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Dear Tara: Arts Professionals Looking for Fun, Friends, and Jobs

For those who may not already know me, I’m Tara. Always there with a smile and a cookie fresh-from-the-oven, happy to supply you with advice when all seems lost. This week we asked readers to send in their most pressing professional concerns -- your career can be the most rewarding and the most frustrating component of life, and it’s hard to navigate those unpredictable waters. Here are your latest questions, answered.

DEAR TARA: I’ve been working at a small DC-based arts nonprofit for almost a year now, after moving to the area from out of state. I love the work I’m doing, but I have yet to really engage with other professionals working in the field. What can I do to expand my network and make new acquaintances?


BOB: It’s great to hear that you love what you’re doing here in DC! I’m from out of state as well, and it’s been amazing to adapt to this new city. It sounds like what you need is a day of networking at this year’s Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium! Each year the EALS team delivers a spectacular experience that includes several intriguing panels, a top-notch keynote speaker, professional development workshops, and plenty of opportunities to engage with others working in the field. This year’s symposium takes place on March 3. You’ll have the chance to meet a wide range of other arts professionals and expand your network. I hope to see you there!


DEAR TARA: I’m a recent college grad, and I’ve been trying to find a job in the arts for a few months now. Nothing has been working out, and I’m starting to lose faith -- I know I have the necessary skills but I don’t know what’s going wrong. What should I do?


JANE: I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling with this! That’s a tough spot to be in. My recommendation is that you attend the 2019 Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium, taking place at American University’s Katzen Arts Center on March 3. The symposium will include panels for you to hear about current issues in the field, networking opportunities, and professional development workshops. Those last two seem like they’d be especially useful for you -- networking is the best way to make connections with other arts professionals, and workshops in resume building can help you effectively market yourself as a prospective employee. They always say “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” which is debatable, but it’s never going to hurt you to develop your network.


DEAR TARA: I work for a large DC arts nonprofit, and I’ve been working extra hard lately to meet deadlines and stay ahead on my tasks. It feels like my brain is fried, and I just need something to help me unwind, have a little fun, and keep myself motivated to do this work. What sort of activity would be best for me right now?


GLADYS: We’ve all been there! Perhaps a glass of wine tonight would be remedy #1. The arts can be so rewarding yet so draining at the same time -- it’s important that we take a breather while we keep up the good work. After your wine you might want to consider attending the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium on March 3, at the Katzen Arts Center on the American University campus. In addition to interesting panels and tons of networking opportunities, the symposium will include food, drinks, and entertainment to help you slow down a bit. It’s a great way to meet other professionals and keep you in tune with the current climate of the field, all while taking it easy and having fun with your colleagues. I hope to see you there -- we can chat over that glass of wine!


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