Brenna Clendaniel ’17

brenna photo


Live From New York: LEAP Student Relates Experience with Online Master’s Degree

Brenna Clendaniel majored in theater and French, with a minor in arts and cultural management as an undergraduate at Northern Arizona University. She studied with Dr. Constance DeVereaux who is now director of LEAP Institute for the Arts. Brenna then made a big leap in her life—she moved to New York and is earning her Master’s in Arts Leadership and Administration online to prepare for her dream job. LEAP student Marissa LoNigro chatted with Brenna to find out what brought her to LEAP and to New York.

ML: How did you end up in New York?

BC: I was born and raised in Tuscon, AZ. I went to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I double majored in theater performance and French. I minored in Arts and Cultural Management. Dr. Constance DeVereaux was director of the program there, so I’ve worked with her before. I moved to New York in September 2014 and I’ve lived here for a year now, working hospitality at a hotel. I decided that since I was happy with my job I should get more of an education to help me get to my dream job.

ML: And what is your dream job?

BC: Working at the Lincoln Center in New York.

ML: How’s New York treating you?

BC: It’s good! There are a lot of people, a lot of opportunities. I really enjoy being a part of the life, environment, and excitement here.

ML: And it’s such a great place for arts management. What interested you in pursuing the master’s degree? Was it your previous experience with your minor?

BC: Originally, when I started my undergrad I wanted to be an actor. But in my four years at Northern Arizona University I got experience directing and took theater management courses. I ultimately decided that I definitely enjoy the business and organization aspect of things. I felt like the arts management profession had a balance that let me use both sides of my brain! The closer I am to the arts the happier I am.

ML: What interested you in the degree at CSU in particular?

BC: I was researching schools that had an arts administration program. There aren’t very many schools that offer a Master’s, and this way I can do it entirely online. I had a really good feeling about CSU. I felt really good about my conversations and communication with the department. When I spoke to Katie Rothstein, she was so helpful and accommodating. Also, the online program allows me so much freedom. I can do the whole thing without stepping foot in Colorado.

ML: Can you tell us how it’s going for you so far?

BC: It takes some work. I learn better in person than I do online, but it’s very convenient. I can do the program at any time regardless of my work schedule. Also, one of my elective professors posts videos of her lectures each week so it’s almost like being there in person. The workload is tough but manageable. It’s appropriate for a Master’s degree.

ML: How do you feel with this program after earning a minor in the same field?

BC: Since I studied with Dr. DeVereaux before, a lot of the assignments are familiar. The stuff I studied in two years in the minor is in one semester for the graduate program. It’s interesting to see how my knowledge has changed over time. I’m really excited to see what else we learn going further with the program. I really enjoy my electives too!

ML: What would you like to do with your master’s degree?

BC: Actually, that’s one of the reasons I picked Colorado State University. It’s a generalized arts management program so I don’t have to pick performance art or visual art, like you do with other programs. I’m not sure what I like better! More than likely I would like to be the creative director or managing director of a theater. I have such a love of live theater. But I also have the option to go into visual art management too because of this degree, and I like that. I took courses in contemporary art during my undergrad. I’m interested in being the executive director for a contemporary art gallery. This way I’m not restricted like I might be in other degree programs at other schools.

ML: Since you have such a love of theater I have to ask; what are some of your favorite productions?

BC: I do enjoy musicals. My favorite is Wicked. I’ve been lucky enough living in New York to see quite a few shows. One of my new favorites that’s still on Broadway right now is Matilda. As far as plays go I really like Neil LaBute’s work. In college we did The Shape of Things.

ML: Where do you see yourself in five years?

BC: One of my dream locations that I’d love to work at is the Lincoln Center. In five years I think I’ll still be living in New York. I see myself in a management position of some sort in a theater.