On my last official day as a Columbus Foundation Summer Fellow at Actors’ Theatre of Columbus, I’m thinking about immersion. I think about learning a language by spending time in another country among its people, planting roots in an unfamiliar city, walking into a party full of strangers, sinking underneath the surface during water baptism, hiking the Appalachian Trail. Immersion involves risk taking, motion, commitment and sometimes, holding your breath. You enter into something, and you come up or out of it different than how you went in.
My ten weeks at Actors’ Theatre of Columbus feel that way to me as I’m wrapping up my work here for the summer. I immersed myself in the culture of Actors’ Theatre and in the processes and in the people, learned the value of taking intentional steps to build strong relationships among the staff, actors, crew, and board members, like porch sit. Through my work on survey design and analysis, I gained evaluative tools to measure the impact of artistic programming. From our Columbus Fellows Learning Sessions, I gained leadership skills and strategic planning tools.
As I enter into my final year of the MFA program in Dance at The Ohio State University, I know that all of these new skills will help me approach my artistic practices, from making dances to performing to teaching to writing, from new angles. I really value the opportunity I had this summer to cultivate a practice of viewing challenges and goals from multiple perspectives in order to find the most appropriate solution or course of action, not just the ones that comes most naturally to me.
This morning at the closing luncheon for the Fellows program, each of the fellows gave a short presentation their experiences with their host organizations. It was remarkable to see the kind of work each Fellow accomplished in ten weeks, and I’m confident that this articulate, motivated group of young leaders will make an incredible impact in their chosen fields as they go forward in their careers.