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My Experience Traveling and Engaging with the Arts through Purdue Convocations

Izzy enjoying her convocations internship in New York.

I first started my internship with Purdue Convocations in the fall of 2022, the beginning of my junior year. My mom saw a job posting on Facebook for a social media intern and forwarded it to me right away, encouraging me to apply. As someone who is extremely passionate about music, theatre, and the arts, I was thrilled by the opportunity to learn more about these things as a field and expand my pre-professional knowledge and experience.

Growing up, I would beg my parents to take me to see Broadway shows (my first ever being Wicked) and I quickly became obsessed with the performing arts world. In high school, I started to get into music and theatre and would use all my savings to go see my favorite artists and shows. Every time I saw a show, I’d get a feeling of awe and disbelief. I love how the arts provide us with an escape from the real world and how they also get us thinking and reflecting on our personal and collective experiences.

When it came time to pick a major and a school, I excitedly decided on communication with a concentration in mass communication and media at Purdue, with the goal of going into marketing in the entertainment industry. In college, I was hoping to learn more about this field and get some experience in the arts world. With Convos, I gained that and more. Through my internship, I have learned so much about working in the entertainment industry and I’ve strengthened so many important skills, such as writing, communicating and working as a team. Izzy's room view of New York

Through Convos, I’ve made amazing friendships, gotten a taste of what a career in the field would be like and have seen some amazing shows, my favorites being Noah Kahan and The Book Of Mormon. Some of my specific responsibilities at Convos include creating and scheduling social media posts across all social media platforms, writing blog posts for upcoming shows, taking photos and videos at our events and helping to market our shows in any way I can.

This past January 2024, I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Conference in New York City, along with two of my mentors - Todd Wetzel, assistant vice provost for Student Life and executive director of Purdue Convocations and Elliott Hall of Music/Hall of Music Productions; and Mike Armintrout, senior associate director of Purdue Convocations. APAP is a weekly conference that occurs every year, located in the city, that encourages artists, agents, presenters and performers to come together, connect and celebrate the arts. It also provides artists with a chance to share their concepts and work and gives presenters a chance to find new artists and learn about new shows they may want to bring to their venue. APAP aims to strengthen the field and advance careers through professional development, grant support, advocacy, networking and the annual APAP conference. As a member of APAP, Convos attends the conference every year to learn about new shows and ideas with a mission to bring a diverse array of performances to the Greater Lafayette community and beyond. The conference is also a great chance to connect and meet with other professionals in the field. As someone who aspires to go into a career in this field (and move to New York after graduation), getting to attend APAP as an undergraduate student was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and provided me with invaluable pre-professional experience.

When I first arrived in New York City, I was thrilled, nervous and eager. Prior to this, I had never attended a professional event of this magnitude. We arrived on a Wednesday, with the conference officially kicking off Friday morning. When I wasn’t at the conference, I was seeing different performances and exploring the city. I was able to see two different jazz performances, with the first being composer and musician Miho Hazama and the second being singer-songwriter and rapper Meshell Ndegeocello. I also saw many dance groups, including Ballet Hispánico, a Hispanic cultural organization. On top of this, I saw three Broadway shows: Back To The Future, & Juliet, and Hadestown, all of which were incredible. It was so fun getting a taste of new performances and seeing more of what the arts have to offer. Seeing such a broad range of artists and shows expanded my knowledge and understanding of the many different aspects that make up the entertainment industry.

A photo of the back to the Future convocation sign in New York

As for the conference itself, I spent a lot of time networking and attending meetings with different agents and presenters, learning more about the industry as well as different artists, shows and performances. The conference took place in the New York Hilton in Midtown, which is a massive hotel with conference spaces, meeting spots and banquet halls. The conference itself had three different expo floors containing booths, all of which were filled with different agencies and performers, encouraging people to engage and collaborate. There were also many rooms for artist showcases, as well as lounges to hang out and network. On top of this, there were plenaries and sessions you could choose to attend. One especially memorable event was the opening plenary, featuring Drag Queen Sasha Velour and Broadway star Mandy Gonzalez. My favorite parts of the conference were getting a taste of what a career in the entertainment field would entail and getting to meet with and have lunch with many amazing and inspiring professionals who gave me an inside look at their careers and how they accomplished it, as well as invaluable advice. I also enjoyed getting to see many different venues and offices, such as Wasserman Media and different showcases from Elsie Management. At one point, I even ended up sitting next to someone who had played the role of Glinda in Wicked on Broadway!

The conference was fast paced as everyone was eager to network and share, which I found to be really inspiring. Seeing so many professionals in action and being in rooms full of people who are passionate about the same things as me was an amazing and incredible experience I will remember for a lifetime.

Blue note band performing in New York

Isabel (Izzy) Sautter has served as a social media intern for Purdue Convocations since fall 2022. In her role, Sautter creates and schedules social media posts, writes blog posts and takes photos and videos while assisting Convos in their marketing efforts. She was named a recipient of a Student Life Outstanding New Student Employee Award in spring 2023.

Founded in 1902, Purdue Convocations is among the oldest collegiate performing arts presenters in the United States. Convocations brings a diverse array of world-class performances and intellectual encounters, including collaborations with campus and community partners, to academic, local and regional audiences. Convocations catalyzes the curriculum, energizes the community and distinguishes Purdue through powerful performances, illuminating discourse and extraordinary learning encounters.