I finished my PhD in modernism two years ago, and now work in fundraising at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I manage both BAM’s Patron Program and its Young Producers program, which engages young, enthusiastic, high-level donors. My role is varied and takes me to all parts of the institution. I work closely with the various programming departments—main stage programming, cinema, education and community engagement, visual arts, and humanities—and meet artists and philanthropists regularly. I work with our marketing team and special events department, our curators and the president’s office, and spend my time both on and off BAM’s campus, shuttling between meetings and performances throughout the city.
Intellectually, my work is centered on big-picture strategizing on how best to engage donors—what benefits to offer, marketing tools to use, events to host—and individual cultivating, through in-depth research, writing proposals, and forming relationships with people who are passionate about the arts.
In many ways, after six years in a PhD, I’ve had a late start to the world of arts non-profits. Indeed, many of my colleagues have been working in the field for ten or more years. But my Princeton education and training have given me a leg up—an extra sense of trust in my commitment from donors and peers, an extra vote of confidence from my supervisors. And beyond the credential, my time as an academic has given me the tools to access and unpack the many art forms that BAM presents, and the vocabulary with which to translate between donors, curators, and artists.