Gateway to the West

For those of you who know me, or already follow my blog, you may have noticed my hiatus from publishing new posts.  A lot has happened in my life over the past 5 months, and now that I’ve settled in to my new life, I’d like to get back to one of my favorite hobbies – writing about cultural experiences and the performing arts!

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This past May, I graduated from American University in Washington, DC, with my master’s degree in Arts Management.  In early July, after many months of careful consideration, I received a call notifying me that I got my top choice, dream job.

I nailed down an apartment rental in what was to become my new home and career location in the arts.  Before I knew it, my cross-country journey to Colorado Springs, CO had begun.  Starting in my hometown of Wilmington, NC, I drove for 28 hours over 4 days to Boulder, Colorado (just outside of Denver) where my older brother lives.  From there I headed into Colorado Springs and jumped into Project Coordinator training.  My boyfriend and I up-rooted from North Carolina, making this journey out West together.  Of course, we had to stop and see a few sights along the way.

 

For the first night of the trip, we stayed over in Nashville, Tennessee.  Most of the second day was spent exploring the Country Music Hall of Fame.  We learned about the roots of country music, some of the instruments played and how they evolved, and many of the stars who made music history and shaped American tradition.  I saw the beginnings of the country music industry evolve through radio, recordings, and other technological and stylistic innovations.

Our next stop was St. Louis, Missouri.  Here, we visited the famous “Gateway Arch,” a 630-ft. architectural marvel symbolizing the ‘Gateway to the West’ (how perfect, right?).  We quickly reserved tickets to make our way to the top of the arch.  Despite the enormous summer crowd waiting to get in, we managed to make our reservation and get a view of the city from hundreds of feet above.  Queuing behind doors 2 and 3, we were finally allowed to enter the family-sized pods, in which we trollied to the top.  The view from the top was amazing.  We could see the famous Old St. Louis Courthouse, the St. Louis Cardinals baseball stadium, and the amazingly large shadow of the arch stretching across the bright green lawn below.

On the third day of the trip, we made it to Junction City, Kansas.  We wanted to stop in Kansas City, Missouri – “one of the most popular ‘cradles of jazz’” – but we still had a long way to go, so we kept driving.  Throughout the state of Kansas, we passed fields of large and whirling windmills.  The enormous turbines rotated ominously, with the tips of the blades emerging through the thinning haze.  The dreariness of the cloudy fields was briefly enlivened by the possibility of seeing the “world’s largest prairie dog,” an 8,000lb prairie dog made of reinforced concrete, mind you…

The fourth and final day of our cross-country road trip arrived and we were welcomed by the beautiful, Rocky Mountains of Colorado.   Because we took several days to drive, crossing a distance of approximately 1,800 miles, we had adjusted to the 2 hour time difference – from Eastern Daylight Time to Mountain – more gradually.  Within a couple of days, I arrived for my training and first day of work.

In my new position, I am contributing to an organization that I’ve admired for some time now.  My knowledge and skills will be put to the test, as I continue to learn, grow, and develop my professional knowledge.  It is so fulfilling to know that my work contributes to a wonderful company, ultimately helping arts organizations across the nation to thrive.

I’m living my dream by helping artists and working with other arts managers whose mission is to advance the performing arts industry.  Cheers to new frontiers, and the new 2013-14 season!

Based on my original post on GenYHub: http://genyhub.com/profile/Catherine#ixzz2fmFheBFd

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