As the Kentucky Center prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary on November 19, 2013, Center staff have been discussing how they entered this business and when they felt their first "arts crush." Jennifer Webb, Director, Membership & Donor Relations, provided this account.
I was fortunate as well in that my parents brought us to theater, ballet, and music performances often. We had a subscription to the Louisville Ballet. But the first thing I remember seeing at the Kentucky Center in Whitney Hall was Zorba the Greek, of all things, in the mid-80s. After my 8th grade “debut” onstage (I went along to auditions to ease a friend’s nerves; I got a part & she didn’t!), behind-the-scenes work eventually won my heart.
I grew up wanting to be a visual artist, and in college went in the more “practical” direction of Art History. Knowing I had no interest in teaching, gallery work seemed like the next best fit, and I managed a local gallery for the better part of 8 years. I realized I didn’t need to be the artist, but still wanted to be around all things creative.
When reading a program at a Louisville Ballet performance in 1996, my "light bulb" moment occurred as I read the bio for Debra Humes Hoffer (the LB’s then-director). She had a degree in Arts Administration, which I’d never heard of. The following week, I wrote her a letter asking her opinion on returning to school for a 2nd degree versus working in the field… one thing led to another, and I landed at the Kentucky Center a few years later.
At the Kentucky Center Governor's School for the Arts (GSA) one summer, long-ago Center president Michael Hardy told students (I’m paraphrasing): “If you go into a career in Arts Administration, your parents will never understand what you do.” So true. After almost 15 years at the Center, I still get butterflies in my stomach when the curtain rises. And just walking through the Main Lobby makes me happy.
If you love the arts as much as we do, check out Peter Bell's "crush" here, take a look at our upcoming performances, learn about our nonprofit Community Arts and Education programs, or consider donating your time or making a financial gift in support of the Center.