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The Art(s) of Business

February 28, 2021 Jim Warner

Alison Addie is a triple threat, offering a mix of the arts with a business sensibility with an eye towards community engagement. Originally a music performance major at The Ohio State University, the flutist felt something was missing —  at the school and in her path. “I wasn’t getting the practical side, that entrepreneurial or the business side of the arts community.” After some soul-searching and time away, Alison decided to leave Columbus and come home to Louisville.

Being back in her hometown meant more than just familiar surroundings; it allowed Alison to find that intersection she’d been looking for in mapping out her future.

When she ultimately decided to transfer to UofL, her mother recommended a new program just starting at the school, the Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) at the College of Business. This recommendation came with some first-hand insight — Alison’s mom, Melinda Addie, is the Online Enrollment Services manager at the Delphi Center. “[My mom] was part of the process of making the BBA a program, and she encouraged me to do it as a double major.” Beyond giving Alison the business acumen she was looking for, the online component allowed her the flexibility to continue her music studies at UofL.

“It’s been an adjustment [taking the business courses]…the textbook chapters are fifty pages, and you have to read it, take notes, and then you’re doing assignments that are a bit lengthier than filling in notes on a [music] staff.”

While she has only been in the BBA track for a little over a semester, Alison already feels like the courses give her the background she was looking for in a business program. The new College tract provides her with a diverse complement of skills which matches her burgeoning interests. “I’ve always had this really strong passion for arts administration — which has [evolved into] urban arts and cultural planning,” says Alison. “I think it’s really important for artists to have a business side because you’ve to got to be able to market yourself and communicate how your skillset can be applied into other areas. I also think business people need to be creative and understand their creativity—so the two sides can bounce off one another.”

Beyond the classroom, Alison is getting first-hand experience with her internship at the Fund for the Arts. One of the first BBA majors to land an internship, Alison spends 12 hours a week working with one of the most active arts organizations in Louisville. “Over winter break, I was looking for a summer internship, and sure enough [the Fund for the Arts] had an opening for a spring internship.” Being a part of the Fund for the Arts is, in many ways, a perfect match for Alison. The 2018 Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist award winner was very active in the local arts and music scene throughout high school (including doing a program with Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra and performing on WUOL).

Alison is a part of the Fund for the Arts Impact Team. “We distribute the money raised from different grants that the Fund for the Arts receives from donors and other institutions. Recently we just released a grant called ArtsMatch. The Fund matches donations made from a crowdfunding platform, between $500 to $20,000. The grant has a theme, and this year it’s sponsoring programs that promote racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.” Part of her duties with the Impact Team includes reaching out to organizations to promote ArtsMatch. “It brings me hope knowing that so many organizations—within and outside Jefferson County— are working to promote the arts in these difficult times, and that there are these resources out there for communities.” Alison has been able to apply her experience in CIS 305 (Data Analysis for Decision Making) directly in this internship. “I’m glad I took that class — I’m much more confident using [the Fund’s] software just because I’ve done all kinds of assignments through Excel in CIS.” 

With this focus on arts and its capacity to help shape a community’s perception, Alison has added a third major into the mix — urban studies with a concentration in urban sociology. “For me, I’ve always struggled to find my community…I just really value that sense of home and sense of place and having a strong support system around you,” says Alison. Along with her classes, Alison has also been involved at the UofL Women’s Center and the PEACC Center. Being at UofL has given Alison the grounding, confidence, and capacity to further find herself at the intersection of her three chosen majors, as well as return to the arts community. “I’m glad I’m making a home here at UofL.”

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