The Chrysalis Blog: Can I Emerge Now?

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The Chrysalis Blog:

Can I Emerge Now?

Camille Schenkkan




I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to go into Arts Management: long hours, constant challenges and instant responsibility. But nothing in the world compares to the feeling of helping really good art happen, my definition of arts management.

After my summer 2004 internship with Circle X Theatre Co., I was hooked on theatre management and never looked back. Last summer, I came on board at Arts for LA and am learning the ins & outs of arts advocacy. I love, love, love this career path and can't imagine myself going anywhere else.

I'm not saying it doesn't make me cry sometimes.

I'm not saying I don't get jealous of friends who stop thinking about work when they leave the office.

I'm not saying I don't have moments when I want to give everything up and start a rescue rabbit ranch.

EAL/LA, First Meeting, January 2007Emerging Arts Leaders/LA, the local chapter of a professional development & networking group fostered by Americans for the Arts, has helped me keep those moments to a minimum. Spending time with other people who are new to this field (many of whom are around my age) can be really comforting, especially when I hear that they're experiencing the same setbacks & challenges I am. It's also nice to feel like I have allies in my field. And hey, in 15 years when we're all in upper management/executive positions, we'll already be friends.

I decided to start this blog to share some of my experiences as an EAL, from my own particular viewpoints. I am:

A wife. I got married in October and my first priority is to my partner, Zack, who is my best friend as well as my husband. Spending time with him and being there for each other means more to me than anything else.

A graduate student. I’m getting my degree in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University… one… class… at a time. Expected graduation date: sometime?

Arts for LA LogoArts for LA's Constituent Manager. I handle membership services and much of the communication and data management for Arts for LA. It’s just me and Danielle in the office, and when Danielle identifies an advocacy issue that needs our attention, we have to be able to lock into all-systems-go mode at a moment’s notice. Working for Arts for LA allows me to be a fly on the wall for amazing discussions among LA’s top-level arts, education and elected leadership. It’s simultaneously cool and scary to be in a room with the Executive Directors of LA's most influential and respected arts organizations.

Circle X LogoCircle X's Development Director. On days when I’m not in Arts for LA’s downtown office, I’m working in my PJs for Circle X Theatre Company. I get to design marketing materials, write grants, keep up the contact lists, communicate with the company and do other weird tasks as they come up. In the past few weeks, for example, I’ve designed a giant promotional banner, represented us at LASA’s 99-seat Theatre Community meeting, started next year's NEA grant, updated our audience survey and boiled corn for our production of Battle Hymn.

EAL/LA logoAn Emerging Arts Leader. I'm in the newly-formed Operations Hub for Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles, a professional networking group that's been brewing for about two years. It's exciting and challenging, especially as the group is run on network theory: there are no true leaders and anyone involved in the group is free to create new group "hubs" for any topic of interest.


An advocate for the rights of all creatures. Yes, I care deeply about arts advocacy-- but I'm also a huge PETA supporter and a member of HRC and a handful of other social activism and charitable organizations. My arts management schedule is too hectic to participate much in advocacy outside of my field, a source of frustration whenever I get "Action Alerts" from animal or human rights groups. Whenever I get too stressed out, I dream of starting that rabbit ranch with my husband and taking care of bunnies all day.


As an EAL, I love words like "collaboration" and "feedback" and "dialogue," so, you know, leave comments.

A butterfly!  See, it's a metaphor!



I'm calling the blog The Chrysalis (for now) because hopefully, when I finally emerge from whatever it is I'm cocooned in at the moment, the result will be worth the wait.




Pupa.  See-- gross.



I considered calling it The Pupae but decided that was a little gross.








This is wonderful, Camille,

This is wonderful, Camille, and a luxury! Maybe this will encourage me to take time to think about my different roles right now, instead of haphazardly living them in this frantic fundraising environment!


This is so great. Looking forward to your insights!