Wolf Trap’s strong commitment to education encompasses programs that provide valuable instruction to participants of varied ages and skill levels, ranging from infants to adults. To that purpose, and with generous funding from The Anthony and Bea Welters Family, we have created the Wolf Trap Foundation Fellowship which provides substantive arts management experience to an emerging professional from a culturally diverse background and who has recently earned a Master’s degree. For an entire year, the Wolf Trap Fellow becomes an integral member of the staff and works alongside Wolf Trap Foundation employees to produce, promote, and administer Wolf Trap’s renowned arts and education programs.
We sat down with Amina Cooper, the first-ever Wolf Trap Fellow, to learn more about her background, goals, and the path that brought her to Wolf Trap.
Before coming to Wolf Trap I worked as a Program Coordinator for the District of Columbia Public Schools where I managed after-school and enrichment programs for various sites. Previously, I completed my Master’s in Arts Administration at Boston University and worked at Simmons College and Berklee College of Music during my time as a graduate student. I also studied fine arts and print journalism at Howard University as an undergraduate.
What motivated you to apply for the Wolf Trap Foundation Fellowship?
My professional experience has always been grounded in nonprofit work, especially in the academic sector, but my passion has always been the arts. I wanted to apply my skills in nonprofit management more directly to the support of arts organizations because I missed that connection to the arts. When I learned about the fellowship opportunity at Wolf Trap, I thought it would be a great chance to receive additional experience in arts administration. I also thought the aspect of having the fellow work within several different departments would allow me to gain a wide breadth of knowledge and enable me to discover which area of arts administration I wanted to pursue in my career. I knew that Wolf Trap has a great reputation for its internship program, so I knew I would be challenged within a nurturing environment.
When did your fellowship start? Which department are you currently working under?
My fellowship began on September 4th and I am currently working in the department of Planning and Initiatives, a branch of the Executive Office, under the mentorship and supervision of Jo Hodgin.
What do you think about the program so far? What skills do you expect to acquire and/or develop?
The program has actually exceeded my expectations! I am working on projects where I am able to apply what I learned in graduate school while developing a hands-on understanding of what it takes to support an organization of this size and stature. I am confident that I will leave this fellowship with great management and leadership skills. My goal is to lead an arts organization in the future and I believe that this fellowship is great development for future leaders in arts administration.
What would you say about the program to future applicants?
I would say that this fellowship is unlike any internship experience that I have ever had. It really is a challenging role designed to prepare future arts administrators to enter the field with advanced knowledge and leadership abilities. Also, Wolf Trap Foundation is a wonderful place to work. Everyone is very supportive and friendly, which makes this the best possible environment to learn within.
We are thrilled to have Amina with us through September of 2013! To learn more about the Wolf Trap Foundation Fellowship and other education initiatives, please visit ww.wolftrap.org/education.