physical environment that was not distracting and completely different from what I was used to. Finally, the two-year assistantship sealed the deal. I wanted to gain real-world experience the entire time I was in graduate school, and SUU allowed me to do that.
Now that you’ve graduated, what next?
I am currently the Fine Arts Chair for a high school in New Orleans. I teach Talented in Theater, Theater, and Theater Design. My ultimate goal is to find a high school that centers around the arts, humanities, and preservation of black culture.
What advice do you have for recent graduates of arts administration?
I advise future graduates of arts administration to utilize their time in their programs to build the career they want post-degree. If you want to work in a museum, spend time doing that while you are in school. If you want to run a multi-disciplinary arts center, find ways to do that in graduate school. Do what you need to do to ensure your resume, coming out of your program, will land you the job that you desire, are qualified for, and have spent the last few years of your life preparing for.